Construction project, Day 1

In spite of the existence of my cedar strip canoe, which still looks pretty good 25 years after I built it, I’m not good with my hands. But for some reason, I got it into my head that I really want to build a Pygmy Boats kayak kit.

I figured I’d start small – the kit recommends that you have a work table that is as long as the boat you’re going to build. So I’d build the work table, and if that went well, I’d order the kit. Well, an 18 foot long table isn’t going to be an easy thing to accomplish, but I figured I could build a 16 foot long one out of two sheets of OBS particle board. To make it easier to break down and move around, I’m not going to join the two sheets together, so really I’m making two 4×8 tables, rather than one 4×16 table. That way if I really need 18 feet, I could separate them by a couple of feet and lay another sheet of plywood or particle board in the middle.

Today, I sketched out a simple design and went to Home Depot to buy the lumber. Well, in typical fashion, I

  • Decided I needed a Black and Decker Work Mate as a work bench to use while I build my work benches
  • Couldn’t find a Work Mate, so had to build this cheap-ass Stanley thing that looks simlar, but comes with “some assembly required.
  • Discovered that the Stanley thing comes with instructions that read like they were translated from Chinese to Spanish to English, and which contained a major mistake that meant disassembling the whole thing and reassembling it correctly.
  • Discovered that when you use a socket set to tighten up the bolts in the cheap-ass Stanley thing, you can tighten far more than you can with the provided wrench because the extra leverage means that you’re actually crushing the tube that you’re bolting to. Oops.
  • Discovered that I still hate using a circular saw, especially our old ratty one with the numerous nicks and cuts in the power cord.
  • Discovered that I’d assumed the hex driver that came with the 4″ deck screws I bought for a previous job would fit the 3″ deck screws I bought for this job, incorrectly. I drove two of them with a socket wrench before I gave up.
  • Discovered that the guide mark on the circular saw has absolutely no bearing on where the actual cut is, so all my 3 foot pieces came out either 2’11 3/4″ or 2’11 1/4″ depending on whether they were the ones I’d marked from the tape measure or marked from the other pieces.
  • Discovered that I’d miscalculated and only bought half as many 2x4s as I needed, so I’ll have to pick up some more when I go back to buy the hex driver.

So it was a productive night, and one of many interesting discoveries.