Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Laying the keel

Construction has officially started. Keel is tacked together and is ready to be moved onto the keel blocks. The flatbar on the sides of the keel in the picture is to hold the side plates true while they are welded. They will be cut of after the keel welding is completed. Keel bottom is 1/2" plate and the sides are 3/8" plate... very stout. The site photo shows Jesus and Jose (I'll introduce them soon) leveling the keel blocks that the boat will be constructed on. This step is critical as the boat will weigh upwards of 65,000 lbs when completed, and the blocking must not only hold up under the weight, they must stay level and true as the boat is built so we don't end up with a crooked hull. This has been especially difficult as the surface we are working on is pretty lumpy and irregular- lots of shimming required. Took delivery of a big batch of steel flatbar, angle and pipe, as well as some pieces that Farwest Steel pre-formed for us (curves, split pipe for rub rails, etc). Some of this is visible in the foreground of the site photo. At this point we have almost the entire boat onsite in parts. We've also figured out (mostly) how it should all fit together. Some thanks are in order (I'm sure there will be many more- I'll try not to miss anyone)... Thanks to our friends at CH2MHill for getting a few of their railroad ties over to our side of the fence for building the keel blocks. Also thanks to Big Bill for supplying some of the heavy steel plate and I-beams that we are using for lay-up. Its amazing to me how much assistance we are getting from here, there, and everywhere in order to put this  project together. We are certainly grateful for all the support. More to come... -PB

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