Its been 12 weeks since we took delivery of the timber and began lofting (marking out) the frames and stem pieces. Although we took great care, and Deb double checked measurements, its not until assembly you can be certain no mistakes have been made. So I was a little nervous when we started assembling the starboard hull this week.
We started by fixing the frame bearers onto the strong-back beams. Each one positioned lengthways according to the table of offsets, and set at 90 degrees to the centre string line, using a set square. Then we used the laser level, to mark the horizontal levels on each bearer, to allow for strong back variations. We then offered each frame to its bearer, centre-lines aligned to the string line, and used packing shims to set them horizontally. (The packing shims are actually business card size laminate colour samples. Perfect for the job as they are only .5mm thick. A trick I learnt from Rusell when he has to install kitchens on uneven floors.) Finally we used the laser again to check verticals, and screwed them down.
The laser has been an absolute god-send that was gifted to us by friends when we left Alice. I would recommend it to anyone considering doing a similar project. If building on a nice flat surface, a standard level would probably be OK. But if like us, on an uneven surface, then I would consider it essential equipment.
It has been exciting to see the various bits beginning to look like a boat, and we can start to visualise the spaces; sleeping cabins, main saloon, cockpit and heads (bathrooms). Before we went home today, I used the late afternoon light to fire up the laser to check the accuracy of our efforts and was pleasantly surprised and relieved that all aligned to within a millimetre or so tolerance. Very happy about that!