Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Working on the beams....

I've actually been working on the beam now for almost a year.
Current status is mapping out the exact locations of the aluminum backing plates and transferring that to a template for later use as I do not want to miss those when drilling later on.

However, Henny mentioned using a glued tube instead of stainless steel saddles.
If I can figure that out, I'd much rather go with that solution.

I'll update the BEAMS section with all the updates as soon as possible.
In the meantime, check out my "chopsticks" for transferring backing plate locations to the template.


Time Moves On.....

(2/15/2023 - Thank You Arno for prodding me to update this Blog)


Hello Internet,

It's been almost five years since my last post....

Sadly, a divorce situation came along and derailed a lot of progress setting me back quite a bit.


When the dust finally settled, I was forced to sell the house we had purchased and move into a shared apartment with two of my daughters. There was nowhere to store the float I had built, so it was cut into pieces and most of it was thrown away. The rest of my tools were cleaned, packed away and moved into storage along with a dozen sheets of foam, the beam molds, float patterns, a few bolts of fabric, the vacuum pump and some assorted beam parts.

Locking the door to that storage shed and walking away felt like "The End" all over again.... 

What would I do? What was the next step...?

I spent the next year working through different decisions trying to figure out if there was any possible way to restart the build. During this time I started taking dance lessons, making new friends, traveling here and there and just continued working on myself and trying to become a better person.

Eventually, enough time passed that I felt like it was time to move on.

I needed to make some choices, refocus on my life and start moving things in the right direction.

I figured the best thing to do would be to buy some land, build a shop, pick up a small camper and live out of that while building the boat. I later decided to build a tiny apartment (250sqft) instead of a camper since the resale value would be much better in the future. I spent the next 18 months looking for and visiting various properties north of Dallas, TX.

I didn't think I was asking for much...

I wanted less than five acres in a good area, easy access to Hwy 75, city water, no HOA, the ability to build a shop WITHOUT having to build a house, good neighbors, a great view, High Speed Internet, the option to build a house later on and a small pond would be SUPER nice.

Well, apparently that's A LOT to ask for!!!

I had just about changed my search options to townhouses and go a different direction in life when a "coming soon" listing popped up in my email. I took a look at the location via Google Maps (there wasn't even an address yet) and drove out to see it. 

It was PERFECT!!

I called my Realtor and submitted an offer the next morning.

We settled on a price and closed within 30 days.


The next two years involved getting an address, building a shop (I contracted the slab and steel shell), running all the utilities, installing a septic system (big enough for a 4-bdrm/3-bath house PLUS the shop), insulating the shop, building out a small apartment, installing two HVAC systems, cutting in a driveway and building a small patio.

All while dealing with a pandemic and all the chaos that brought along with it!

I moved into the apartment in August of 2021 (it was about 60% complete at the time).

Since then, I've been busy finishing things up here and there, holding down two jobs and getting my financial life back in order.

I plan on starting with the beams since I have most of the materials and parts already made for them except for a bolt of 17oz double-bias (45/45) fiberglass and maybe 15 gallons of epoxy. The plan is to have all four beams completed by EOY, which "should" allow time needed for trips and other projects planned around here.

Stay tuned - more information coming...

Here is a link to almost 400 photos of the shop build.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Status Update

The Honey-Do List just keeps going!
I bit off quite a lot with this new house.
While I'm having a great time knocking out projects, I've done very little with the boat building project.
To date, we:
- Removed three layers of wallpaper in the kitchen. Refloated the walls followed by 3 coats of paint
- Painted all the rooms of the house excluding the bathrooms and hallway.
- Tore down unused fencing and animal shelters.
- Hauled off eleven loads of junk (everything from unwanted decorations to rotting wood and unused fencing)
- Picked up the float hull sections from my Dad's house in Louisiana
- Visited family in Illinois over Thanksgiving
- Picked up a small tractor to take care of work around the house (Dug up a few stumps and loaded a few trailers)
- Trimmed the Hedges and cleaned out the flower beds
- Gutted a small shed in order to rebuild it for my wife
- Burned some leaves and ended up (very likely) killing two trees in the process.
        (I'm really sick about that one... the leaves went up like a Tinderbox and I wasn't prepared)
All while holding down a Full-Time job and taking care of all the other things a Husband and Father is expected to do.

I'm not complaining though.
It's been an absolute blast!!
We couldn't be happier since moving to Texas.
The weather, the food, the "things to do" is just amazing!!
The people we've met have been kind and friendly.
My neighbor Steve is THE BEST!
He's a Vietnam Vet (Door Gunner) and old-school Hot Rod builder with 35+ years of bodywork experience.
Some of his cars have been on "Gas Monkey Garage" while others have been in magazines.
He's a wealth of information and a wonderful person to hang out with.
As for the boat, I have all three hull pieces in the shop.
I'll be rebuilding the strong back as soon as the shop gets extended a bit to accomodate the length needed.
That work is planned for Spring 2018.
Once the building is lengthened, I'll need to work on cleanup and insulation before installing an HVAC system.
The shop has is on it's own 200Amp meter, so no problems to be had with electrical demands.
Boat work will have to compete with Home Projects though...
To date, we plan to:
- Rebuild the "She-Shed" for my wife to have a place of her own.
- Paint the Kitchen Cabinets
        (This required the purchase of an HVLP Turbine paint system which will come in handy later on when painting the boat...  :D)
- Remodel both bathrooms. One of which will be extensive.
- Move the Laudry room into the converted garage:
        - Relocate the plumbing
        - Relocate the Main Power Panel
        - Remove the drywall
        - Install windows
        - New Flooring
        - Remove some walls while building others
The BIG job though will be the upstairs...
Currently, the house "looks" like a two-story house, but is actually a one-level "Ranch" style home.
The attic is completely empty and will make for a perfect place to build out another bedroom (or two), a game room, bathroom and kitchenette.
Since Texas Summers are rumored to be VERY HOT, the work will be have to be done in "phases".
Starting with marking, measuring and planning.
Followed by a temporary staircase cut into the attic, temporary flooring, roof insulation, plumbing, floor strengthening, HVAC ducting, knee-wall layout and electrical circuits.
I plan to remove the one MAIN HVAC and replace it with three smaller units.
Two for the first story
One for the upstairs
This is just what I can think of at the moment...
It's enough to keep me busy for the next three years.

Some pics to recap some highlights...


Stripping wallpaper

Stripping Wallpaper

Three Layers!

It was nice to have my parents over to help!

Cutting in the Bedroom

Unfortunately, the shop still pretty much looks like this... a shambles

One of many loads to the dump. I probably shouldn't admit how much I love this!


On the way back home with the floats.

Taking a break!

I told my wife this just "showed up" one day.
She didn't believe me...

Digging and Pulling stumps

The  3 Point-Hitch Top Link mounting bracket was broken.
Steve and I fabricated a saddle to fix it.

A short trip to Illinois to visit family over Thanksgiving

And back home to Texas to clean out the flowerbeds.
Texas Brown Tarantula

Digging another stump in the front yard.
The rock you see there is called "Caliche".
A natural cement formed  via leaching and evaporation

I love the dirt here. Not much clay content so it spreads so easily (after you rake over and pick out the rocks)

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Ten More Days

It's been a while since my last post, but believe me when I say it's been quite the ride!

We sold our home in Illinois within 40 days and then purchased a replacement home before it even hit the market because we decided to turn around in Missouri and drive six hours back to Texas to see it before the masses found out about it the next day. There weren't even pictures up yet, but we were able to see pictures on Google Earth and decided it was worth a shot. After arriving, we met the owners and got a chance to talk to them before the Realtor showed up, so that was a nice change. The housing market here in North Dallas is absolutely CRAZY! It's a miracle we were able to find something close to what we wanted.

We moved here into temporary housing on August 16 and were treated to an eclipse on my first day of work and a Hurricane just a few days later. We'll be taking possession of our new home on September 12 and expect to be completely busy for at least a couple of weeks until we get things situated.

The sellers have been awesome to work with and turned into some good friends.
We really do hate to see them leave the state.

The house sits on 1.7 Acres and has a 30x40 shop.
Which means I'll absolutely need to get a tractor... (right?!)


The shop height is a little lower than optimal, but it's well constructed and has a separate electric meter and 200-Amp service. It'll need to be lengthened a bit when I get time to mess with it, plus I'll need to figure out the best way to insulate it and then install an HVAC system.

In the meantime, here are a few pictures of things:
Our New Home

Large Front Yard with the shop on the side

Packing up the last one third section of the starboard float.
It just cleared the trailer so I had to make sure I didn't take any sharp right hand turns
We used a large piece of plastic to completely wrap the float up in case it rained.
Which turned out to be a really good choice since it absolutely POURED down on us for almost two hours as we entered Missouri.

I also had a heavy truckers tarp that I used to cover the float.

All wrapped up and ready to travel

I'll have to rebuild a new laminating table since this one was part of the deal to the buyer

Just arriving at the house. The seller let me store the float section and trailer at the shop

The front section of the shop already has a roof, so it won't be a really big deal to extend the length of the shop.

First morning in Texas :)

#America's Team!!  :)