Houston Hatch - Started 3 Hulls

Hi shorty,

We have finished our first hatch and I'm very happy with the progress we made. We started on three hulls and I expect you will issuing hull numbers for all three soon.

We got off to a slow start on Saturday. Everyone showed up on time or early, but we had lots of introductions to make as most of us had never met each other before. I had my PDR #759 there and Roy and crew (his two sons) brought #634. The two boats prompted lots of discussion about building techniques and materials. #634 is a very well found and stoutly built vessel.

In addition to myself and the three who brought lumber to build boats, we had two others show up just to help. Once we got started on Saturday we immediately ran into trouble with router bits and those problems would haunt us all weekend.

We had several "Diablo" router bits from Home Depot and as far as I'm concerned, Diablo router bits can all go to (their home). Let me explain. The "flush cut" bits that we used to cut the side panels and chine logs all have a bearing on the bottom. That bearing rides along the template, cutting the templates shape into what ever material we had laid on top of it. The problem with the Diablo router bits is that the bearing would disintegrate after 1 to 5 minutes of use. When the bearing fell off, the router bit would dig into the template damaging it and whatever we were cutting at the time. To Home Depot's credit, they honored the lifetime warranty but we had to make three trips to replace the router bits. By the second day we had bits which held together better, but Diablo has some serious quality control issues and I DO NOT recommend that ANYONE EVER buy Diablo router bits from Home Depot.

So the router bit issues ended up wasting several hours of valuable time on Saturday. We did get all of the side panels and most of the chine logs cut. We also cut down the 2"x10"x8' boards into 3/4" pieces. We got started gluing up the side panels for one of the hulls and that was about all we had time for Saturday.

Sunday was a cold and dreary day, but everyone showed up on time and we got right to work. We continued gluing the side panels for the first hull and while waiting for the glue to set we cut wood. We still had a lot of cutting left to do.

We would set the table saw for a piece we needed and cut that piece out for all three boats, then move on to the next. First we cut the side air box decks and the bow and stern transoms. Then after measuring the angles we ran some of the 0.75" x 1.5"x 8' pieces, which we had cut the previous day, through the table saw. With the blade at the appropriate angle we trimmed chine logs for the stern bottom, bow top and bow bottom so that they would already have the proper shape to mate with the bottom and deck when they were glued on. Finally, with a router bit which somehow, miraculously held together, we cut the final set of 4, bottom, side chine logs out of a 1" x 12" x 8' plank.

At the end of the day Sunday, everyone went home with all the wood cut to build a PDR. One of our builders, who drove in of Oklahoma to participate had his side panels complete. So while there is still a lot of work left to assemble these hulls, all the difficult cutting and things that need anything beyond hand tools, has been done. What is left is mostly just gluing.

I expect to see one or two of the hulls at our first "Race" on the second Saturday in February along with at least two other PDRs (mine and Roy's) and possibly a couple of others. I'll keep you posted!


P.S. my pictures came out very fuzzy. I will forward pictures from the other participants as soon as I have them.