Auklet II

The following is part of a collaborative project by Richard Myers, Ethan Love, Zachary Guenther, and Matthew Grotzke. Each section is authored by a separate person covering a different aspect of the build. We all contributed equally in our own way to make this project a success.

working on Molds with Zach

Challenges in managing the Build

By Ethan Love

       The Auklet is a 7’2” glued lapstrake 4 millimeter plywood boat. This project was started in January by Rick Myers, Matt Grotzke, Zach Guenther and myself. Building the Auklet has been a great learning experience. The four of us applied the foundational skills learned at the boat school to  create the Auklet. Throughout the build there has been challenges such as sufficient work space, correct temperatures for epoxy setup, and scheduling conflicts. These challenges forced the four of us to communicate, problem solve, and work together to build the Auklet to what it is today (not yet finished but well on its way).

         Building the Auklet has had its challenges. We are building the Auklet out of a one car garage. At the beginning of every work day, we have to make room in the garage. We do this by taking the table saw, bandsaw, and planer outside. This gives us enough room to use the tools and work around the boat and its strong back. Even though the space was small, it was dry, out of the weather and for the most part warm.

Our little Epoxy Tent with the Auklet inside

       Getting the garage up to temperature for the epoxy became an almost immediate issue. In order to keep the boat warm enough for the epoxy to set, we decided to make a tent around the boat to trap in the heat. This tent was made of wood framing and heavy plastic drop cloth. This allowed us raise the temperature around the boat to about 60 degrees. The hot air from the heaters made the plastic blow up like a balloon giving us some space to work inside the tent. The heated tent solved one problem however we kept tripping the breakers with the saws and the heaters. Every so often one of us would have to run inside and reset the breaker in order to keep working.

Trying to push the temp up from bellow freezing.

        One of the other challenges we encountered was scheduling. Everyone is very busy with the tasks at school and with everyday life outside of school. Scheduling time for this project meant that we had to communicate via email, text, and face to face meetings at school. I struggled in this area. I have always been good at getting myself where I need to be in a timely manner but I struggled to communicate with the other team members. There is a lot to consider when scheduling a project work day such as what day, what time, what needs to be accomplished. This list of questions seems never ending.

        We tried to set a day that we would work on the boat during the weekends. Originally we had thought that we could work on the Auklet every other Saturday. When that didn’t go as planned, we talked about working on the boat after school during the week. All of our set scheduling didn’t seem to work. We ended up taking a break from the project during a really busy time with school. After a three week break, we resumed work on the Auklet. The four of us were not always able to work together because of schedule conflicts. This wasn’t a huge issue because there was not always tasks for all four of us. Also, the elbow room around a 7’2” boat shrinks fast once four pairs of hands are set to work.

Garboard on

       The Foundational skills of using the Japanese pull saws, hand planes, and chisels used to make tight joinery during the first quarter of the year have proven to be very important during the construction process of the boat. These skills along with the use of power tools have made this build possible. Everyone was on the same page of how to fit  the puzzle pieces together. These pieces included the strong back, molds, stems (inner and outer), apron, transom, planking, keel, and the list goes on. From our knowledge of drafting and lofting, we were able to understand the plans. Understanding the Auklet plans was the key to figuring out how the different pieces of the boat fit together. The plans told us how big or how small to make the boat pieces. The plans detailed: bevels, if any at all; where to place the reference faces of the molds; how to set up the stem and transom with accuracy; how to glue on the apron; and how to spile and cut the garboard planks. 

        This project has been an awesome learning experience outside of school. Our team was able to troubleshoot issues and put our ideas together to overcome them. The boat is not yet completed. We still have to fill and fair screw holes, clean up and fair some planking at the laps, finish the keel where the dagger board protrudes, and epoxy coat the exterior. We also have to finish the interior by making thwarts, thwart risers, install inwhales, daggerboard trunk, oars, spars, rigging, sails, and put the finish on the interior.

I am looking forward to completing the boat and watching it sail! As well as, sailing the Auklet myself.

Planking well underway

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