Thursday, April 28, 2011

Insulating TARDIS

Click picture for larger image.

Some Paradox have insulation and some do not. I wanted to insulate TARDIS, but I didn't want the insulation to be exposed because I think it would not stand up to the wear and tear over the years. I have chosen to cover the insulation. I decided to use 5 mm ply. This is the thinest product I could find locally, at a reasonable price.

Before the sides were glued to the bulkheads, I made paper patterns of the areas that were to hold the insulation. When it was time to cut the insulation, the patterns made this job easy.

In order to attach the ply, I cut a 5/8 inch dowel into 3/4 inch lengths and epoxied them to the hull. After the epoxy cured, I put 2 coats of epoxy on them. I then took the pre-cut sheets of insulation, pressed them up against the dowels. This made an impression on the insulation, showing me where the holes needed to be cut in order to slide the insulation over them.

I took a piece of conduit that was just bigger than the dowel pegs and sharpened one end. To cut the hole, I placed the sharpened conduit where I wanted a hole and just pressed and turned. It made a neat hole.

The insulation was used as a pattern to cut the 5 mm ply. I will apply 2 coats of epoxy to both sides. Using brass screws and finishing washers, the panels will be screwed into the dowel pegs.

Most of the cabin area will be painted white. This will make it lighter inside, but I do want to leave some parts the natural wood.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Two Ducks and a Goose at Lake Bastrop

It's not often, actually it's rare, that I'm in the picture because I'm usually behind the camera. But, this last weekend I ended up on the other side a few times. Dave was in Duck Soup and I was in iDuck, we were sailing along and I saw that he was filming. I wanted to get my camera out and film him in Duck Soup, but I had both hands full and was busy staying right-side-up.

photos & video by Dave aka Super Dave and Kevin.

Dave also got Kevin in his goose.

Click the link below to see Super Dave in Duck Soup.

Super Dave!

The wind was blowing pretty good and the occasional wave made it an interesting sail. Just thought I would share these short videos that Dave and Kevin took.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Pouring the Lead Pigs

This morning, the wind was calm, so I decided to pour some of the lead pigs. I made the forms out of 1/2 inch ply for the sides and bottom and 3/4 inch solid lumber for the ends. I made two 8 inch long (20 pound pig) and two that are 12 inch long (30 pound pig).

I took the lead ingots that were made from wheel weights, placed them in my 10 inch Dutch oven and started heating them up. In order to hold the pot with both hands, I clamped vice grip pliers on the back rim. This is necessary, because the pot wants to tilt uncontrollably with 20 or 30 pounds of liquid sloshing around.

The first pouring in each of the forms, was very bubbly. I assume the moisture in the wood caused this. The second pouring was not as bubbly and the pigs came out looking cleaner. The forms are not holding up very well. They are very dry and cracked... okay, charred would be a better word. I hope they hold up for 2 more pouring. But, it's doubtful.

After the pigs cooled off, I took a file and cleaned up the edges. I now have 4- 20 pound pigs and 4- 30 pound pigs. Not bad for my first try at making lead pigs.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Lead Smelting

I've made a couple of rudders and leeboards, and they have all been weighted with lead. When I did these, I worked with only about 3 or 4 pounds at a time. My set up was a camp stove and a tin can with a handle bolted on to the side. It worked just great. But, I need to melt at least 20 pounds of lead at once and my little tin can was not going to work. I bought a fryer stand and a 10" cast iron dutch oven.

I decided to smelt all the wheel weights into ingots, and then I will take those ingots and make my pigs. I used a muffin tin for the mold and each one is about one and a half pounds each. I ended up with 105 pounds from the wheel weights and 110 pounds from the ingots that I bought.

Wheel weights. Not all are made of lead. Some are zinc and some are iron. The iron weights usually have "Fe" stamped on the back, but not always. You can figure to get about 75% to 80% useable lead out of collected wheel weights. Assuming that my pile was normally what you would expect to get from a tire store or garage.

This is a very dirty, stinky job. The road grime burning off the weights smells awful. Even standing up wind, I could still smell it. But, after you fish out all the clips and skim the dirt and crud off, you end up with pretty shiny liquid. And hot, very hot. Lead's melting point is 621 degrees F. Safety first!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Lead Quest: Day Two

I sat down at the computer and opened the Google page. Maybe I am not searching the correct words, because all I am finding is expensive lead. Let's see... what about "lead ingots"... jackpot! I discovered the world of the reloader. After surfing for about 30 minutes, I found IT! The most beautiful shiny metal I've ever seen. At that moment I felt a little like Gollum, "We wants it, we needs it. Must have the precious". I quickly shot off an email asking if it was still available. A "yes" reply came within five minutes, giving a phone number to call. I called and talked to Rick. And the lead is MINE. All I have to do is go get it. Okay, I have to drive an hour and a half to get it, but it's worth it. Even figuring in the cost of gas, it's still a bargain.

When Dale got home from work, we climbed in the Jeep and took off. Upon arrival, we find Rick weighing the lead, to make sure of the total pounds. About half of the wheel weights have already been melted into ingots. The other half, that will be my job.

I will still need more weight, but this is a good start. I can continue work on the rudder, and I can build the supports for the ballast pigs. Meanwhile, I will keep my eye out for more lead.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lead Quest: Day One

I couldn't put it off any longer... I need lead. The forms for the lead pigs have been built. I decided to make 20# and 30# pigs, with a total weight of 400 pounds.

There has been a lot of talk on the forums that I read about where lead can be found. Used wheel weights. That sounds like an easy thing to find, so I jump in my Jeep and head out. My first stop was at a chain tire store. They send their used weights back to the company they buy them from... no lead for me there. I decide to just drive down the road and check with every store I see with tires laying around, they must have used lead weights. I stop at the next store, I am told they re-use their weights. Okay, so I drive down a little farther. The phone number is painted on the side of the next tire store I come across, so I decide to just call. It was a little hard to understand him, as I don't speak Spanish, but I think he said he does sell the used wheel weights, but he doesn't have any. Maybe in two weeks. By this time, I'm getting a little discouraged. As I drive on down that road the next two do not sell their lead weights.

Now, I'm real discouraged and about that time I drive past a recycle center. They buy scrap metal, maybe I can get some there. Parked outside the fence, I dial the number painted on the fence. It rings... I can hear it on the loud speaker in the yard... kinda' eerie. I am told they do not sell to the public. Where to look now? I remember seeing wrecked and rotting boats in this yard near a marina I used to frequent. Maybe I can find an old keel? So, off I go.

The place with the boat parts has since been cleaned and I was out of luck there. But, across the street, is the Boaters' Resale Shop of Texas. That place is like a magnet, of course I had to go in! It is a wonderful place. You can look for hours and not see everything. I came across a swing out electronics bracket, which we need, and now have, and at a good price. The drive was not a total loss. But, I still need LEAD
On my way home, I decided to call Lead Products Company and find out how much they get for their lead bars. $1.93 per pound. After quickly doing the math in my head, I realized I HAVE to find scrap lead. But, another day. I would go home and regroup.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

From Pair of Ducks to Paradox

Guest Blogger : Dale

Lezlie is out in the garage fiberglassing the water tanks on the Paradox "TARDIS", and asked me to think about putting up a blog post. So with password in hand, I decided to post some photos of something besides epoxied plywood, namely from our vacation in Belize. If you look closely, there is a channel marker at the top ,so it's not completely off topic. Incidentally, after she sees this, it may be my last blog post.

Moving from arid West Texas to the Gulf Coast four years has been a real exercise in adjustment. You see, in West Texas there is very little water unless you have it shipped in, and quantities large enough to sail in are prohibitively expensive. Wind is cheap, though. Little did I know when we started sailing Galveston Bay where it would lead. When I stumbled across Matt Layden's Paradox, I daydreamed a bit, and thought it would be fun to build one. Then when Lezlie asked for plywood for Christmas, I knew it was going to get serious. Despite us never having built a boat before, and barely knowing how to sail, soon there was an intimidating pile of plywood stacked in the garage. As a warm-up exercise, she decided to build a Puddleduck Racer. Joining the forums at Yahoo helped a lot by introducing us to people who had tried this sort of thing before. Discovering Chuck's Duckworks saved us countless amounts of time with information and small boat hardware. What the heck is a gudgeon ? They got 'em! Fast forward now, a year and a half later, and there are two Puddleducks on a trailer, and a Paradox named Tardis growing in the garage.

The plumbing design on the Paradox will allow the water tanks to be both filled and emptied with a small electric pump and a combination of valves. Both water tanks will be used for ballast only, not a source of drinking water. The pump and valves will allow draining or filling of either port or starboard water tank, as well as serving as a "convenience" bilge pump in the event of water from entry through the hatch or over the transom baffle in following seas. I found some nifty 3-way valves from US Plastics , that greatly reduced the amount of plumbing necessary. The plan is to do all the plumbing and electrical work before the deck is installed. Yeah, I know, something will be forgotten and have to be installed lying down in the boat, in the dark, in an inaccessible spot, with special tools., by a contortionist. But at least at the present there is a plan to do it right.

Two weeks until the Centex messabout at Lake Bastrop, Texas on April 23, 2011. We plan to have both Duckish boats there, assuming a new leeboard for gOZling to replace the one cracked during the last sail at Lake Somerville. I hope we get to see some people from SailOklahoma! , and get a close look at that world-famous Scamp !

Fun begins when you push away from the dock ....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Sailing Lizards

Dale and I took our PDRacer, iDuck and baby Goose, gOZling sailing on Lake Somerville. We store the boats under a tarp in the backyard. Two lizards had set up house in Dale's boat. When I saw them the day before, I warned them that they might want to stay home, because they might not like sailing. They did not heed my warning. Dale saw them in his boat (the blue one named gOZling) when we unloaded the boats at the lake.

We arrived around 10 am, and the wind was blowing pretty good, about 20 knots. We reefed all the way down, and later in the day when the wind got up a little more, it wasn't enough. The biggest problem we had, was getting launched. We had not sailed from this location before, and did not realize that it is shallow for a long ways from the shore. It wouldn't have been so bad, but the wind was high, and trying to blow us back to shore. My plan was to video while we where sailing. But in these little boats, with the wind gusting, I had the tiller in one hand and the sheet in the other. If I get distracted for just a second, I can end up in the brink. Didn't really want to go swimming yesterday. However, I did turn it over once, but it was in only 3 feet of water. My hair didn't get wet, but everything else did.

The lizards first sail was a rough one, but they made it back to shore safe and sound. The little one pictured above, decided to come out on deck and sun for a bit before returning home. The trailer was backed into the drive and left until this morning. The little lizard was still there. The larger one, had obviously found a new and safer home.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


The plywood for the sole has been rough cut. I decided to have the sole on either side of the water tanks double as the bottom of the storage bin. When the front of the bins are attached, I will raise them so the sole can be removed for easy inspection.

I have cut the storage bin fronts, and cut the openings. The insulation has been cut to fit the sides between bulkhead #1 and #4. In order to protect the insulation from being messed up, I will cover it with 1/8 inch... something. This is the next step, to find that "something". I have cut a 5/8 inch dowel into 3/4 inch lengths. These will be glued with epoxy to the hull. Holes will be cut in the insulation in the proper places so it will slide over the dowel pieces. Then the 1/8 inch "something" will be screwed into the dowels. I believe this will give the inside a nice finished look.

This morning, my neighbor, three doors down, is having a garage sale. They moved in some time ago, and I have been feeling bad for not going down to meet them. I thought this was a good opportunity to go and meet her. When I introduced myself she said, " Oh, you're the one building the boat!" It seems, that is how I am known: the one building the boat.