Dinghy Build – Super Fast Version

The “Build Your Own Dinghy” series of videos was produced in 26 parts, averaging about 5 minutes in duration each. The idea being each segment focused upon various steps in the boat building process. It also allowed an individual to watch the individual segment as time allowed, and not have to try and sit through almost 2-1/2 hours of video at one time.

What I didn’t think of at the time: Not everyone has the time, or may not want to invest the time to start watching the series without having a rough idea of what is involved beforehand. Very much in the way Hollywood produces “trailers” of new movies to pique one’s interest to go see the film.

I also received a few notes and requests from viewers asking for pretty much the same thing. So: Here it is! I went through all my video clips, and did some serious editing, cutting, pasting, plus a sped up the film considerably. The end result is a basic overview of the dinghy build condensed down to just under 3 minutes, without any commentary whatsoever. This should allow the prospective boat builder to determine if the full video series is something that may prove useful.

Please subscribe to my Youtube channel, “like,” and share.

DIY Pallet Wood Table Top Christmas Tree

My wife Susan decided she wanted a table-top, pallet wood, Christmas tree to decorate for the upcoming, annual, Women’s Health Resource Library  http://www.whrl.org Table Top Christmas Tree Auction. She found several pictures of various examples online, and presented them to me. She also told me she knew I was busy, BUT…….ya know….”when you can find some time”…….

Fortunately, I’m fairly adept at reading and deciphering “chick code” and I knew what she was really saying was: “Get your ass out there and get this project done ASAP if you know what’s good for you!”

I’m also well aware of the old adage: “If mama’s not happy, no one’s happy!”

Being a reasonably sharp guy, and having a keen sense of where my next hot meal is coming from, I decided to put aside the duck coop build for the day and concentrate my efforts on Susan’s latest quest.

I had pallet wood kicking around, and I decided to use lapstrake construction for the tree. I set to work in earnest, and the result is shown below in the photographs. The tree measures almost 24″ wide and is 36″ tall, overall.

That was yesterday. Today, I was able to find a few moments to edit some video clips and publish them to Youtube.

I know it’s been a whole day, but the long wait is finally over! Here it is folks! The premiere showing of the pallet wood table top Christmas Tree (The movie). You won’t find any Hollywood superstars in this short film (under 4 minutes), and I’m pretty sure I won’t win an Oscar for my performance, but you still might find this entertaining after a fashion.

Maybe it will inspire you to get out in the shop and make something similar. Hey! It could happen!

If you start feeling a little bit “artsy-fartsy,” you’ll find this a fun and easy project to take on.


DIY FastCap Clone Drill Index

FastCap makes many unique tools for wood workers and other craftsmen that simplify and speed up the job. The FastCap  KISS™ Drill Bit Index is no exception.

Being long on time, and short on money at the time, I decided to make my own version. It came out okay and works well, but the time and effort involved is not worth it (in my opinion), since it would be much easier, and more cost effective to simply call FastCap and order one already made.

Here’s the link to the FastCap Drill Index:


 Here’s a link to the FastCap Youtube video on their KISS Drill Bit System


If you insist on making your own, I have prepared three drawings. The first one shows the dimensions. The second shows the arrangements of the laminations using “2-by” KD studs. The third drawing is simply a chart showing the arrangement and sizes of bits (which is the same arrangement FastCap uses). The drawings can be downloaded FREE in pdf format from the links provided below:

Drill Index 1 Drill Index 2 Drill Index 3

Build a Duck Coop

Our old duck coop has seen better days, and after many years of use, it’s time to build a new one. The old coop was originally built for egg laying chickens, then later modified for housing meat chickens. As new coops were designed and built (larger) our flocks increased in numbers, the old coop was once again modified to house our ducks which were raised for duck egg production.

The old duck coop is now so old, it’s falling apart, and we have reduced the number of ducks we have. Time for a new one!

The new duck coop has been designed smaller in size: 3’ x 6’ or 18 square feet, which has ample room for our 3 ducks that we now keep as pets. The new design features a “porch” area and a closed in area for shelter from heavy weather. The floor of the coop is concrete, and there are doors that open the coop on both sides to allow for easy cleaning and access. The metal roof is designed to allow our heavy snow loads to slide off, away from the opening doors. The new coop is also situated closer to our duck pond, and nestled between some trees for additional protection from the weather.

If you decide to build a similar coop with the same concrete pad, it will take (12) 60# bags of ready mix or (9) 80# bags. It cost more overall to buy the 60# bags than the 80# bags, but only by a few dollars and the 60# bags are easier to handle – that’s why I used them rather than the 80# bags.

This video (Part 1) shows the process of pouring the concrete pad for the new duck coop. The next video (Part 2) begins with installing the sill plates.

I drew basic plans for the new coop in CAD to use as a guide while building the new coop and these are available FREE (in pdf file format). There are three drawings. Simply click on the hyperlinks below.

Duck Coop 1

Duck Coop 2

Duck Coop 3

Here’s Part 1 of the video series on the duck coop build:

Build a Duck Coop (Part 2):

Build a Duck Coop (Part 3):

Build a Duck Coop (Part 4):

High Wind & Heavy Snow Load Greenhouse, Revisited

The original video (less than 2 min.) about our high wind and heavy snow load greenhouse design was simply a slideshow showing the steps of construction. Surprisingly (to me), this video turned out to be the most popular of everything I’ve posted thus far on Youtube.

I received many messages with questions and requests for more information, so I have tried to address all of these in this new video just posted today (Oct 13th, 2017).

This new video is about 8 minutes long and is a “walk-around” with commentary type of film clip.

If you like my design and would like to build your own high wind and heavy snow load greenhouse for yourself, you’ll find the link to download the FREE drawing of the greenhouse framework in the original post I made about it right here on this site.

Please “subscribe” to my Youtube channel, “like” and “share.” Thank you.

Here is the URL to the new Youtube video about our greenhouse:

Kitchen Faucet Repair – American Standard 4144SSF

Greetings folks!


After less than 2 years of use after the new installation of our American Standard,  LILLIAN model # 4144SSF “dripless” kitchen faucet, it started dripping. In fact, it began dripping in earnest!

 The video I made, documents my investigation & diagnosis as to why this problem occurred, along with what I did to correct the problem.

 Apparently, American Standard uses the same 35mm ceramic disc valve cartridge in all of their kitchen faucets of this type. Watch this video and follow the same steps I took to solve the problem before ordering a new cartridge or calling your local plumber.

I hope the production of this video (and others I produce) are helpful to you. Please subscribe, “like” (thumbs up), and share on my Youtube channel. This helps me provide more Youtube content. – Thanks.

Our web sites:




 Facebook: @DowneastThunderCreations

Twitter: @DowneastThunder

Downeast Thunder Creations is also on Pinterest.

The 8′ Frugal Skiff

NOTE: I have been updating this post on a regular basis – If you scroll to the bottom of the article, you will find I have been adding a series of videos from my Youtube channel, showing the build process of this (8′ Frugal Skiff) dinghy, step by step.

The small 8′ dinghy I built and donated for the Women’s Health Resource Library “Chinese Auction” during Milbridge Days attracted quite a few folks and sold an extraordinary number of raffle tickets. I received a lot of positive feedback and everyone loved the bright (spar varnish) finish on the quarter knees and breasthook; all fabricated from natural hackmatack knees.

Most people are not aware that I’m a retired naval architect and marine engineer. I once had an active design practice for yachts and work boats. I still maintain a hobby business out of personal interest, selling stock boat plans and instruction books I’ve written for them that are intended for novice, backyard boat builders. I market these through my other website called Shoestring Shipyard www.shoestringshipyard.com

The dinghy I built for the WHRL event is part of my “Frugal Skiff” series of designs. I no longer offer the 8′ version, but I still sell the 10′, 12′, and 14′ version – all of which go together the same way. This series used to be used for the 3 day boat building classes I once ran. Folks would begin at 0830 on a Friday morning and leave with a boat that was ready for the water (except for the paint/finish) on a Sunday afternoon around 5pm. They are that easy to build!

I shot several video segments while building this dinghy, so as soon as I have a chance, I’ll do some editing and post a series on how to build this boat on my Youtube Channel and on both of my websites (Downeast Thunder Creations and Shoestring Shipyard).

Update: Finally!!!! I have begun editing of the film clips made while building the dinghy. The first segment has been published on Youtube, and the remainder will soon follow. I’m not sure how many parts there will be yet, but I’m trying to keep each video under 5 minutes duration. Here’s the first one:(Note: There is a total of 26 segments of 5 minute average duration videos that make up the series).

This is Part 1 (of 26)


Update for 19 SEPT 2017: Here is the Part 2 (of 2) video for the boat building series:

Update for 20 SEPT 2017: Part 3 (of 26) of “Build Your Own Dinghy”:

Here’s Part 4 (of 26):

Part 5 (of 26):

Today’s Update (22 SEPT 2017) Part 6 (of 26) – This is where hull construction begins now that the major components have been fabricated:

 Part 7 (of 26) of this “how to” video series shows the fitting and installation of the main frame. The hull begins to take shape.

24 SEPT 2017 Part 8 (of 26) of the “Build Your Own Dinghy” series of “how to” videos shows the installation of the transom. At this stage of construction, the hull now looks like a boat.

Part 9 (of 26) goes into how to fit the chine logs to the hull.

Part 10 (of 26) of the “Build Your Own Dinghy” series of how-to videos continues with how to fit and install the chine logs to the hull.

Part 11 (of 26) continues the ongoing process of fitting and installing the chine logs to the hull, but is the final segment covering this subject.

Part 12 (of 26) begins fitting and installing the bottom panel to the hull.

Part 13 (of 26) concludes the process of fitting and installing the bottom panel to the hull.

Part 14 (of 26) covers the theory of applying fiberglass tape (definitions, why, how-to, etc.) to the plywood seams all around the bottom of the hull. An explanation is given about the materials used and how they are applied.

Part 15 (of 26) puts the theory of applying fiberglass tape into practice. It will be applied to the plywood seams all around the bottom of the hull.

Part 16 (of 26) is about fitting and installing the keel to the bottom of the hull and the installation of the false stem.

Part 17 (of 26) concludes fitting and installing the keel to the bottom of the hull and then goes over fitting and installing the skeg.

Part 18 (of 26) Filling and fairing the hull, or what I call: “The Taming of the Shmoo!”

Part 19 (of 26)  The final fairing of the hull and sealing with primer.

Part 20 (of 26) Begin fitting and installing the intermediate frames.

Part 21 (of 26) Continuation of fitting and installing the intermediate frames.

Part 22 (of 26) Begins the process of fabricating, fitting, and installing the breasthook & quarter knees.

Part 23 (of 26) This video continues with the fabrication, fitting, and installation of the breasthook & quarter knees.

Part 24 (of 26) This segment conclude the addition of the breasthook and quarter knees.

Part 25 (of 26) Fitting and installing the outwales to the gunwales.

Part 26 (of 26) EPILOGUE! The final video of the series. Now it’s time for you to get out in the backyard and start making sawdust! You too, can have your own small skiff in virtually no time at all.

Downeast Adirondack Chair

Our local “Milbridge Days” celebration over July 28th and 29th this year in Milbridge, Maine has come and gone. The weeks and days up to that point were quite busy, and I had committed to donating a chair to the Womens Health Resource Library’s Adirondack Chair Silent Auction.This auction was a fundraiser held at the “Seaworthy Center” on Main Street in Milbridge during Milbridge Days and all of the chairs went to local, professional artists to paint or decorate as they saw fit.

The WHRL ordered 15 folding Adirondack chair kits that came completely disassembled and unfinished (bare wood).  I had to drive a couple of hours (one way) to pick them up from the company they were ordered from, then came home and assembled all of the kits. They were then distributed to the local artists.

My chair made the total 16 in all. I traced the parts from the  kits onto hardboard and cut out templates to base my design on. Rather than build a chair exactly like the kits, I embellished a bit and  made the back slats look a little like the forward section of a lobster carapace, and the arms look like lobster claws. I also made drink holders out of 12 gauge copper electrical wire with soldered joints, using a jig I made so both would be exactly the same.

I used all locally harvested woods and American made hardware for my chair, finished it bright, except for the arm rests, back, and seat slats,

which I painted a bright red. I was trying to keep it subtle and never mentioned the word lobster. I simply dubbed the chair “Downeast Adirondack” and left it at that, but as soon as the doors opened, everyone started calling it “The lobster chair.”

At the end of the auction, my chair brought the second highest bid price of $500.00 and there were several bids from different families in attendance. This was a “one-off” chair as I did not make templates of the “lobster” parts  I incorporated into it. Some folks have asked me if I would be interested in making more of these, and I could draw some parts to look similar to this chair, but I’d have to get $600.00 per chair to make the effort worthwhile.

If you like it enough such that you are willing to part with the cash, a 50% deposit is necessary to schedule the work. At the moment, I’m working towards making enough inventory for my booth at the Machias (Maine) Blueberry Festival taking place in a couple  of weeks (over August 18th, 19th, and 20th). I’ve been assigned “spot number 8” in what they call “the church lot,” and I’ll be there all three days of the festival.

Downeast Adirondack by Paul Bennett