It Begins Again…Well, Maybe

After thinking long and hard about building another Scamp, I’ve decided to take the first step.

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But, why build another Scamp?

Simply stated, I can’t find another small sailboat I like better.  Scamp has so much going for it.  I want to see if I can improve from my first build.

Are you just going to build it and then get disgruntled and sell it like last time?

I sure hope not.  My goal is to build another boat and then spend time getting to know her and teaching my kids to sail.  I really want to hold this one.

Why not just buy VG Doug Fir for the spars?

Sitka Spruce is approximately 15% lighter than Doug Fir and not much money.  In fact the difference between buying 38 board feet of Doug Fir and Sitka was less than $60.  With this small price differential, Spruce becomes the clear winner.  I want the mast as light as I can get it.  Yet, I’m not tempted by carbon fiber, I like wood.

So does this mean I’m committing to build another Scamp?

Not exactly.  I’m much more comfortable stating I’m committing to building the spars.  I’ll take it that far and see how I feel.  I’ve lost interest before in projects and found them laying around the corner of the wood shop, so I’m taking this opportunity one step at a time.  I’ll build the spars and if that goes well, I’ll consider moving toward the foils.  I’m all about baby steps and small commitments.  Remember, “by small and simple things are great things brought to pass”.

How will I build my spars differently from last time?

  1. 15% lighter, according to internet wood species data.
  2. More hand planing of the mast.  Last time I left it quite chunky  This time I will remove more material, rendering the mast even lighter.
  3. I’ll use a line to secure the block at the top of the mast as opposed to hard attachment, like Jason did with Argo.
  4. I plan to orient the mast block on the aft side of the mast for better halyard alignment (still playing with this).
  5. I’ll take the time to add leather wraps to all contact points.
  6. I’ll slightly oversize the boom (vertically).
  7. I’ll white tip all spar ends for a more historic look.

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Parting shot…like my new hair cut?

This is my dad, who I love very much.  He is 79 years old and can still out work me.  We made the SLC trip together to pick up the spruce.  We had a lot of time to discuss building ideas.  He’s a great designer and engineer.  It’s a huge blessing to have him in my life.  Now let’s fire up the planer and make some wood chips.

Building Mast Support Blocks

Back from vacation, I launched into finishing the mast, boom and yard.  I needed to build the mast support blocks to hold the mast within the mast trunk.

DSC00408I hand a few chunks of red oak left over from building the skegs.  I decided to use these to build the mast support blocks.

DSC00412I set my drill press 2.5 degrees off level.

DSC00409I then purchased a 3 1/4″ hole saw.  My mast is a little larger in diameter than others.  I left it a bit rough for a hand hewn look.

DSC00413I clamped the block to the drill press fence for good support.  Happy with the offsets, I continued to drill.DSC00418This piece will just slid over the mast and be glued into position as the upper mast support block.  DSC00422 DSC00427 I worked thickened epoxy into the mast/support block junction using my finger.  I then cleaned up the excess epoxy with a flattened wooden stick. DSC00425I plan to place a fillet around this joint during the next epoxy coating step.

DSC00419This is the bottom mast support block.  I will be adding the 3/8″ plywood to the bottom to:  1-strengthen the block and 2-evenly distribute of the weight of the mast to the bottom of the mast trunk.  I will simply place the block in the bottom of the mast trunk.

DSC00428Glued together but still pretty ugly.  I globded extra epoxy near the thin section.  I plan to cut the edges flush with the block and cut a groove into the bottom for water drainage once the epoxy has cured.

DSC00430While I was at it, I also rolled the first coat of epoxy on all the spars.

Summary:

I’m not sure it’s entirely necessary to drill the holes at 2.5 degrees off vertical.  It seemed to make very little difference.  If you don’t have the tools to do this, I wouldn’t worry about it.  I think there would be enough movement in the mast to accommodate blocks drilled out vertically.  This is one of those steps that I was dreading, but it really wasn’t hard and seemed to go off without a hitch.