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I do so admire the skills of my fellow builders, and enjoy sharing their successes. But what about their failures? Is it only me who makes stupid mistakes? I once spent time craftng a perfect scarf joint on a stringer only to cut it off to length on the wrong side of the bulkhead, leaving it too short! Or there was the time I tried to start the jammed blade of a circular saw by flicking it with my thumb. It took weeks for the wounds to heal.
Matters came to a head yesterday which really question my competence. While moving the backbone of my Tiki 38, I heard a loud crack from around the notch for bulkhead 6. The idiot that I am has nearly broken my boat in two! I plan to pour epoxy into the crack, brace it somehow, and hope for the best.
So come on everyone, 'fess up and make me feel better about myself. What is the most stupid thing you have done while building your boat?

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Building an entire mast from dodgy unseasoned timber,then saying ''she'll be right'' for two days as the full horror set in of having to start again.Timber getting wet and then swelling and bursting the glass that supposedly sealed it.As chuck says it is how ya hide it that counts.

The difference between an amateur and a professional is quite simple: 

Professionals make fewer mistakes and we know how to cover them up better!

For years, I wished for a Wood-Welder and then epoxy came along. I glued up a cored bulkhead for the 30' fishing boat I was building and layed it on the concrete floor to dry . . .  I had to lift up on one side of the 10' wide bulkhead to break it lose from the floor; I PULLED OUT CHUNKS OF CONCRETE ! ! !

Butt the two pieces of keel together; epoxy it and then put a fiberglass and epoxy butt block on either side.  DONE!  You is now a professional "Wood Welder!"

Cheers, Douglas

You're so smart you go out

and build yourself a new dugout

Use that new computer aided design

 To make Ackermann rudders so fine

You work late at night

 Everything seems alright

 The computer is such a tool

You are no boatbuilding fool

The tillers are matched and laid out

 On one sheet of doubled plywood

You have a problem when you cut out

 There's glass and the saw burns out

A new blade for the saw miller

Cutting out these huge tillers

 Well maybe another blade after that one

 But it's worth it to get the job done.

When you've cut them and proudly show 'em

 They are identical, just like you planned them

 Perfectly identical, so what's the problem

Right and Right, we have to remake them

We had to hack them to make the Rightie a Leftie

 It had to be upside down and 2 inches shorter

 One end was uppie and the other was downie

 I should have been a whole lot smarter


We all make mistakes Adrian but its probably best for us minions if you don't make too many in your day job.

Never been guilty of trying to flick start a jammed saw with my thumb but a guy we had helping us on our farm for a time managed to neatly split the middle finger of his left hand down to the second joint while cutting up demolition timber for firewood on a pedal saw. II nearly passed out when he came and showed me what he had done but he never turned a hair.


     Well, I guess Nev and I are not the only ones who built two right tillers.  But at least we were able to get one unglued before it all went off solid and turn it into a leftie just in time!  But he also cut his thumb on the circular saw while building something a couple of years ago.  It refused to heal until we put honey on and wrapped that sticky and swollen thumb with dressings and a whole ace bandage to keep Nev from working with sharp tools until it healed.  NEVER WORK WITH SHARP TOOLS WHEN YOU ARE TIRED.  Never cut wood when tired too. 

     Love,  Ann and Nev

I had the curse of the bulkhead 6. I cut three of them for the first hull. 

But my biggest mistake was in placing the upper hull , on page 8 of the tiki 30's building plan  in item 8,talks about the trial fit.: ... you hold the bulkheads with wire and put "some" screws.
When in fact the truth is just putting one screw so that all sides can make the motion of pendulum in order to align the bow and stern.

Results stern was 2.5 cm higher in the aft deck, but no problems, repeat the error in the second hull ... one little involuntary wharram mod

Ref: Ann and Nev's DON'Ts

I was sitting up on my up side down Nari 40' back in 1969 fairing in the keel and I was tired, sick and hungry and it was 11pm at night!

I was using a 20lbs angle grinder spinning at 5,000 rpm with 16 GRIT paper on it.  I dropped it in my lap and NO, I didn't ruin anything that was important to me!  To this day, I don't use power tools if I'm tired, hungry, or sick!  I still have all ten fingers and Oh Yeah, two daughters.  Draw your own conclusions!

Experience comes from making mistakes.  The bigger/costlier the mistake, the better the lesson learned.  DAMHIKT.

It's also been my experience that power tools simply permit you to screw things up faster and with less precision.


No major injuries yet. But this was close:

Happens when office workers uses tools... My only excuse is that I was a bit in a rush to straighten some nails before the epoxy settled...

And for sure there were already numerous stupid things happening during the built, it is always amazing to see how error tolerant the concept is:

  • Coated some hull panels both sides...
  • After a good start I messed up the ratio on the pumps, took me some time to find my error and certainly a lot of cleaning. The ratio 5:1 is quite simple normally with the pumps but not if you take 5 strokes resin and only 1 stroke hardener...
  • Forgot the plastic sheet over the nail block on one hull joint. Luckily the panels survived when I pulled it off with force, only parts of the block stayed on the panels...
  • And now I found out that my aft part got a bit too wide (the boat's aft part...). I'm sure that the measurement of the decks was correct, but I miss about 0,5 cm on both sides in the middle section for both hulls.

As long as it stays manageable like this amateur boat building is a lot of fun!


I always tell everyone my boat is almost perfect, if it was perfect I would never get in the water and sailing and that is the whole idea of building a boat.


Raymond and I using a ramset 22cal. to attatch wood to steel frame.Considerable strain an twist necisitated our faces close R. fired off the charge ,his eyes poped wide ,In his lovely down/east accent,''by thejesus john I just shot myself in the cock''.NOT SO BAD, turned out to be only a flesh wound from the fractured nail.R got the afternoon off and I continued .

Chuck Valley said:

"... it's important to see the hand of the craftsman in the finished work..."  

Not my hand I hope!  Nor anyone else's.  

But you know those offsets on the bulkhead locations on a Tiki that keep them all perpendicular when you fold it up and insert them?  Any idea what happens if you go the wrong way? Next time I'll get a long distance look *before* i fillet them in.  But the flush saw function of the detail sander from Harbor Freight works wonders.  All better now. (sorta)

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