This is a loosely assembled bunch of e-mails from Bruce
Hector about his latest obsession. Please forgive me for
not getting it posted before now. TIMS (The Infinite Modular
Sharpie) is an idea that has been around for a couple of
years: Basically the idea is someone builds a bow and stern
unit, then at a messabout, a number of people bring "middle"
sections, and the whole thing is strung into a single boat.
Hi Guys, I'm just taking a little
break from building the TIMS now. I'm about half way through slamming
a centre section together. Started 3 hours ago. Ran out of 2 by
2s, for chine logs, gunwales, frame edging, etc. So I'm off to
home depot for more.
Yes, Peter, three sheets of 1/2"
ply builds her bottom, sides, ends, and leaves enough for a centre
bulkhead or two and a thwart top of about 11" width. Will
this sucker row, or what?
If you want to slap one together,
just make her ends 4' beam, by 2' height. Cut out a 16" wide
by 12" deep door on the centre line of the ends (transom
and bow) Make the door hinge inward, or leave it off, if you dare.
Put a good strong gusset in every corner and a 4" cleat for
the lash up. I'm adding a 2 by 4 keel, and probably a 2 by 4 rubrail
12" off the bottom. On trials, I'll see if a cleat is needed
at the ends of the rubrails for a lower lash point.
Finnish the interior any
way you wish. Ditto the sides, and top too, if you want, as long
as you can leave a flat gusset with a strong cleat at all 4 corners
with knuckle clearance for lashing.
TIMS, The Infinite Modular Sharpie,
is rapidly taking shape.
I uploaded some building shots
to my boat swap groups photo files and changed the membership
rules to make it open to anyone, just click on the link below,
they're in the folder titled TIMS. That way I wouldn't be duplicating
the shots all over and taking up valuable storage room at the
dozen or so boating groups I belong too.
The idea is to join an indefinite
number of these modules together by lashing, as in a Mississippi
River towboat, and see if the whole smozzle will work. Anyone
coming is invited to build a section and bring it to the Messabout,
we'll see if we can break a record for the longest boat assembled
in one day, or at least an hour or so!
I'll be building the push boat
and a sharpie like bow unit next. Official test "push"
will be at the Kingston Messabout in September, 2003. I guarantee
there'll be some un-official testing first. This is a proof of
concept for a larger modular craft, with an 8 foot beam, that
would be a better replica of a towboat and be a changeable size
Details of the Messabout
are at myboating site below.
The Infinite Modular Sharpie, TIMS
was launched yesterday at 3 pm EST
in the Great Cataraqui River, Kingston Ontario. I christened her
"Use No Hooks" due to her strong resemblance to a packing
crate. A certain, no nonsence work boat look, to say nothing of
the fine unsanded "Work Boat Finish" that I'm so fond
of, yet looks strangely appropriate on "Use No Hooks"
Cheap yes!, but it floats, doesn't
leak, and was actually controllable under oar power (but no fun
to row). I'm pretty sure that the cast bronze oar sockets double
The hull of the towboat, at 11'
6" is well underway, and I'm aiming for a launch tomorrow,
Canada Day! A fitting time to launch the world's first TIMS Towboat!
Gotta' scare up a Canadian flag somewhere.
TIMS will be assembled with all
the TIMS barge units at the Amateur Boat Messabout in Kingston
on September 6, 2003. Details of the Messabout are at: http;//www.brucesboats.com
Hope to see you and your 8 foot
TIMS unit there! Someone has to see if Guiness has a record for
the longest boat assembled in a single day we can go for!
Washing, picking, sanding at my fingers trying to get yesterday's
dried, danged PL Premium off. If it sticks to wood half as good
does to skin the TIMS Towboat will last forever!
The TIMS stern power unit is almost
ready for her July 1, Canada Day launch. Still to do in the morning
are: attach gussets and cleats, attach roof, find a motor, attach
motor board to transom, paint her red and white (what other colour
scheme would be appropriate for a Canada Day launch, and get the
cap off the truck to I can load the sucker. She does have 6' 1"
headroom, so she won't fit in the Chev without taking the cap
The entire house lifts off, like
a truck cap, when not wanted. It will attach with 4 C-clamps when
needed. Well maybe six. The house is framed with 1 by 2s and skinned
with 1/8" mahogany door skins to keep the superstructure
light. The roof will be 1/8"o, so don't even THINK of walking
My darling Elaine, who also brought
me a hot supper at 7 pm EST, came and rescued me from manic boatbuilding
at midnight. Now I'm showered and shaved, covered in cured PL
Premium, that just will NOT come off.
The bow unit is coming along nicely,
a bit of a hybrid (but then, so is the whole concept) she's glued
and screwed on 2 by 2 chine logs for the first 4 feet looking
forward from the transom, morphing to tack and tape epoxy at the
stemless bow. I couldn't get 2 by 2s to take the curve to be chine
logs past the second bulkhead from the transom, so the forward
8 feet will all be epoxy and taped seams.
She'll be stemless. I screwed the
bow together with 3 inch screws to get the fasteners back from
the stem. Then I laid in three layers of FG cloth wetted out with
epoxy and a great big fillet of epoxy thickened with wood flour
on the inside of the "stem" (I gotta' buy shares in
West Sys. if I'm gonna' keep doing these stunts) which I pray
will hold when I pull the screws tomorrow morning.
The bottom line: A TIMS Mini
Towboat WILL be launched tomorrow, probably without a mill, as
my friend whose hobby is restoring old motors is away for the
holiday. But if the persistant clinging to my hands of PL is any
indicator, the sucker will never leak!
Who doesn't love a tugboat? Or
by extension a Mississippi Towboat? Or any purposeful, dirty,
Well, "Timmy The Tiniest Towboat" certainly fits all
three categories. And she's a ton of fun.
With Timmy pushing, and a sharpie bow unit lashed to the front
to cleave the waves, and an indeterminate number of 4' by 8' TIMS
units lashed in between, we are going to set the first ever world's
record for the "Longest Wooden Boat Assembled and Launched
in a Single Day" at the Kingston
Amateur Boat Messabout on the weekend of September 5, 6 and 7,
Of course we'll have a great time
doing it to.
Timmy, the sharpie bow unit and a single 8 foot barge unit were
all slapped together on the July 1st, Canada Day long weekend.
The barge took less than 3 hours, and went together from 3 sheets
of bargain basement Home Depot plywood, 3 eight foot 2 by 4s (keel
and rub rails), 5 eight foot 2 by 2s (out wales, chine logs and
bow and transom framing), screws and cheap bathroom caulk to keep
it watertight. This construction was chosen to allow for disassembly
later, for a more noble use of the wood, if desired. And so I
could work fast, not waiting for any glues or epoxy to dry. Since
all the barge units could be built in similar time, we'll qualify
for the one day rule. She would float and run without the towboat
or the bow fairing, but what the heck, it's kinda' cute.
Timmy, the towboat is all squared sides and ends, except I rockered
up the bottom 3 inches at the transom to make her run easier,
it wasn't my intention to make her a planing boat, just to be
easily driven by small engines. I added a towboat profile 7 foot
cabin because I thought it looked neat. That's big enough for
two settees that make into a double berth with a port-ta-pottie
under one end. Not bad on an 11 foot boat with only 4 foot of
bow unit is also 11 feet (or 10 foot six), and has increased freeboard
forward for that tramp steamer look. She has 6 cubic feet of flotation
chambers built into her bow and two seats at the transom. Under
her centre thwart is a storage space that just magically happens
to hold an old steel cooler we had kicking around the shop.
Well, I first launched the barge unit, which due to a strong family
resemblance to a shipping crate I named "Used No Hooks".
She was powered solely by a pair of seven foot oars, and surprisingly,
she wasn't helpless with them. She rowed about as well as a typical
fiberglass or aluminum fishing boat. That is she stopped between
strokes, having very little glide between them.
old Evinrude 9.9 on the stern Timmy and the bow unit performed
FAR better than I had hoped. Lashed together at the two mating
cleats with 3/8" dock lines, frapped to tighten, there was
very little movement. It was quite possible to walk from stern
to bow with little concern, and steering from a standing position
felt very stable.
I didn't have a GPS, so the speeds are only my guesstimate, but
at half throttle she seemed faster than my houseboat at full speed,
which is 5 and 1/2 knots. So I'd say she'd cruise all day at about
7 knots. At full throttle, you can see she's planing, 80% of the
bow unit is out of the water, and I guess her speed at 12-15 knots.
Seemed pretty fast to a houseboater like me!
sponsors of more TIMS units include, Duckworks Magazine (the reading
room), The United Nation's World Food Program (galley unit of
course) and the Kingston Red Cross (first aid/sleeper unit), plus
Ben's Pub (the bar unit!). Several Messabouters have confirmed
and several more are maybes, so we have every reason to believe
TIMS will cruise the Rideau Canal at a length of over 60 feet,
and may even get to 100.
Hope you can all make the Messabout and have a ride in The Infinite