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Thread: Campion Apple 16 Build

  1. #1
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    Default Campion Apple 16 Build

    After a lot of thought, and a few different abandoned directions (and several sets of plans), today I began building Tom Dunderdale's Campion Apple 16 (http://www.campionboats.co.uk/details.html). Here's a photo from the designer's website:



    The closest runner up was Michael Storer's Goat Island Skiff, and in some ways, they have a bit of similarity: both _can_ be made out of 6 sheets of plywood (though with the GIS that gets you a sealed rear tank, rather than just a rear thwart -- probably many Apples end up with some sealed tanks, but then it'll be more plywood), both are a little under 16' long, roughly 5' wide, narrow bow, etc. Weighing on the side of the GIS was the size of the building community, quality of plans, etc. What ultimately sold me on the Apple though was the more developed (and wider) hull, more options thought out for seating, etc.

    The only build log I found was a blog by Matt Bowser (http://www.fernhollow.net/), who also wrote an article about the boat in Small Boats Monthly (https://smallboatsmonthly.com/article/apple-16/). Both were were helpful, but he was building the Swedish Apple variant (as far as I could tell from the blog, both photos and plywood requirements), and a completely custom (and much heavier than I intend!) interior. Finally, there are a bunch of building photos on the official website (http://www.campionboats.co.uk/apple-construction.html), along with helpful text.

    But, since I didn't find any logs of building the "original" (4 strake) Apple, I thought I would chronicle it here. Part of the reason I wanted to build the original one is that I think it's quite amazing how well the strakes fit into the plywood (the Swedish variant, which has 5 strakes per side rather than 4, requires 6 sheets of plywood for the strakes, rather than 4 -- though with some extra).

    The plans are: interesting! My only comparison are a set of plans by Iain Oughtred and a few sets by Michael Storer, but I found the Apple plans much harder to understand at first. In particular, while there was an "original" boat, many alternatives have been made over the 25+ years since he first came up with the design, and they are all presented in different forms across the various drawings (sometimes overlapping!) -- and there are also alternatives for building the boat tougher or building it lighter. In some ways, this is an advantage -- as if you want to make some modification, there is a decent chance that it's been thought through and there might ever be a note on the drawings of what to do, but on the other hand, just figuring it all out is quite hard, at first (at least as compared to those other two designers, my only frame of reference).

    Today was mostly just preparation, but here are some photos!

    Boat shop almost ready (made some room to sit at the table after this photo). Assistant snoozing!


    A cardboard 1:8 model of the hull, made to better understand the strake layout (stem was done sloppily).


    Rather than scarfing, Tom suggests using 3" fiberglass tape, top and bottom (an staggered overlapped double layer on top), to make up the 4'x16' panels the strakes are cut out of. I've heard this called a "Payson" joint, though Tom attributes it in the US to Carnell, and in the UK to the Phantom racing dinghy community (going back to the 70s). The upside of doing rather than scarfing this is that it preserves the length, and that, combined with the fact that the 6mm Okoume plywood I have is 2500mm x 1220mm (rather than 2440mm), means I won't have to add any additional length for strake 0 (which is slightly longer than 16'). And apparently the joint is strong enough.

    Before:


    And after (during, I was in rather a hurry and didn't stop to take photos. I got fast epoxy because it's cold and getting colder, and my "shop" is uninsulated, but it's not actually all that cold yet and I _really_ didn't want to mess this up!):


    Finally, though this is rather of a boring post (more interesting things to come!), I wanted to point out how tightly the designs pack into the plywood sheets: not only the strakes (which I know from the model!), but here is the transom (top) and one of the frames (bottom). Both go nearly to the end of the sheet (shy about 1mm), and they come within 1cm of each other.

    Last edited by dbp1; 11-12-2019 at 10:12 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Yesterday I cut the transom, the forward bulkhead (at frame 10), and one of the other bulkheads (at frame 4). The one at frame 10 will stay essentially solid, to form the back side of the sealed bow tank, but the other one will eventually have a bit cut out of it, but that will happen much later. Based on recommendations, I cut them with a circular saw, which worked pretty well: I cut about 1mm off the line, and probably could have easily just split the line and avoided the finishing with a handplane -- controlling the blade was quite easy (and the 60T 6 1/2" blade certainly cut a smoother edge than the plane -- though I probably should have sharpened it again before starting!). On the other hand, planing was very quick with so little wood to take off.


    From left: middle semi-bulkhead, front bulkhead, transom:


    I also scarfed together an 18ft batten -- I think 17ft would have been fine, but I made it by ripping two strips off a really nice douglas fir 2x6 that is 9ft, so left it long for now.

    Then, today, I started layout out the strakes. The way these work is there is a baseline drawn for each strake (0 through 3); strake 0 starts 9mm above the bottom of the sheet, but others are not all parallel to the bottom of the sheet. The offsets are then relative to the baselines, rather than relative to the bottom of the sheet of plywood. So, the first task is to draw the four baselines. The plans suggest stringing fishing line between finishing nails to draw the line, and drawing along that. I didn't have fishing line, so just used a fine string, and ran a ruler along, drawing section by section (trying to draw directly along the line was a disaster, as was using the "non-flexible" edge of my batten -- which still flexed by a few mm over the whole length).



    Then I started marking the offsets that define the strakes. The table defines the Y coordinates relative to the corresponding baseline; the X coordinates are relative to the furthest left point of the strake, whose distance from the edge of the sheet is given. I actually found having all the X coordinate offsets be relative to that far point on the left unhelpful, because marking increasingly long distances (the last ones are above 4 meters) with any accuracy is hard, so I instead calculated the distance from one point to the next -- these were all helpfully less than the size of my (quite accurate) 600mm metric ruler and used that.



    One slight annoyance: the lower and upper points on the strake were often _almost_ at the same X coordinate -- i.e., off by only a few mm. I'm not sure if there is a reason for that, but it seems like some of the Y coordinates could have been tweaked to make most of the X coordinates be shared by the lower and upper points for the strake. That would have saved a bunch of time measuring, as I would have only had to measure all the X coordinates and then measure the two Y coordinates for each X that was shared.

    I marked out strake 0 -- the rest will have to wait! I knew I probably wouldn't have time to work on the boat for at least a few days, so I re-arranged enough stuff in the shop to flip the 16ft sheet up against the wall and lay down the other panel, and butt jointed that with fiberglass tape. When I'm next working on it, I should be able to take off the weights and lay the first panel directly on top of the second one, finish marking, and then cut out both sets of strakes at once (Matt Bowser did this on his Apple, with a larger diameter circular saw, so I should be able to cut the curves I need with a 1/2" deep cut). Then there will be a lot more shop re-arranging (the boat needs to co-habitate with a car once it starts snowing) before construction proper begins.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Good luck, I'll be watching this thread. I've always though that was a nice looking boat.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Toms work, for some reason, does not get the attention i think it should. Nice to see a design of his get a build thread.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    I finally got some more time to work on the boat today, so have some updates! Also, a note from before I forgot to mention:

    I haven't talked much about the decisions I'm making in terms of the particular variation of the Apple I'm building, but one choice I have made is that I'm making the short, recessed deck. It'll use less plywood, which will weigh less, and will allow for a mast partner that is open at the back which will make it easier to step or unstep the mast underway. There are rough diagrams for how to fit this into the plywood with some of the frames and transom (which I cut out), but it didn't have dimensions, so I asked Tom what a safe margin would be, and he said that the bounding box for the recessed deck pieces could be 500mm by 1100mm, which fit well in the spot shown in the plywood layout diagram.

    Back to the present-- I marked out the rest of the strakes (1-3), which was a lot of kneeling, measuring, etc. I'm again impressed by how tightly the strakes are nested. Here's the batten for 1 against the line for 0 (there's about 1cm difference at the closest), and some of the strakes hug pretty closely throughout. I probably was off by a mm here or there, but no more than that, which I think should be plenty accurate for stitch and glue!



    Next comes the exciting part: cutting them out! I lined up the two joined panels carefully so they were exactly on top of each other (nice check: they are exactly the same size, so my joining didn't add any error, unless I managed to introduce the exact same error on both). Then I added some clamps so the bottom panel wouldn't move and started cutting. This mostly went smoothly, but the 2AH batteries on the cordless saw I had (a 6 1/2" makita) did _not_ last long, at least with the 60T plywood finish blade. I couldn't get a full panel out of the two batteries, so started the battery changing game, and alternated with working on other projects (I started the great garage re-organization process, but didn't get further than making a big mess).



    By the end of the day (or at least, the part of the day I could work on this!), partly slowed by the battery process, I got 3 pairs out of 4 pairs of strakes cut out, so there is one to go. I set the blade just barely deep enough to cut the two panels (so just a hair deeper than 12mm), which meant that occasionally, when the top panel flexed up, the bottom panel wouldn't be completely cut through, but a few seconds with a pull saw got them out very cleanly.



    I still need to cut the last one, and then finish them with a plane, but then it'll be time to start stitching, which is quite exciting!

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Great! I like this boat, too. Good luck.

    Mike

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    So a spent half an hour, cut out the last strake, and disassembled the support structure for the panels. Now the garage side of the garage can be a garage again, which is good because we may or may not get snow/freezing rain tomorrow, so the car can come inside!



    The next task, which will take a bit, is re-organizing the _other_ half of my (quite small) garage to be able to fit this boat! Some of the furniture is going to move into the basement (into a smaller, no dust-generating tool shop carved out of the corner), but there is still a lot of figuring to make it all work.



    Since I haven't talked much about it, but have thought a lot about it, I thought I'd describe a little bit of what I'm planning in terms of "customization" (i.e., the interior). There are lots of different internal configurations in the plans (a decent number of variations of the hull too!), and it's quite possible no two Apple's are the same (I don't actually know how many exist: the design is >25 years old, but I don't know how many have been built!).

    At the bow, my plan is to have a recessed deck that forms a sealed bow tank. This is essentially what the original Apple design had: it provides some built-in buoyancy, some storage, and the deck is structural to support the mast partner. There is a design in the plans for a master partner, but I'm planning on using a slight variation which is what is on some of Iain Oughtred's boats: what holds the mast in is a hardwood cross piece that drops into a slot (tensioned from below by shock cord). This seems simpler than the slightly more complex mast gate in the plans, but overall, very similar.

    Jumping to the stern, I'm planning on having a rear tank at the level of the stern thwart/sheet. This matches the design of the Goat Island Skiff, is one of the designs in the plans, and seems like a simple way to get some buoyancy, some dry storage, and a decent seat at the same time. It's made a little complicated because of the mizzen, which has to go _through_ the tank, but having a sealed tube that goes down to a sealed channel that drains to the bilge seems easy enough. Also, by using the stern tank I think the stern thwart can be pushed a little bit further back in the boat, which gives more space for the thwarts, which is nice if trying to pack people on in nice weather, with a motor, etc (though the boomkin prevents doing this too much, as it needs to land somewhere!).

    Next, the middle: I'm planning on putting in a centerboard, which is _not_ typical (but is in the plans as an option!), but the more typical design has a very long daggerboard trunk, to accommodate different sail configurations, so a centerboard trunk shouldn't actually take up that much more space. The style I like best, and am planning on doing, is what is most common in Francois Vivier's boats, but from some thread on here (can't remember where), apparently dates back a long time: the board itself has pins on it, and they slide down into channels on the inside of the trunk. It is then held down (at various positions) by shock cord. Among other things, this means it is easily removable from the top and there is nothing that could ever leak (which, I understand they rarely do leak, but it makes me feel better!).

    The most uncertain part left is the rest of the thwarts. I think I'm just going to run open thwarts along the sides, all the way from back to front, with a middle thwart at the back of the centerboard trunk (which can be used as a rowing thwart). That doesn't leave a ton of internal buoyancy, which means I should have some bags, but I think I'm okay with that -- rather than enclosing the side seats. But maybe I'll enclose the middle thwart? Who knows!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Hi dbp1
    how well does that little cyclone pre filter work?
    wayne
    fremantle

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Hi Wayne,

    It works well for what it is -- as long as the bucket underneath isn't full, essentially nothing (sawdust, planer chips, etc) ends up in the shop vac, so the shop vac never gets clogged up. But it obviously doesn't make the shop vac any more powerful than it is when it's empty, so it's no replacement for a real dust collector: dust still goes into the air every time I use the table saw, because there just isn't enough air being pulled.... So I still wear a mask if I'm cutting a bunch of stuff, and I have a cheap air cleaner up above that you can't see in the picture.

    Cheers,
    Daniel

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    So I haven't had as much time as I'd like (what's new!), and a _lot_ of that ended up getting eaten up just with re-organizing the "shop" (aka the garage) last week, which was surprisingly involved! After thinking about it a bit, and deciding I'd like to move things as little as possible, I measured everything and made cardboard models of them (and of the Apple-to-be) and then shifted that around. What I ended up with isn't perfect, but it works: the table saw is in the corner, but it can wheel out when it needs to, and the boat is against the car's spot in the garage, which is ideal, as that's space that can't have anything in it permanently (as the car needs to go in there when it snows), but will _usually_ be empty, so is convenient for moving around. The unavoidable compromises were that two tools that used to have permanent bench-level space now live in the corner, and have to be moved off of their almost-on-the-floor stands to be used: the miter saw and the planer. There have already been things I would have used the miter saw for and instead am grabbing a circular saw (building random shelves, also as part of the re-organization), but oh well - it's working!

    Before (table saw is essentially at the line with the other parking spot -- the plywood on saw horses in the back is actually probably in the way, but it got moved anyway!):



    And after:



    (As part of this, the PDR standing in the rear of the other photo got moved to the other side, because the car doesn't actually go all the way to the rear! Without that, it probably would have been living outside!).

    I was planning on building a frame (saw horses or something similar) that I could put locking casters on to make it easier to move the boat around as I'm working on it, as right now, the rear is pretty inaccessible, but I haven't yet. I can drag the metal saw horses without too much trouble, so we'll see.

    Finally, this week I planed all the strakes down to the lines. There were two pairs (0 and 3, the big ones), where they were a little bit off -- i.e., if I lined up the two ends, then the middles ended up uneven before I started planing. Because I cut them stacked on top of each other, that _shouldn't_ have happened, but I'm assuming that my clamps shifted or something while cutting. I decided it was better to have them be slightly too small than to have them be uneven (the error is probably about 1/16th of an inch, and only for part of the strakes), so I clamped the ends to match and then planed both sides so they were even. I figured the error should be able to just be filled in with epoxy _anyway_ as part of the stitch & glue process. Or at least, that's the hope! Not too much too see, just a lot of time (and a break in the middle to re-sharpen) with my block plane:



    At this point, I just need to clean up the butt joints (take off the excess epoxy out beyond the glass with a heat gun and sand the part over the glass at least a little) and then it'll be time to start drilling & stitching.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Lookin' good, Daniel! "Stuff" always expands to fit the available space. How do you like the WEN air filtration device?
    "George Washington as a boy
    was ignorant of the commonest
    accomplishments of youth.
    He could not even lie."

    -- Mark Twain

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    It seems to work? At least, based on being able to smell/taste sawdust in the air before having it run for a while and not afterwards. It's relatively new, so no idea about longevity. But the combination of shopvac/cyclone, the air filter, and a 3M mask with interchangeable filters seems to be working for me (and for not very much money). I may need to move it now that I moved everything else -- it's high enough that I don't hit my head, but just barely, and it's a little unnerving, as it's right above where my stool often is! (it used to sit above the outfeed table).

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    I'm finally, after way too much time, finished scraping and sanding extra epoxy off of the butt joints (lesson: use less epoxy!). The heat gun, angled away from the joint (I'm not sure how much damage to the integrity of the joint it would do, but wanted to minimize it), made scraping off the epoxy pretty easy, but it still took ~20-30 minutes per plank, which adds up.




    (in the above you can see the one bit of damage I did, when I wasn't paying attention with the heat gun and slightly scorched the plywood!)

    At this stage, the one remaining thing to do before starting to stitch was to add reinforcing glass to the "upper edge at the bow" of strake 0, so the stiching wouldn't pull through. We had a freak spell of mid-50s weather at the beginning of this week, so I took advantaged of that to do that (colder weather epoxy is on the way, as is my determination to set up a plastic tent, etc), but I'm pretty sure I misinterpreted what that meant, and put it at the upper edge along the stem, rather than running back along the top of the strake towards the transom, as it seems that there is going to be a lot of strain an the latter and not much on the former (but, with some extra stitches, I think it'll be fine). [edit] After putting on more strakes, and in particular, starting to force the hull apart to fit the forward bulkhead, I've realized I wasn't wrong! I ended up having to actually put a bolt through the top of strake 0 along the stem, so the glass was useful! And there is confirmation later in the instructions that I was correct.[/edit]

    Also, when doing this, I realized a "major" mistake, which I don't think will actually be that major: Tom says that for the butt joint, one side should be done with a single 3" piece of tape, and the other side with 2 slightly overlapping 3" pieces of tape. The double clothed one is then intended to be the outside of planking, as it should be a little stronger. Unfortunately, when I set up the two panels to cut out the strakes, I didn't reverse one, which means that I will have alternating inside and outside "stronger" taping. I'm not all that concerned about the overall strength -- I was on the fence about glassing the whole boat, but probably _will_ (this is more reason to), and at that point any difference should be not noticeable. A bigger concern is whether there might be some asymmetry in terms of fairness, as one side (of each plank -- I can alternate) will have slightly different bending characteristics to the other. But, the joints were always going to be a challenge to fairness, and given that my overall goal for this boat is "fair enough to be functional", I don't think it'll be a big deal.


    Once I started, things went pretty quickly. Strake 0:



    And strake 1:



    One difficulty: in the instructions, it says to start from the stern and move _forwards_ to the stem. In email to me (about something unrelated), Tom said to do the opposite, saying I wouldn't be able to get the front panels to join together if I didn't start there. So, I tried to start from the stem (as instructed via email), but with the back of the panel wobbling around, I couldn't get things to hold in place (extra hands would be helpful!), so I ended up doing a mix -- add the rearmost, then one in the middle, then back to doing ones in the front. In the end, I couldn't get the front to quite join together, but I think that's more because the panels weren't pushed out enough. This gap:



    Became smaller after I started adding the partial frames cut out of scrap 3/4" plywood. The instructions for this appeared a little later, but I think this may have actually been something I should have done immediately after wiring together strake 0. I haven't finished wiring those in, but once I do, I think I'll be able to close the gap above (maybe adding another wire or two), and then move onto strake 2. After strake 2, Tom says wiring in the actual bulkheads can be done, as there is enough support for them (strake 3 is the last strake, but it's one of the largest: as big as 1 and 2 together probably)

    After all the wiring and fairing, I come to a slight challenge: the instructions say to "spot weld" the outside of the seams with 5 minute epoxy once it's fair, to ensure everything stays as it should during the main glassing/filleting that happens (first between the wires, then after they are removed throughout). It's quite cold here, (29 degrees now), and I work in an unheated garage that is not really air sealed. I have plastic to tent the boat, but haven't set that up yet, so while I have a space heater, running that into the air will do just about nothing. I've read that some of the 5 minute epoxy (e.g., JB Weld) will cure down to 32 degrees in not too much more time (maybe 10 minute to set rather than 5, and a couple hours to cure rather than 1), which seems promising, but I'm wondering if that's actually the case! Any experience?

    The alternatively that is mentioned in the plans is using hot melt glue. In some ways, this seems ideal: it is heated by the gun (which will work regardless of the ambient temperature), and once it comes out, it _should_ cool! But, I wonder, to some extent, if there is any issue of adding a bunch of it onto the outside of the seams. Is that going to impact the integrity of the epoxy/glass that's added on afterwards? I don't want to try to scrape/sand it off later. I haven't used it since I was a kid, but remember it being pretty rubbery and not particularly strong, but maybe if there isn't too much of it it just won't matter? I've searched on here but the only references I can find are for strip planking to hold strips in place, after which things are entirely encased with epoxy/glass. Is that sufficiently similar? Or should I just go for the 5 minute epoxy and do it on a day that's above freezing (not too hard to do).
    Last edited by dbp1; 12-19-2019 at 12:17 PM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    A bit more progress: one more strake (strake 2), plus the transom and both bulkheads (the midship one and the forward). After putting them in, I took out the plywood formers that were forming the same shape going up just strakes 0 & 1. The boat currently looks essentially like this (this was when the midship bulkhead was propped, before it was wired):



    The forward bulkhead will form a bow tank, and will also support the mast partner -- strake 3 should go most of the way to the top of it (some of it will get cut off, as the bow tank is recessed). The other bulkhead will be mostly cut away: the back of the centerboard trunk will butt against it, and the sides will support side seats.

    Putting these in was much more difficult than it should have been, because I hadn't added the station lines to the strakes before stitching them on. I hadn't thought too much about the placement for the bulkheads, but had sort of thought they would be measured from the bow or stern (which measurements _do_ exist: the offsets tables have measurements of each station at each chine), but given that these are complicated, 3D shapes (and thus tricky measurements), in retrospect it's obvious that the station lines should be added to the strakes when they are flat. And indeed, the points that are used to mark out the stakes _are_ the station marks (which I had suspected but, stupidly, never confirmed or did anything with). But two things made these not incredibly useful for me: 1. since I used the marks on one strake as a template to cut out both at once, there were only ever points marked on one strake, and on one side, and 2. while ideally, there would have been bits of the circles around the points left after planing, a few of the strakes were a little off, and so when I planed them to be even, those points were completely erased.

    So: if you are building this boat, draw lines connecting the points top to bottom when the strakes are flat on the ground, probably on both sides (but at least, on the inside), and transfer them to both strakes! This is in the building instructions, but I missed it! (It also never quite mentioned that these were the _station_ marks...)

    Otherwise, I spent a bit of time tweaking the wires, adding a few where there were gaps (including unwiring the transom and rewiring it once I tightened the rear of the hull). I also ran out of copper wire (I had bought a 25' roll of 16 gauge and another 25' of 18 gauge from duckworks -- I'm guessing that maybe 100ft of wire is enough for this boat if you don't redo too many things) and partly because I couldn't easily source more copper and partly because they were breaking really easily and this hull has quite a bit of twist, I got some 16.5 gauge steel rebar tie wire (400ft for $8). I know the steel will rust if any was left in the boat, but I'm not planning on epoxying over any of it: just between the stitches, then taking them all out, then a full glass + fillet, so getting it all out shouldn't be a problem. And it is working a lot better -- I'm sure I could do some damage to the wood, but as long as I'm careful, it can really pull things together, whereas the copper would break even before much tension was on it if I twisted it it incorrectly. It's a little less flexible than the copper, but that's made up for by it holding much better.




    There are still a few gaps in the hull thus far -- most of them very small, and not of any concern. The one I don't know what to do about, and I think will just be filled with epoxy, is at the bottom of the forward bulkhead. The bottom strakes meet exactly, and the bulkhead is running along all the two upper strakes as it should, so either the bottom strakes are a little too wide, or perhaps the bulkhead should have been a little bit further forward. But, it's a pretty small gap (maybe a quarter inch?), and filling it with thickened epoxy seems doable:



    Next I have to wire on the last strake, which is wide (on the finished boat, there will be a second rub rail halfway down it that gives the appearance of it being a separate strake). And then probably a bit more fine turning of the wires, to get everything as fair as possible. I also need to build some saw horses that are shorter than the 32" metal ones I have it propped on now (the saw horses and the 2x4 frame mean the boat is resting at 36"), as I could barely reach the middle of the boat at this height and there will be no way I can reach into the middle once the top strake is on, which I'll need to do for filleting.
    Last edited by dbp1; 12-19-2019 at 12:10 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Nice bit of progress there.

    Before just filling in the gap I'd go back and triple-check as many measurements as possible for cumulative error before making them permanent. Are you sure the bulkhead is the right shape and in the right spot? Is the boat still level along all axis? As tight as those stitches are there is still a lot of flex in the structure as a whole. Don't let the desire to see progress today create unnecessary work tomorrow. (As they say, BTDT)
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Thanks for the suggestion!

    I thought about the geometry a bit more, and realized that if the hull pushed outwards more (which is what it is straining _not_ to do), it would pull the bottom strakes up without doing much to change how the rest were hitting the bulkhead (I actually had a mark at the bottom of strake 0, the bilge strake, and I had been very careful when cutting out the bulkheads, so I'm pretty sure of the location and the shape of the bulkhead). And, sure enough, jamming some props to push out the upper strakes pulled the bottom strake up closer to the bulkhead. I did that and added some wires. There is still a little gap, but now it's more like 1/16". I may do a bit more work on it, as I'm pretty sure I know how I can get the rest of the way there, but there is a lot of resistance in the plywood -- it does not like what is happening to it up at the bow (the result looks quite nice though!).

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    A few short updates -- I built two short sawhorses and moved the boat onto them before starting to work on the last strake (strake 3), as I was barely able to reach the middle of the hull on the higher metal horses I had before. I made them roll, which has already been really handy, as _most_ of the time I have a full two car garage to work in, it's only occasionally that a car needs to occupy half of it. I may add a plywood support on the side at some point, but they seem pretty strong for now, and each came evenly out of a pair of 2x4s, which I was happy about.



    When working on strake 3, I realized a trick that I wish I had thought of earlier: clamps can be a useful way of holding the floppy far end of the strake from flying out of the hull, while still remaining pretty close to where it will eventually be wired (I had been tucking the strakes down into the hull, but that makes them harder to deal with since they aren't lying as they should):



    After wiring in the strake, I was able to fix the placement of the middle bulkhead because I put the proper station lines on this strake when it was still on the floor. I also spent a _long_ time tweaking all the wires, replacing some of the weak copper ones with the stronger steel, and generally faring the hull. It's all very neat now.

    I then leveled the whole boat, to the floor, side to side, making sure the centerlines lined up when viewed from front and back, etc. This involved clamping sticks along the hull near the bulkheads and transom, but there wasn't any real strain: everything was pretty close already. Based on the instructions, the boat is resting only on the sawhorse near the transom and one beneath the forward bulkhead.



    I then put in a few test spots of hot glue along the outer seams. I'm a little skeptical that it will actually hold, but I'm also unclear if it's actually all that necessary while I tape the inner seams / fillet the bulkheads. I'll see in a day or two (with cold nights) if the glue is holding, and if so, will add spots around all the external seems.

    And, for fun, here's two shots of the stem, which really is pretty!




  18. #18
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Nice design choice, and good looking work.
    I am following along.
    "Yeah, well, that's just, like your opinion man"
    -The Dude-

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Great progress, you are well on your way! I'm looking forward to seeing more and since we are so close, we should get together for some sailing once you are finished (and feel free to ping me for questions and help along the way, Tom's plans are thorough but can be confusing at times). I considered doing the centerboard as you are, but ultimately opted for a daggerboard. I shortened the trunk by about a 1/3 to get some extra room in the cockpit and because it was only necessary if you are planning to use multiple rigs (heavy and light air configs). The nice thing about the daggerboard aside from simplicity is that having a longer slot allows you to position it fore or aft depending on conditions for better performance (and reducing weather helm).

    The only design flaw I've found so far (and it's really only related to objects underwater), is the angle of the rudder hung on the transom. I believe one of the configurations calls for a more vertical arrangement, but I opted for the version that angles forward.
    Capture.PNG
    While sailing with this arrangement has no issues, but when beaching or bumping into an unexpected object while underway, the angle of 'attack' is such that it pushes up on the rudder instead of pushing it back, preventing the rudder from 'kicking' up. I found out this behavior this past summer on a beach in Maine, when I didn't pull the rudder up in time, and because I didn't have a pintle locking pin on the rudder, I found myself with a dislodged rudder floating away. Fortunately, I was able to wade in and capture it, but if I was not right on a beach and hit a rock or bar at that angle while underway, it could have been a problem. I'm hesitant to put a lock on the rudder because if I hit something at speed with the pintles locking the rudder in place, I'm pretty sure I could cause some damage. Since then I've tied a lanyard on the rudder tied to a cleat on board so if it does pop off while underway, I can just haul it back in.
    Last edited by galleywench; 12-23-2019 at 03:01 PM.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Well, in the end, I decided not to do any tacking of the exterior seams -- mostly due to the advice of galleywench (thanks!), whose boat turned out beautifully. The hull is quite stable, so I'm not too worried about it moving while taping the seams / filleting the bulkheads in -- I spent a bunch of time adding extra wires, and added props to both level and support it, and I have plenty of room to move around the boat without moving it:



    So, time for the first (real) epoxy on the boat. I'm using System 3 SilverTip with Fast hardener, as it cures down to 35 degrees, which is great as my shop is an uninsulated garage.

    As per the instructions, I started with the bulkheads. The plans said to either do small fillets with glass tape on top or big (radius 4x thickness of plywood, i.e. 24mm) structural fillets. I opted for the latter, as it seemed a better use of the (comparatively) warm weather we had. I tacked between the wires (note that the instructions say to do the transom _after_ adding timber strengthening pieces. I noticed this after I had done it, but the only actual overlap is at the top, as the other parts are supposed to stop short of the end, and I scraped off the top fillets).



    I then cut all the glass strips to go on the plank seams between the wires. The plans call for glassing with 50mm tape pieces between the wires -- later, 75mm tape will go over the whole thing. I ended up using 150mm pieces, as that made it really easy to fit without any risk of getting near the wires (I cut all the pieces for the upper seam, but they would fall down!).

    I then started epoxying them down. This is pretty easy: spread epoxy along the seam with a brush, running down one seam, and then come back once the epoxy has had a little bit of time to absorb and push the tape into it. I got through about half of them (all of the back and a little bit forward of the midship bulkhead) in a couple hours:



    Now we just have to hope it cures! It's 44 degrees now, and will be above 35 for probably 8hrs. Then it'll go below, but it'll be back above during the day tomorrow, etc... My understanding of epoxy chemistry is that it doesn't really matter _when_ (or that it is at first, or consecutive), it just matters that there _is_ 24hrs of above cure temperature time.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    @galleywench -- that's really helpful, thanks! I'll definitely be sure to do the more vertical rudder.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    It still amazes me how fast a stitch & glue boat goes from a pile of parts to a boat. Like magic.
    It's looking good.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    It's looking good! I built one stitch-and-glue boat over twenty years ago. It's still going strong.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Thanks all! It really is neat how quick it became "boat-like".

    So thankfully, the epoxy is definitely curing it by garage. But it was going to be a cold night, and I wanted to do the middle section, so I experimented with my first tenting. I put the space heater in the middle section of the hull, and ran it while I put on the tape:




    And then sealed it tight with two layers of plastic sheeting. I left the space heater running for a few hours (which probably made it quite hot in there) and then unplugged it from outside.



    I also did the glassing and filleting on the bow tank section, which means that all of the glass strips are done (I didn't take any decent pictures, but it's about the same). This means I moved onto the next task, which is constructing the transom stiffeners. I cut and fit them all today -- I used some nice douglas fir that I had gotten. I screwed them all in from the outside with drywall screws so when I epoxy the stiffeners in I can use the screws to hold them.



    As per the instructions, everything but the top stiffener does not go all the way to the seams, which seemed odd at first but since they are intended as _stiffeners_ I guess it makes sense (and the idea is to allow an unimpeded fillet / taped seam).

    One interesting thing: I had been really unhappy with the filleting powder I had been using (the brown stuff you see in the photos), which came from Duckworks -- once I got it stiff enough to not sag, it was really hard to make smooth. I wondered if the temperature had anything to do with it, but decided to try using the West 404 that I had and... completely different! Maybe there is a way to get the Duckworks stuff at a consistency that is smooth but doesn't sag, but I wasn't able to (and some of the fillets are a little saggy as a result of trying for smoother!). Whereas the 404, even once mixed thick enough that I could turn it upside down and it wouldn't move was still extremely smooth. So, I think I'm going to switch to that for the remainder of the project (on the PDR I made I just used wood flour, which was much more similar to the Duckworks stuff). The whole interior will be painted, so I don't care about the color, and it's not even much cheaper! I'll use the Duckworks stuff for gluing, just to use it up, but no more fillets!

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    So, this post is mostly about the outerwales.

    I also chamfered and epoxied on the transom stiffeners (the top and vertical one; the middle ones I'm waiting on until I fit the rear tank), but that was pretty straightforward: one minor issue is that I forgot to put epoxy on the _top_ of the vertical stiffener, so both are just epoxied to the transom, but not to each other. I'm planning on fixing this (as it seems important, structurally) by using a pull saw to open up the joint to a 1/16th or 1/8th of an inch so I can squeeze some pretty runny thickened epoxy into the joint.

    The next main task is getting the outer gunwales on. They are made of two 20mm square strips. I don't have 16ft stock or an easy way to transport it from a lumber yard, so first I ripped 20mm square strips out of the ~8-9ft stock I have. Based somewhat on the wood I had, and can somewhat readily get, my plan is to do douglas fir on the inside strip and khaya on the outside. The plans called for iroko but it's a bit of a drive to the closest lumberyard that stocks it, and when I was buying the lumber a few months ago, it wasn't open on the weekends at all (vs the saturday morning of my local hardwood dealer). Hopefully I won't regret it!



    I did a few different things for the 8:1 scarf joint, but the approach that worked best was to cut close to the line with the jig saw and then go down to the line with a power plane (a hand plane would have worked better and been neater but the nice one I have was in the basement, not the garage shop, and the power plane worked fine).



    I then glued those up for a couple of days, and then started clamping one of the doug fir ones on. And, disaster!



    This happened towards the bow, at the place where the piece had to twist up as well as bending in. You can also see there was some grain runout in the piece, and I think probably a big factor is the temperature -- it was a "warm" day, but still in the 40s.

    I really didn't want to try to build some kind of steaming contraption, and it really seemed like it shouldn't be necessary for such small stock, so I attached two pieces on and gave them a really gentle curve, just tying the two ends together at the bow about a foot apart. That sat for a day, and then today I took a heat gun to it, hoping that the heat would allow it to bend without anything more extreme (soaking or steam). Fortunately, it seemed to work!



    I added a _lot_ of clamps, and I'm going to leave them on a while. I'm hoping that the piece of wood takes the curve well and drilling holes for screws won't cause it to split.

    Fortunately, the stock is overlength so I should be able to cut out the broken piece and rescarf it so I won't lose the wood.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Well, these gunwales have been an adverture (and not done yet)! So after leaving the above clamped one on for about a day, without issue, I went to the one on the other side and, with the heat gun, started bending the front on (I had clamped it a little past halfway to just start it on a curve before, tying the front with a string towards the centerline). It went most of the way and then CRACK! It broke.

    So at this point I've broken two of the doug fir strips (I have 4 of them and 2 khaya; two of the doug fir strips will be the inner gunwales and aren't needed until a bit later). I thought, maybe I just didn't use enough heat, or I should have only clamped it part of the way and waited another day before doing the rest, so I decided to go and add the screws to the one pictured above, which seemed fine.

    I started from the back, drilling countersinks and then screws. On the third screw (which is only 750mm from the rear of the ~4700mm boat), there is another CRACK! And the gunwale has cracked, near the middle of the boat, right across scarf joint (the joint didn't fail, just the grain right next to it).

    Now I've broken 3 of the 4 douglas fir strips, which means I don't even have enough intact for the outer gunwales, and more significantly, it seems the approach really isn't working: if the vibration of drilling (as I imagine that was the cause) can cause it to crack, then obviously even with the heat gun aiding the bend, it's still really unstable.

    I started thinking about building a steambox, which I really don't want to do (one problem is that I don't have an easy way to transport 16ft stock, and while scarfing is easy and produces strong joints, the epoxy I'm using is only rated to maybe 160 degrees, so putting it in the steam box means it'll be dead. So maybe I could just steam one end, but... it's more to buy, to build, etc...).

    And I started thinking about different wood species: even though it seemed that plenty of people talked about using doug fir on gunwales, this "delamination" that I was having does seem to be a known issue, so perhaps with something that bends better, even cold bending could work.

    I also wrote to the designer to see if he had suggestions. He suggested what, in retrospect, was obvious: that I could just make more thinner laminations. That avoids wasting the wood I already have (or at least, wasting _all_ of it) and making a trip to the lumberyard to get a different species, and any of the complexities of steaming.

    So today I ripped the one remaining 20mm strip to be 12mm. I then bent it onto the boat cold. That went on fine. I then drilled and screwed it all along: at one point, when I was drilling the countersink hole, a few of the outer "laminations" slightly cracked, which obviously isn't great -- but the whole piece didn't crack, and I put a clamp one top of the crack and screwed on either side of it. This seemed to work okay -- probably when I take it off, I may plane that spot down a bit and stick some glass on it.

    Then I need to rescarf the broken strips (which were all overlength, so it's possible) and rip them down to 12mm. I'm then going to rip the 20mm khaya in half, which I think should give me about 8-8.5mm laminates (figuring losing 1/8" from the table saw blade). 12 + 12 + 8 + 8 = 40, which is exactly the width that I needed originally (this works by using up what was intended for the inwales).

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    It's been a little while -- partly because I haven't had a ton of time to work, but also because the gunwales have turned into quite an adventure. I think a combination of not great doug fir (the grain was straight, and seemed pretty tight to me, but maybe kiln dried way too quickly), and trying to bend it in too cold of an environment. I think I broke essentially all of the strips I had, including ones I ripped down to 12mm; I wasn't going to keep making them thinner, so I went back to the lumberyard to get something better. Which turned out to be eastern white pine. It's local, I was able to find a nice 16ft clear plank, and some brief at-the-lumberyard research (while I could see what was available, most of which was short, at least without scheduling it to be pulled in advance) indicated it wasn't a bad choice, and since it'll be encapsulated and there will be a khaya outer cap, hopefully all will be well.

    But, I was feeling burnt anyway, so I decided to still go overkill on the laminations, cutting the pine into 12mm strips, and ripping the khaya in half, which with the loss from the kerf gave me 8mm strips. 12 + 12 + 8 + 8 = 40mm, as desired.

    Once I did that, actually putting them on wasn't that difficult, if time consuming. I screwed and glued the first two layers separately: probably epoxy would be plenty, but the designer called for screws, and it did make it nice and easy to align things. Then I did the double khaya layer in one go with one set of screws.

    I wasn't sure what was supposed to happen at the bow, and miscalculated that the gunwale would run into the outer stem, but it is actually quite small, so there is a bit of a gap. I think I'm going to fit a piece of khaya there -- an outer breasthook of sorts -- but other than that, it's all looking good, and the boat sure has stiffened up.



    I also cut out and glued in the quarter knees, which is the last step before flipping the boat, cutting off the wires, and taping / gluing the outer seams. There wasn't any pattern, so I drew them and cut them out. They are a bit fat, but look okay to me!


  28. #28
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Great to see an update again. I am also contemplating doing one of Tom's boats, but I am considering Pearl so I am following this thread closely.

    Keep it going

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Thanks Chris! Pearl looks very nice...

    I remain both extremely impressed by the quality of Tom's design and somewhat less impressed by the quality of instructions -- everything I've needed has been possible to figure out (sometimes buried either somewhere on one of the many drawings or in a random note in one of the documents), or quickly answered over email by Tom, but it's not quite a step-by-step process (but perhaps my expectations were set up wrong by getting plans and almost building one of Iain Oughtreds boats...)! But I didn't find any other design that matched what I wanted, so I have no regrets...

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Quote Originally Posted by dbp1 View Post
    Thanks Chris! Pearl looks very nice...

    I remain both extremely impressed by the quality of Tom's design and somewhat less impressed by the quality of instructions -- everything I've needed has been possible to figure out (sometimes buried either somewhere on one of the many drawings or in a random note in one of the documents), or quickly answered over email by Tom, but it's not quite a step-by-step process (but perhaps my expectations were set up wrong by getting plans and almost building one of Iain Oughtreds boats...)! But I didn't find any other design that matched what I wanted, so I have no regrets...

    I really like the look of Tom's design as well, but have not made up my mind yet. Ideally I would like a boat that is a bit bigger. I wrote Tom and asked, but unfortunately he doesn't have complete plans ready for his bigger designs and he replied that he might make it if there is enough interest in them in the future.
    Another designer I am seriously considering is Vivier as I have understood his plans are very detailed and his boats are very well designed, but I still like the lines of Tom's boats more.
    I am looking for a cruising dinghy I can sleep on board and that didn't seem to be an option in Apple according to Tom. Luckily I am not in a rush, but would really like to get started as it takes some time to build a boat.

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Cool build...and you're making fast progress!

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    I flipped the boat, which was relatively uneventful. With the quarter knees, it has gotten very stiff (I wouldn't sit in it, but wrangling it seems fine):



    I then cut off all the wires, filled the outer seams with epoxy mixed with fairing filler, then sanded those smooth. Then I cut fiberglass tapes for all of the chines:



    The stem and keel will get taped as well, but there is some other work to be done for those first.

    Then I started filling those with epoxy. I did what I had done on the inside: paint on epoxy and then lay down the tape, then add some more epoxy. Then once that had mostly cured, I filled everything it with epoxy, again filled with fairing filler, to make it easier to sand smooth before glassing the entire hull:



    Then I'll do the other side, then the stem, keel, etc.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Looking, good. You are making good progress

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    Nice job, it's looking nice! I was surprised at how quickly my First Mate went from a floppy punch of panels zip tied together to a fairly stiff hull.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Campion Apple 16 Build

    A little more work done -- glass taped and then filled the chines on the other side:



    And then I finally got around to filling the gap that I had (unintentionally) left at the bow of the gunwale. Not the neatest fit (the picture is the dry fit), but epoxy is very forgiving. I'll cut it round later on.



    And I also glass taped (but haven't added a fill coat) glass tape on the transom, but forgot to take a picture.

    I'm now running into a design decision that I had been putting on: the centerboard. I had decided, at the beginning, that I didn't want to have a daggerboard. The plans call for one, but with a long case so that the placement could be adjusted based on there being two rigs. I'm not going to use two rigs, so I could shorten the case, but I'd rather keep a long case (there's room) and instead get a pivoting centerboard!

    Here is my rough idea, maybe someone could check me to make sure I'm not doing anything silly?

    My understanding is that the main issue to keep in mind is to keep the same area of board with the same center of area. Deeper narrower boards will allow better pointing, but misalignment will actually screw up balance in dangerous ways. The original board is 1450x280mm in a case that is 1200x450mm, so what goes into the water is 1000x280mm, or about 3 sq ft. I can't use the same board in the same case, because obviously a 1450mm board can't pivot into a 1200mm case. And I'd rather not make the case longer, as that'll mess with the furniture layout, so my plan is to instead make the board wider. This makes sense anyway, as the case as designed is 450mm tall, so a board that is only 280mm wide pivoting into it would be somewhat odd (a lot of space above the board).

    Thinking about the 3sqft below the water, I came up with 375x750mm, and if I made the case 375mm tall inside (plus a little bit so it's not tight), the overall case would be a little shorter but basically the same height, and if I add the portion that it needs to pivot around (which should be essentially the height of the case, 375mm, I get 1125mm -- which should fit into a 1200mm case. I might have to make the board a little wider and a little shorter to get enough room for the pivot (I want it to be inserted from the top, pivoting based on a handle on the top, similar to shown here: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...51#post5983851), as it probably requires a bit more room at the top than just the 375mm. I will need to move the case forward a little bit (to be calculated) because the board is thicker, which moves the center further backwards (essentially, on the 280mm board the center is 140mm back from the leading edge, whereas my center would be ~190mm back from leading edge, so I'd have to get the leading edge about 50mm further forward).

    Does that all seem reasonable? Any reason I should be really concerned about changing the board that is below the water from 1000x280 to 750x375 (or even 700x400)?

    (I need to decide on this now because aside from putting on the outer stem, the next steps involve the skeg/keel, and those involve the placement of the centerboard slot...)

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