Tuesday, May 31, 2002 - First Entry: Last Fall, while idly surfing the net, I ran across Sam Devlin's web site, spotted "Dipper", and instantly fell in love.
This boat has all of the qualities that I had been looking for since giving up trailerable sailboats and converting to trailerable powerboats.. Dipper's measurements are: L.O.A - 16'8"; D.W.L - 15'6"; BEAM - 7'2"; and a draft of 1'5". Even though Devlin BoatWorks is located in Washington State, this boat has the feel of the lobster boats that I am so used to seeing in Maine. After mulling it over for several weeks, I phoned Sam and ordered the plans. ( I also ordered his book and tape, which are well written and quite helpful.)
My next step was to finish an overhaul of my shop, which included converting my horizontal wood storage area to a vertical wood storage area. This change gave me enough extra space to build an additional workbench across the back of my shop, and to install several more sheets of pegboard. The ultimate effect was to get a lot of tools off the floor and into a proper storage area.
The next order of business was to go to my local lumber supplier, Cox Lumber, and pick up the plywood for the project. Sam Devlin specifies that marine grade plywood should be used throughout, but my plywood of choice for this project is Douglas Fir A/C. The reason for this selection is primarily cost - marine plywood costs several times that of exterior rated Douglas Fir. I'm retired and have the time to fill voids and knotholes, sand splinters, and believe this material suits my purposes well. For a really good explanation of plywood composition, quality, standards, characteristics, uses, etc., go to Wooden Boat Magazine, Issue 106, page 35, for an excellent article by David D. Platt.
Back to my visit to Cox's. ( No folks, I'm not getting paid for mentioning the names of suppliers.) Cox's resident lumber expert and salesman is Joseph Reese. He wouldn't admit how long he's been at Cox's, but it's a LONG time. On my first visit I wanted to make sure that I was getting Douglas Fir instead of pine and asked him how to tell the difference. He explained that he could tell by feeling the wood!!!! He put a piece of pine next to a piece of Douglas Fir and instructed me to run my hands over the wood! "It's all in the hands", he said. "Can you tell how the pine feels hard and rough, and the fir feels soft and smooth?" He was right. With very little practice I could tell the difference. He lined up several other pieces of wood and explained grain, hardness, uses, etc.
Cox's Lumber - wood of every description and dimension.
Mr. Joseph Reese - "It's all in the hands."