Friday, March 29, 2013

Curved things made of wood

Thursdays have become a very busy day at WoW in recent months, and even with most of the students off on spring holiday, there was lots of action.  Oddly, nearly every project underway seemed to involve making curved things out of wood.  Frames continue to be formed, fitted, and fastened into the the second Beetle replica whaleboat at a truly prodigious pace; Suzy, the L. F. Herreshoff Meadow Lark, has a new keel to stem bridge ready to be bolted in place; the whaleboat bow is being fitted for, and will soon to be sporting her curvy and massive bow chocks.  A day of curved stuff, all around.

The work on Suzy continues below the water line.  Jeff has completed removal of the decayed wood at the junction of the keel and the stem, and he built a three dimensional plywood template of the new member.  Using a well dried and massive white oak timber, he cut out the new keel/stem section.

Cleaned out to the good wood, and ready to rebuild
Jeff's template for the keel to stem structural tie.
Jeff is sawing . . .
This is real macho carpentry, with the full range of workshop machinery -- bandsaw, planer, jointer -- participating in the process of making 50 pounds or so of dry white oak into a useful and fairly elegant form.

Jeff is jointing . . .
Jeff is planing . . .
Jeff is spiling . . .

Most of the surfaces are determined by the adjoining members in the existing structure, but the upper surface simply follows the inner sides of the keel and stem in a fair curve, which Jeff guarantees with ice picks and batten.

Ready to be fitted

In she goes, nearly ready to be fastened.

 Similar well dried big chunks of white oak were being formed into bow chocks for the second whaleboat, elsewhere in the shop.  The first  step was lofting the shape from the plans.  The bow chocks are complex, resting in a notch at the front of the inwale and sheer plank, flaring outward toward the stem, and fairly curved downward to join the gunwales at the aft end.  Three loftings were needed.  Actually all of this work was done a year ago when we build the first whaleboat, but in an successful effort to assure that we would get to build a second one, we discarded the earlier patterns.

Side bow chock pattern in place on starboard side.
Notches through plank and inwale will receive the chocks.
Not a curved piece of wood -- yet.
Meanwhile, Bruce and his team, which included Jeff the Younger, Lee, John, Newt, Bob and three or four visitors who just came in looking for the bathroom, were continuing to break land speed records making and installing frames.  In less than two weeks, they have nearly completed the painstaking framing process.  They are not slacking on quality either.  The batten notches are tight and square, and the positioning of the frames is precise and consistent.

MANY screws and cans of Dolfinite are needed to bed and fasten 72 frames.
The steamer is used steadily to rebend each frame prior to fitting.
Bob fits a frame up forward on starboard side.
Bruce cuts batten notches.
A LOT of frames, with more to come.

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