I spent most of 1992 preparing the work environment. I bought a house with a barn, and needed to remove hay, and get the electrical and water systems back to a functioning state. This took months. Nowadays, you can buy an assembly kit for a Bruce Roberts hull. In 1991, when I bought the plans, this option was not available. I had to make the frames, longitudinal and hull plates myself, using blueprints, an oxy-acetylene torch and a grinder. The Bruce Roberts plans were on a scale of 1:1 for the hull and keel, and I made a large plywood table to fabricate the frames on. In this photo, you can see my friend Wes Watson welding on the keel bottom, with fabricated frames standing on the left and the large plywood “table” in behind.
A lot of people have asked me how I attached the plating to the keel or hull frames, my answer was “the Armstrong technique” (tongue in cheek). The answer is to spot weld threaded rod onto the plate and then use a wrench and nut to draw it in against the frame. These two pictures illustrate the technique.
Defining the keel was a landmark moment. In this photo, my friends Earle Hatt, Wes Watson (and his children) and Pat Imai (and his children) helped me to erect the first keel frames (basically mid-ship) and attach them to the keel bottom. We had a small party to celebrate, and yes, it was cold (Thanksgiving weekend).
After erecting 8 keel sections, I could really start to see how the boat was taking shape. I was proud of having achieved this pivotal moment.
The last thing that I did in 1992 was to lay the stem aft of the keel. This was what the rudder and skeg would eventually be attached to. My dog “Rocky” guards the area.