Friday, January 25, 2013

Whaleboat times two

This week's biggest change was the departure from the shop of the Chesapeake Light Craft team rowing dory, which is now awaiting spring in the company of the small craft fleet, on the ISM floating dock.  We are all looking forward to seeing how she performs in the water. In her place, the WOW team has installed a 22 foot long bench, that will serve as a workstation for spar construction and oar building, primarily for the two whaleboats.  The new bench is easily removable and can be stored compactly, since it was constructed with strong but lightweight sawhorses using the torsion boxes shown being built in a previous post.

The spar making/oar making bench comes together
A looong clamping surface is already in use
The kids from Wooden Boat Factory were in the shop working as part of the ISM  S.A.I.L.O.R. program.  They worked with Jeff on putting the new workbench together, and with Nick on the installation of molds atop the keel of the second Beetle replica whaleboat.  The new whaleboat is taking shape quickly.  She is almost ready for planking.
Nick works with a student setting up whaleboat molds 
The molds are the same ones we used for the first whaleboat, so lots of time was saved by not having to construct them.  Also, the experience gained from the first effort is saving time and allowing us to avoid missteps that occurred the first time.  One begins to better understand how the incredibly rapid pace of whaleboat construction in the 1830s and 1840s shops could have been achieved.  Experience is, after all, the best teacher.

Nick checks molds for symmetry and correct alignment
Meanwhile, the seemingly endless array of chocks, cleats, holes, brackets, etc. continue to be added to the whaleboat number one.  A coat of white primer was applied to the entire interior, and sanded smooth in preparation for the application of grey paint.  The sheer will be painted blue on this boat, and the rest of the hull will be white.
The hull interior is now primed white from gunwale to gunwale.
John sands the primer coat, getting ready for painting.
Some of the little fixtures being added are peculiar to whaling, and make sense only in that context.  For example, a sheet of lead has been fastened between the huge white oak bow chocks.  Its purpose was to allow the harpoon line to pay out smoothly and avoid chafing.
Lead sheet is copper nailed between bow chocks.
Newt constructed another specialized piece of equipment -- a harpoon holder.  This was set into a bracket on the starboard gunwale and allowed several harpoons to be placed at the ready, close to the harpooner's station at the clumsy cleat.
Newt's harpoon rest, under construction
Belaying pins were installed into the underside of the forward thwart, alongside the mast partner.  These pins were used to belay the halyards when the boat was under sail.  Charles turned the pins on the lathe and installed them through the thwart using wedges to lock them in place.
Belaying pins alongside mast partner.

Caulking will mostly be done after the interior is completed and the boat can be turned over, but Charles began the lengthy process by caulking the stems. This required opening up the joints between the plank ends and the stems, which were a bit tight is several places, and hammering in cotton caulking.  The completion of the stems caulking will allow us to complete the installation of gudgeons for the rudder, once our hardware kit arrives from Mystic Seaport.
Caulking begins along the stems.

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