Category Archives: Travel

Family Boat Build & WoodenBoat Show 2011

Well, we did it!   My family and I attended the 20th Annual Wooden Boat show in Mystic, CT and built our own boat over a 2.5 day period….My wife, 11 year old son and 7 year old daughter combined efforts with Dave Gentry, our excellent instructor, to build the Mystic Molly.   Named after one of our dogs and built using one of Dave’s designs (the Chuckanut 15) we progressed from pile of wood to framed and skinned boat in a long weekend.   All she needs now is paint and her rub-rails and cockpit-coamings to be ready to hit the water.

The trip was a great family bonding experience and we had a great time.  Weather cooperated and it was warm but not uncomfortable in the large outdoor tent where we built our boat along with 26 other families and about 5 other boat designers.   Five families joined us in building version’s of Dave Gentry’s Chuckanut.   The Chuckanut was the only skin-on-frame boat (the others were mostly lap-stitch construction) that was offered for family boat-build, and that was why we selected it.  I was very interested in learning this method of construction.

First, some background on the family boat-build concept from the WoodenBoat Show website:

WoodenBoat magazine started Family BoatBuilding in 1998 as a way to bring new people to boatbuilding, and to boating.  The concept is simple:  To provide a kit that can be built in two-and-a-half days and provide expert building instruction.  The goal is to launch all the boats into the water midway through the third day of the show.  And then they put their boats on their cartops or trailers and take them home.

Cool concept, and growing every year, I’m told.  We will likely do it again next year, we had so much fun…do it with your family! Its fun and the WoodenBoat Show itself as well as the Mystic Seaport Museum are both very much worth the trip.

Now, about our boat.  Below is a summary from Dave’s website:

The Chuckanut 15

Designed by Gentry Custom Boats
LOA 15′; Beam 2′7-1/2″; Weight 35-40 pounds
The Chuckanut 15 is an ideal family boat optimized for comfortable and relaxed use by paddlers of all abilities. The Chuckanut can be carried with one hand, cartopped easily, and launched and paddled on a whim—with no special skills or equipment necessary!

She’s a tandem, recreational style skin-on-frame kayak that can be paddled solo, or as a double, and has a fast, stable hull design which tracks well, but still turns easily. She has a large open cockpit, with stowage and floatation in the ends.

The Chuckanut is designed for messing about on ponds, lakes and bays, and is great as a day paddler, or protected water expedition boat.

For more information and to order your kit, please email Dave,

She is built with cedar stringers and marine plywood frames and covered with 8 oz polyester fabric that it stapled to the frames and then shrunk tight with an iron and heat gun.  The polyester is the painted with a oil-based paint to make it water tight. Below are some photos from our build:

Here is Dave Gentry’s blog entry on the family boat build:

I will post photos again as soon as the Mystic Molly is painted and in the water.

Back from the beach and CNC-machine nears completion

We returned from an excellent vacation week in the Outer Banks on Sunday.  Great weather, great time. Being away from the shop for a week was killing me though, so Monday I spent quite a bit of time in the shop (with my great wife keeping our kids busy).

I virtually completed the physical construction of the CNC-Lathe attachment.  I mounted the 2nd stepper motor and built the cutter-head assembly out of UHMW plastic.   The cutter itself is made from 1/2″-square steel stock.  It will have a small screw-on carbide cutter insert shortly.

I also modified John K’s design slightly for the 2nd stepper-motor mount.  The UHMW plastic that I have been using was flexing too much for my liking, so I built a UHMW box around the original motor-mount to provide more lateral strength.  Probably unnecessary, but I tend to overbuild things!

The only work left to do on the physical construction of the machine is to make the chip-guard for the carriage and add the carbide insert.  Both simple tasks.

Next steps are to wire the stepper-motors to the controller board, and the board to a power-supply and an old PC….then get the software working.  I am going to use an old PC that has been in storage in the basement for a few years as the navigation system for the CNC machine.  Therefore, the first task will be to bring the old junker PC back to life…I hope to work on that in the next couple of days.  After that,  we should be ready for power-on and see if this thing will cut wood!