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Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - SHOW PHOTOS !

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Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - SHOW PHOTOS !
All~


In addition to juggling 4 vessels right now - and dozens of decoys and carvings - I have just begun another Gunning Coffin to show at Tuckerton at the end of this month. As I have long ago posted detailed treatments of this vessel/blind/device on my website - including step-by-step building instructions and photos:


https://stevenjaysanford.com/sanford-gunning-box/



I tell the "back story" at: https://stevenjaysanford.com/sanford-gunning-box-2/





I will just post a few progress photos here over the next weeks. I am bringing a gunning coffin/meadow box for a couple of reasons. Mostly, I am for the first time since 1981 building one with a few altered (improved?) dimensions. A few years back, I drew one up that was slightly wider up forward. I did this primarily to make the build a bit easier because fastening the compound curves up forward had always been the most challenging phase of assembly. True to my original design criteria, the box still requires just a single sheet of plywood.



I am not sure whether I ever finished that modified box, though. In the Summer of '17 I sold off: 1) a completed box - fully thatched!, 2) a bottom-attached-to-sides, and 3) just the sawn out pieces - all to member and good friend Tom Russo. Tom planned to have a box for himself and for each of his sons. I'll let Papa Russo report on his progress.


So, I have no coffin of my own right now. To remedy that untenable state of affairs, I bought a sheet of 1/4-inch AC plywood and a length of clear 1x12 Pine on Friday. ( I had planned to use Cypress for the transom and longitudinals but discovered on Thursday that my "other" lumberyard no longer carries this great boatbuilding species....ssssiiigghhh.....)


So I laid out the new plan view of the bottom and started cutting. Early today I glued (Titebond III) and nailed (bronze Anchorfast #14 x 7/8") the chine logs to the bottom. I like the glue to cure overnight before attaching the sides - so I sealed the interior surfaces of the bottom (with its installed chine logs) and sides with straight epoxy resin - rolled on with a foam roller. It's easiest to do this while the boards are flat on the bench.


[CLICK to enlarge]







Note that the sides have been cut to finished length but the bottom has not. Note also the other piece of plywood - which is actually a sawn-out bottom. I bought 2 sheets of plywood so I could cut 2 sets at one time. At a minimum, it could become another box - or serve as a template for several more.



I just came in from fabricating the bow and stern transoms. I should be able to complete the box itself tomorrow - then on to the canvas and other finishing touches.


And, I made ample progress on the Hudson River Duck Skiff as well today. Her new cockpit hatch is all built - and will get her 'glass sheathing tomorrow.


All the best,


SJS





Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Last edited by:

Steve Sanford: Oct 3, 2019, 1:55 AM
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
I am excited to see this box as I have thoroughly enjoyed gunning from the ones I have built from you plans.
(I didn?t shoot that mergansers)

South Jersey
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
Good morning, Josh~


Great photo! I look forward to seeing your boxes in the flesh.


All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
Steve,

I too will enjoy watching you build this pond box! I bought one of your design from a gentleman at the Tuckerton show I believe in 1999, when I live in Allentown, PA and hunted the NJ shore. When I moved to KY, I took it with me and one dove season, a storm had blown down all of the sunflowers in the field. I took the box out in the middle of the field and covered it with downed sunflowers and shot doves from off my back. The farmer/landowner sat and watched me and got the biggest laugh. It was effective!!!!

I really love your pond box design.

Best,
Steve
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
Good morning, Steve~


Great story! Glad to hear you put your box to creative use.


My "Tuckerton" box is built - and first step in 'glassing is done.


I used a scraper to clean up the cured epoxy. Much easier than sanding and easiest when flat on the bench. It removes most of the excess epoxy - but the interior will still get sanded before it is painted.







I bevel the forward halves of the chine logs to accept the sides - which have "tumblehome" (inward slant of hull sides) between 3 and 9 degrees.






After marking the needed bevels at each station on the chine log, I drew the 3 angles for reference (on what will be the stern transom).







I went to work with the electric plane - with the cut set at 1/32-inch - and checked my progress as I went along.






I nailed the sides - and later the transoms -with the 7/8-inch # 14 bronze boat nails. I thickened the epoxy with milled fibers to serve as the glue.






The box itself is now complete. The headrest will be added after the interior has been painted.








I rounded all the corners and edges - to accept the 'glass and to prevent future wear.






A detail up forward.






First 'glass. Sides and transoms are covered with 7-ounce 'glass. I will likely put Dynel on the bottom and lower edges for better wear.






All the best,


SJS











Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
Good morning, All~


After sanding the new 'glass on the sides, I installed the Mahogany rubrails. I machined them 3/4-inch X 3/4-inch - square in section so they would conform to the compound curves on the box. I used a router to round over the upper corner BEFORE I ripped the rails on the table saw.









I had cut the hand-hole in the stern transom on the bench. I used a hole saw at either end - then connected them with a jigsaw. The edges were rounded over on the router table.






On my earlier boxes, I used to bore 2 holes through the bow transom. The painter passed through them as well as through a third hole in the "stem" (the frame that supports the bow and the headrest) . In use, though, the holes let in water when being towed behind my boat.


So, now I keep the bow transom un-perforated. I attach a wooden "cleat" whose job it is to hold the painter.






The carriage bolts are set in 3M 5200 and backed up by 1.5-inch fender washers - all stainless.








The rub rails are also set in 5200 - and faired at their ends.






The rails are fastened every 4 inches with panhead s/s screws.






The interior is now painted with Parker's Marsh Grass.







I set it outside to bake in the sun the next morning.






Then I flipped it so the epoxy would cure thoroughly. I still need to 'glass the bottom - so fully-cured epoxy will sand more crisply.






Next I will form the bow for the canvas.....


All the best,


SJS







Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Last edited by:

Steve Sanford: Sep 13, 2019, 10:03 PM
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
Never satisfied, just have to tweek it a bit. It's all in the details. Steve, I built three of those over the years. The first one was before you were a regular on this site. I found the plans on the long Island or new jersey duck hunting forum somewhere. Anyway the print was so small that some of the measurments were a guess and they became corrected when I faired the curve with a batten. I dont think the plans need a major overhaul but improvements can always be thought about.
DHBP Member since May 1999
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
Good morning, Bob~


Once I'm done (and have a bit of time) I will draw the revised plan (just the plan view of the bottom) measured from the "as built" box.


And, you are certainly correct that the fair batten gives the best results.


As you will see, the biggest changes I have made over the years have been different approaches to the canvas decks.



All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
Good morning, All~


I have begun the canvas "decks" - by making the steel "bow" that will hold the canvas up around my head and making and installing the padded headrest.


The bow is made from half-inch thinwall conduit - a 5-foot length bent over a jig. The steel bow is better than my original laminated Oak bows in that its end wear better - they will not split - and it is MUCH faster to make.


I begin by clamping the bending jig to the bench and marking a few reference points on the paper. As you can guess from this photo, I usually make 2 at one session - since a 10-foot conduit yields 2 bows.







The conduit is held in the jig by a single wooden clamp at its centerpoint.






I try to bend the bow in one smooth motion. It's a bit of a challenge with my limited wingspan - I should probably run a rope through the conduit and begin the bend by pulling its ends toward me. If I had the wall space, I would mount the jig on the wall so I could pull downward.






Next, I crush about 3 inches of the ends in my bench vise.






I finish flattening the ends with my 3-pound sledge - then round it - then bore it.






Here it is temporarily installed. I usually need to adjust the angle of the ends with a big adjustable wrench - so they will lay flat against the "walls".






The center mark helps me locate it.






I also measure each end from the stern transom. These panheads had been used previously - thus the messed up slot. I used new ones - sprayed with Rustoleum Self-etching Primer - for the final installation. The bow, too, was coated with the Primer.







The next job was a padded headrest.


SJS













Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
Now the headrest....


I have previously used a simple plywood rest - nailed directly to the stem. However, a sumptuous padded rest now beckons to this old head....


Because it will be padded, I can no longer simply fasten it through its face. So, the 2 wooden cleats will allow fastening - from the sides - once the padding is in place.



This closed-cell (Airex) foam - made for boat cushions - was cut to shape on the bandsaw and then applied with spray adhesive.


Note the fastening hole bored in the cleat. There is one on each cleat - one high and one low.







I masked the edges so I could keep paint from them. I wanted clean wood for the spray adhesive I use to apply the canvas.






Parker's Marsh Grass.






Unmasked - and ready for canvas once the paint cures.







I used Sunbrella Marine fabric (a polyester) in Tan - from SailRite. The adhesive did most of the work but I also reinforced the corners with Monel staples.







Sleep-inducing?


All the best,


SJS



Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
Hopeing you get a chance to weigh finished coffin sans grassing. Have you ever thought of using one of the momarsh adjustable cushions in these? They,re about 3" thick but are made from waterproof foam w/cordura covering.
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
Good morning, Roy~


I certainly plan to weigh the box in the pre-thatch mode. They typically tip the Toledoes at around 30 pounds.


I use a GI camping pad - half-inch closed cell foam - for comfort. I just trimmed one to size - but do not yet have a photo. As the walls of my box are only 8 inches tall, I wonder if a 3-inch MoMarsh Barcalounger might compromise my hide.


All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Quote Reply
Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton In reply to
All~


The box is all 'glassed and painted. I hope to sew the canvas tomorrow (Tuesday).


I added graphite powder to the top coat of epoxy resin (third coat overall). It makes for a slicker bottom and also helps fill the weave of the cloth. Here I have already scraped then sanded the bottom with 100-grit on my orbital sander.






I painted the bottom and sides yesterday - and let them bake in the sun today. I used Pettit 3303 (Dull Dead Grass).






And, I freshened up the paint on my "assembly bench" - which is where I do my sewing, too. I usually at least sand the whole top (lightly) and wipe down (with alcohol on a rag) before spreading nice new canvas on it.







That big roll of waxed paper mounted beneath the bench was a salvage from our local transfer station. It comes in handy when painting or using epoxy.



All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Last edited by:

Steve Sanford: Sep 24, 2019, 4:59 AM
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
Steve- I?m following this one as I might need a project this winter. I have a friend that built a couple of your boxes back in the nineties but Being a bit ?larger? I wasn?t comfortable in one. I built a small pond box for myself that I?ll need to pull out of the garage attic and dust off for use this year. Regards- Tom


Great South Bay
West Sayville, N Y
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
My gunning partner and I bought two meadow boxes just like you would make them about 10 years ago. I think you and I hunted out of them "on the other end" once. I was immediately concerned about the rigidity of the conduit should I accidentally lean on it getting into or out of the box. Well, it happened. I slipped getting into the box exhausted after retrieving a runner and with that, I bent the conduit and tore where it fastens to the frame. My repair, and therefore suggestion to other clumsy gunners was to thread pex tubing through the fabric and attach it to the frame with battery terminal ends. it's a rigid as you need it to be, while remaining forgivingly flexible for future accidents.
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
Intrigued by your repair to dodger hoop. Are you saying you used plex tubing in place of the emt conduit to make the hoop or did you use it in addition to emt. Was 3/4 plex what you used as replacement?
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
I could take a look but I'm thinking it was 1/2" and yes, it was pex alone, in place of the conduit. It didn't kink or split and it's been great for years now. I believe I saw a guy who used coated braided cable with smaller terminal ends and another guy used a fiberglass rod, the type you'd use to pull wire with. Needless to say Steve's box is truly perfect as is but that was the only modification I've made other than using camo pattern fabric. Anyone who was "beefed it up" with a full glass job in and out has regretted the weight. Ice runners, etc, all regretted it. They are also surprisingly durable. I bought mine used and have dragged it all over the place for a decade and it's the same fabric and only minor glass repairs.
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
This will be my first visit to Tuckerton, look forward to seeing your boat work in person Steve!

https://www.facebook.com/...e=1&l=9abd3a64df
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
Definitely wouldn,t have to worry about corrosion as in emt or eventual splitting at flattened ends. Am really surprised though that it supplied equal strength as emt especially in 1/2 " dimemsions. Going to wait till steve posts his new bx dimensions before embarking on construction of one as I,ll probably have to stretch it a bit to allow space for dog behind me and at 6'1" . Or maybe just build the dog a mini Pond Bx. LOL
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
It would definitely NOT be as strong as conduit but for the purpose of holding up the dodger rigidly and have the quality of being flexible in cases like mine, it served its purposed. We did it on the dodger of a Sunfish conversion too.
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
Several years ago I used Cap?n Fowler plans for building Gunning Coffin/Boxes . When it came to the canvas I used Aluminum Guy (guide) wire 3/8 dia. At the ends I attached copper battery ring terminal connectors. Velcro was sewn into the canvas to hold the wire in place.
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
I've made at least one with 1/2 inch cpvc I often thought of making the wooden support from it as well. I heated it up with a heat gun until flexible and I also squash the ends in a vice eliminating the need for battery terminals I just drill a hole in the end.
South Jersey
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Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
Good morning, Tom ~


Plenty of others have modified the plans - some with wider "floor plans", some with taller sides, et cetera. Easy enough to do. Nevertheless, I have stuck to my single-sheet-of-plywood rule.


I've often thought of making one just for the ice and snow. Other than painting it white, I'd probably alter the canvas to cover more of me - since there would be no thatch.


In any event, I've completed my "Tuckerton" Gunning Coffin - now christened the Model 19 (I'll explain later).


Once the paint on the hull cured, I cut a camping pad to size and shape - about 3-inches in from each chine log.






I secured a length of decoy line through a small hole st the foot end to serve as a lashing when I roll it up.



(BTW: I have a pad like this always rolled up right inside my shop. I use for when I need to crawl beneath a vehicle or otherwise lay myself down on a cold or wet ground.)






It stows next to the headrest. Sharp eyes will note I tied a plain old square knot - whereas I typically use a slipped square knot on anything I unlash frequently.






I fired up my stove so I could brand the inner transom.






I brought her back inside for fitting the canvas.









The first job, though, was sewing hems on both sides of the fabric - Sunbrella Marine in Tan. I iron any folds - and often tack them in place with SeamStick (2-sided tape) before I sew them.






I also measure and mark carefully.






Here is the sewn hem. I have not yet cut the fabric (except for overall length).






Now I can clamp it on the box. I prefer to use push pins - on Cypress or White Pine rubrails - but the Mahogany rails resisted my mighty strength.







Continued.....


SJS















Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Quote Reply
Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
Canvas continued....


I mark the foot of the canvas but leave it long. I cut it to length (then hem it) only AFTER I have sewn the 3 canvas pieces together and try them for fit.






Here are 2 of the 3 pieces: I use 2 sides and one head-piece.








Once the 3 pieces are joined, a drawstring pocket is sewn continuously along the inner hem. I place the drawstring (decoy line) within the hem BEFORE I sew it. Saves what would be a very challenging task if left 'til later.


After sewing the drawstring pocket/hem, I install the brass grommets that will hold the shock cord in place. Note than I work with the "bad side" up - so the "washers" are out of the weather when done.







I begin fastening the canvas at the forward end - around the cowl. I set it in caulk to both act as a glue and to keep moisture out.







The canvas is secured around all 4 outer edges with Monel staples. Monel lasts in salt much better than s/s.






After the canvas is secured across the foot, the drawstring is pulled taut through both the hand hole, then through drilled holes, then tied tight.






Here is the grommet pattern.






The 1/4-inch shock cord runs around the entire box in 2 "circuits" - each beginning and ending at the stern transom. This shows how the shock cord is "above-ground" for most of the circuit.






I cauterize the cut ends of the shock cord with a flat-bladed soldering iron. All 4 ends are secured with figure-8 knots inside the transom.






Continued.....


SJS









Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Quote Reply
Re: Gunning Coffin for Tuckerton - getting close ! In reply to
Canvas continued - almost done!


For the next task, I place the box on a short piece of 2 x 2 to find its balance point.






This tells me where to attach the side "handles" - 2 loops of nylon webbing. They are not strictly necessary - but helpful when man-handling the box, especially in and out of vehicles or vessels.


NOTE: I'm not worried about the bright brass gromments or other hardware. It'll turn a nice dull brown soon enough - and will be covered with Spartina patens in the meantime.









The final appurtenance is the bow painter. Although I have used nylon line in the past, this Manila is so much nicer to splice.







On its way outside, it was weighed. At 46 pounds, it MUCH heavier than the 34 pounds of a recent (2013) box that used the same canvas+shock cord arrangement. Although this box may be 6 or so inches longer, I can only attribute the higher weight to 1) the foam headrest padding and 2) the Mahogany rubrails (typically Cypress or White Pine). It's the same scale. I should check it against a known weight. Perhaps I ruined it when we tried to weigh an undressed White-tail last year - that pegged the 225-pound limit....(it dressed at 218).







Her first portrait:






Bow on:








Duck's-eye-view....(without any thatch).






Ready for thatch! I will be lashing bundles of Salt Hay onto the shock cord during the Tuckerton Show. Feel free to lend a hand if you stop by.







I plan to keep one side un-thatched so the judges can the see the box better.


Here is what the ducks will see when it is "ready-to-hunt"....






The name is explained in the final post.


SJS





Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com