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13 February 2014

The Dark Side of DIY

Harboring a Drudge

I gave ya one,I gave ya two
The best that rotten ol' boat would do
Ya won't be happy til I've given' ya three
But I'll be damned if you'll get me!
From The Ways of Man by Gordon Bok


The Dark Side of DIY

I once took a battery of aptitude tests for a range of 'skills'. I confident and capable with all of these (pretty rudimentary). And being good at multiple-guess, I was breezing my way through. 

But then I came up against this one section...

Oh, I was competent, but that was the problem. So I have to admit that I cheated.

Here's the deal. I had little control over where I would eventually be assigned; I would be stuck where a) I showed 'competence' and b) they needed me.  If I scored equally well across the board, it stood to reason, that I could end up in any field in which they had a short-fall.

Here's what the aptitude test looked like:

OOCOOCOOOCOOOOOCOOOCOOOOCOCOOOOOOOCOOOCOOOOOCOCOOOOCOOOOCOO

A whole page of this! In each line, they wanted to know how many C's - a) 12, b)13, c)14 or d)15? Please mark clearly with a number 2 pencil.

My sight purpled with a vision of spending years of my life in a windowless cubicle, doing whatever task for which that aptitude would recommend me. 

The thing is, I'm good at this sort of masochistic detail, but I loathe it!

So I fudged every third-ish answer by one, one way or the other, praying that I was being random enough to evade detection. The final scores showed a satisfying dip at that aptitude... clearly, detail was by far my worst feature.

Now what, you might ask, has this got to do with boat-building?

Well... we're going to be building remote. We'll have a shot at one - maybe two - deliveries in the course of the project. Every sheet, piece of wood, stick, foamboard, nail, glop of glue, smear of paint - not to mention tools, gloves, brushes, trowels, spreaders - not to mention shed materials, generator, fuel - not to mention our daily bread (by which we do not live alone) - all this and more, more, more needs to be counted, recounted, shopped for (on-line), ordered and transportation arranged.

Design is fun. Building is fun. Sailing is outrageously fun.

But did I mention that I loathe counting it all up???

10 comments:

  1. Counting up the cost is the meat of a design. A good designer can do for one dollar what any damn fool can do for two. It is all part of figuring the tradeoffs.

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    1. Unfortunately, the early prognosis is putting THIS designer in fool country. Even on our moderately low road, the $$$ are mounting fast! But more on this to come.

      Dave Z

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  2. Well Dave, you have now!! Mentioned it now! My tactics on that score: I want to build that boat. So the costs come second to that. So I have gone overboard in counting it all up. I Know its going to cost. Exactly how much??? Ummm...that much?!? I know if I had gone to the trouble of counting it all up, I probably would have given up on the whole project. I think it is pointless adding it all up in advance. Because I haven't got all the money at once. So I have to buy when I have some money and the need for the materials. What I need in a years time will likely cost more. How much more? No ideas! Of course, when I come to need, say 25 sheets of 9mm ply, I start looking for the best price I can get at the time. Bottom line is, I just want that boat built, and I am going to build it. My knowing well in advance is not going to help me in any way!
    Would that be called the Ostrich Method of Boat Building?? :-)

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    1. Hi Joel,

      I doubt you could be called an Ostrich (at least regarding their head-in-the-sand reputation).

      Determining to go after one's dream is the one, crucial step toward achieving it. All the rest is detail. Taking it one, manageable step at a time gets you there, often more surely than the 'great leap forward' approach.

      And you've built boats before, proving the approach works!

      Dave Z

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  3. Should have said : I have Not gone overboard!

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  4. Too many DIY projects suffer from Creeping Featurism (TM). Too many professional projects suffer as well. That's where figuring the cost in dollars, time, location, and body strain (at least for this 67-year body) has a great deal of impact in the design of a project.

    The exact cost at the beginning of a project, especially for a one-off? Probably not. But, you should be able to have a good estimate, with cushion for the dollars, time, etc. This can prevent future heartache, back break, bankruptcy and divorce.

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    1. How true! The two features jacking up our complexity/price are insulation and copper plate. Looks as though they're going to come out to about 2/3rds of the total cost.

      This is the second boat we've planned to build 'remote'. It does (eventually) give a pretty exact figure, since all has to be ordered ahead of time.

      SLACKTIDE (built in Sitka with all the usual suppliers) was a much more ball-parky operation, with which I'm a lot more comfortable. The downside was, that incremental costs and townside expenditures made it more expensive than it should have been.

      And yes, a well planned budget goes a long way toward peace of mind, heart and home!

      Dave Z

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    2. Cost now this is where the rubber meets the road- Here is the scenario-A 20x6 Trilo style boat(right off the bat I know this does not fir the formula but 16 x 4 is too small and and 8 ft beam is too wide -The hull is ply(3/8)-foam (3/4)-ply (3/8 or 1/4) covered with epoxy and fiber glass (1 or 2 layer of 6 oz cloth)-No such thing as marine or AB ply around here so would have to go with 4 ply BC sanded (Lowes $25 )-A local supplier has 3/4 4 x 8 foilback insulation for $5 - would that work for the foam??- The sailing environment would be large freshwater resevours, use as a camper while on the trailer and possibly the eastern gulfcoast-sail rig would be main and mizzen balanced lug-I crewed on the HMS Endeavour in 99 and have even toyed with the idea of a square rig for fun not that it would be practical-this is just an old mans dream-any comments appreciated

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    3. Hi Lynn,

      >>> Here is the scenario-A 20x6 Trilo style boat(right off the bat I know this does not fir the formula but 16 x 4 is too small and and 8 ft beam is too wide

      No problem... rules are made to be broken. The easy but expensive way is to lop 2ft off cross laid sheets.

      Trickier, but more efficient is to long lay 4ft + 2ft, first layer, then 2ft +4ft, second layer. Making sure, of course, that no seams line up.

      If you could find 12ft sheets, you could cut 'em in half for full efficiency, though it might be expensive.

      >>> The hull is ply(3/8)-foam (3/4)-ply (3/8 or 1/4) covered with epoxy and fiber glass (1 or 2 layer of 6 oz cloth).

      Personally, on such a small boat, I might go 1/4 - foam - 1/4, ply-wise. That's a 1/2in total, plus extra strength for SIP construction. Do consider doubling plates to above the water line, to enhance puncture resistance... if they overlap the bottom planking, they improve the join along the chine and protect bottom end-grain.

      >>> No such thing as marine or AB ply around here so would have to go with 4 ply BC sanded (Lowes $25 )

      Usually 4 and 5 ply is for 1/2in and up... 1/4 and 3/8 ply usually runs 3 ply, unless marine. Any shot at 5-ply ACX? The four ply isn't as strong, cross sheet. Still, I doubt it's a serious drawback... you should be well within the margin of safety.

      >>> A local supplier has 3/4 4 x 8 foilback insulation for $5 - would that work for the foam??

      I'm sure it would work, as insulation (assuming it's close cell foam... I wouldn't recommend open cell foams). The caution might be that the foil could trap moisture between it and the ply, promoting rot. But any close-cell foam could, in theory, do the same. If you go with it, consider excluding any moisture with continuous glue film (not just Z'd on).

      >>> The sailing environment would be large freshwater resevours, use as a camper while on the trailer and possibly the eastern gulfcoast-sail rig would be main and mizzen balanced lug-I crewed on the HMS Endeavour in 99 and have even toyed with the idea of a square rig for fun not that it would be practical-this is just an old mans dream

      I'm a fan of junk rig (a form of lug sail), especially for us oldsters. But folks I respect feel that balanced lug is easy to handle. Certainly powerful! And square rig looks like a whole load of fun!

      Good luck with your project!

      Dave Z

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    4. Thanks for the feedback-It's great to be able to communicate with people who understand where your coming from (you and Mark both)-Thanks again-Stay safe!

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About Me

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Anke and I live aboard SLACKTIDE, our T26x7 ketch. We sail by wind, tide and muscle in the waters of mid- to northern Southeast Alaska. We try to maximize the joys of life, and minimize the chores. ........ We live between the communities of SE Alaska, but drop in to visit with friends. Lately, we've worked, every other winter, care-taking Baranof Wilderness Lodge in Warmsprings Bay. This has given us a window on Web. ........ We're working toward a subsistence lifestyle, somewhat impeded by addictions to coffee, chocolate and cheese. ........ We think TEOTWAWKI is looming, and while we won't be ready, we'd at least like comfortable seats.