Last Saturday we took part in the April Tools Wooden Boat Challenge. Basically, we were given an unknown set of materials, 1 hour to plan and 3 hours in which to build a boat. Hand tools only (except for driving screws). It was a lot of fun!
This is what we had to work with. 1 and 1/8 sheets of plywood. 8 1x2s. 1 2x2. A roll of duct tape. 3 tubes of caulk. Some wood screws. And a meter of rope.
We got a nice curve for the hull by draping a string and tracing it out. This let us precisely determine the length of the curve ahead of time, very important when working with limited materials!
Then the sawing started!
Predictably (if you know any of the team) we brought far too many tools. Better too many than too few!
The side walls were screwed to cleats screwed to the bottom plate. A single thwart helped brace them during construction. We had a lot of problems with the cleats splitting until we started pre-drilling the holes using the hand brace. Of course, its chuck didn't go small enough for the tiny drill we were using. Luckily, we had a pin-vise on hand! And that's exactly why we brought far too many tools with us.
Getting the ends bent into place took a lot of effort. The final joints were okay, but we made heavy use of the caulk to get it actually water-tight.
Lots and lots of caulking.
It was only at this point that I could test if I would actually fit. I was chosen as the primary pilot, as I have by far the most small boat experience thanks to my 1500 km trip down the Mackenzie in 2007. Not that I've done any since then...
At the last minute, we decided it needed a dragon's head prow. At the last second, we decided it needed an eye hole bored out using an antique ship auger we had with us. We finished exactly as the tools-down buzzer sounded.
Our mighty craft, the Knorr! It wasn't the most elegant build, but we were all pretty happy with it. We accomplished exactly what we had planned 3 hours earlier.
As it turns out, though, what we planned had some serious problems. Namely, it had absolutely no primary stability, as the following video plainly demonstrates.
So, we didn't get very far in the race. But oh well! It was fun, we got to spend the day outdoors on a very lovely day on the very lovely Sunshine Coast. If we do it again next year, I expect we'll make a much better showing.