OK, before you get all over me about being in the "real" world, just give me a minute to explain ;-)

I bought a set of plans for the Joli boat from Philip Thiel. Unfortunately, this is not the right "season" in my life to really start building a boat. So, should I just wait and dream, or should I make some kind of forward progress?

My intent here is to keep a journal of my progress. I'll be using Google Sketchup to build my virtual boat. I'm sure that along the way I'll run across problems that need solving, trouble keeping on task, and moments of inspiration.

I'll include pictures and video as I progress. Click on any picture if you'd like to see it larger.

Maybe I'm crazy, but follow along and see what you think

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Do I have Somewhere to Build a Boat?

Here I am with a small 50’ x 100’ lot in town. Our house is 950 sq ft. It doesn’t take much math to figure out that I don’t have much room left for building a boat.

I fired up Sketchup on the computer to see what I could do with the room I have. There are a couple of things you should understand about Sketchup. Here’s an excerpt from Google Sketchup for Dummies. Sketchup is a “surface” modeling tool. That means that everything is made up of thin (infinitely thin, actually) surfaces. These are called faces. Even things that look thick (like cinder-block walls) are actually hollow shells. Making models in Sketchup is a lot like building things out of paper – really, really thin paper.

Here’s a portion of our house built with Sketchup. I drew in the details to demonstrate the possibilities as well as challenge my skill level. I also created scenes to build an animation. I think this will be an easier way to communicate my ideas rather than using static images.

I have room in the back yard for building a shed. It has access from the parking lot behind our house as well as from the side street. The downside is that the driveways are pretty steep. It may be hard to get a boat in and out. Here’s what a shed would look like. I’ve also included additional “features” that would make this project more appealing to my wife, a very important consideration ;-)

Larger Video

Well, I fudged a little; I’ve already built the shed. I started with the portable sheds you can get from Costco. I used the angled roof trusses on top of 10’ 4x4 posts buried in concrete. I had enough pieces to build a shed that is 10’ x 24’. I helped a friend tear down his old shed and salvaged the roofing and siding for my shed. Right now our Vintage Oasis Camp Trailer is stored in there, so I’d need to find a new place for the trailer if I wanted to build a boat in the shed.


When we built our house, we added a carport out front. I think it would be fairly easy to enclose this carport with walls. Unfortunately the covered area is only 18’ long. Not enough to assemble a 23’ Joli boat. The carport does have a 6’ x 12’ storage area at the front so maybe I could tear out the doors and wall that separates this from the carport. The problem is that we’re using that area for a freezer and other storage. I don’t think we could give it up.

The carport is 12’ wide so I think that would work for a boat that is 8’ wide. Not a lot of extra room, but doable. I could increase the width by 2’ by building out to the outside end of the overhang. This would be a great place for tools and a workbench.

Here’s what that might look like.


Larger Video

 Ok, I fudged a little again; I’ve already started enclosing the carport. I still need to pour an additional 2’ of slab on the side so I can build the wall on the left side of the garage. That will be a project for this coming summer after the ground thaws.

I suspect that I will end up building the frame assembly table and frames in the garage and then move out to the boat/trailer shed to assemble the frames into a boat. Building frames would be a great winter project because I could insulate the garage and keep it warm. Assembling the frames into a boat would be a better summer project because the shed is fairly open.

Next step is to build my virtual assembly table in my virtual garage.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. You are getting crazy good at Sketchup! Looks like a great place to do the build.