It seems almost un-American to say but I really hate summertime. Not everywhere of course; summer time in my wife’s hometown in upstate New York is phenomenal. Warm in the daytime and pleasantly cool in the evening. No, the summer I hate is the wet, hot summer of the deep south. I think a lot of the reason why I hate the southern summer is I have spent my whole working life outside in the elements. My lovely bride who has a Master’s degree and a respectable job comes home with a jacket on, because the office is so cold. She bought a space heater for under her desk. She mows grass in the evening to “warm up”. I come home covered in sweat with no other goal than to become a hermit; shying from the sun and praying for September. That doesn’t mean I am idle, I just am inside. Last years summer project was the 30,000 mile service on my old BMW. I covered the pathfinder in plastic and dug in to the bike. That kept me busy the whole summer and in the AC!
This summer project was a little different. It was time to turn the old kitchen into the new kitchen.
New floors in the bathrooms, kitchen, dining room, and laundry. The cabinets were sanded and painted. A new range hood is on the way. I blame HGTV. I have been really busy lately but still able to sneak in some time on the pathfinder – here is a look at what has been accomplished during the “dog days”.
With the hull painted I had some time to take stock of the project as a whole. After all of this work it’s hard to believe that the build list is down to just a few items.
- Mast and spars
- Splash guard on deck
- Finish the centerboard and rudder
- Fit the motor
- Paint the top and inside.
That’s the big list. Six items and I am off and sailing. There are a lot of little things that are going to take up some time but those six items are the broad strokes. Item one has been a big concern for me for a while. You see Mr. Welsford calls out for aluminum masts and booms. I am comfortable working with aluminum but I really wanted that traditional look for the pathfinder. More than anything else I was worried about my ability to build a proper birds mouth hollow spar mast. With summer here and my free time limited it was time for some R/D.
There is a ton of data out on the web as to the construction of a birds mouth spar so I will not go into it here. Check out Duckworks Magazine, there site is a good springboard for all things boaty. I had some junk pine 2×4’s laying around so I decided to practice.
It turns out that hollow spar construction isn’t all that difficult. My first 8′ blank came out mostly round and super straight, I was really happy. After the glue had properly cured it was time to go into destructive testing mode. I abused the cheap pine in every why I could imagine and it turned out much stronger then I had imagined. If a mast made out of cheap knotty pine is this strong one made out of clear douglas fir should be bullet proof. This gave me the confidence to go ahead with a full sized hollow spar. Now I just have to find the wood…