Friday, May 24, 2013

Greeting and Caulking

It was a mixed bag at Workshop on the Water Thursday.  We were hard at work preparing the second Beetle replica whaleboat for its June 8 launch, but took a few minutes off to welcome a famous visitor to the ISM dock, La Amistad.  La Amistad will be visiting for about a week in conjunction with the Museum's "Tides of Freedom" exhibit, and it is always a delight to see such a fine ship when we look up from our work in the boatshop.

The main activity of the day in the shop was caulking.  Each of the plank and batten seams needed to be reefed in preparation for caulking, and then filled with cotton fiber nearly to the surface.  The next step will be surfacing the seams with seam compound prior to painting the bottom and the topsides. Newt, Bruce, and Charles reefed and hammered, while Jeff primed and Lee prepared balls of cotton to keep the caulkers supplied.  We managed to caulk the entire boat in one day.

Newt caulks the garboard seam.
Jeff follows with a brush, painting primer over the cotton,
Lots of small tasks remain before the second whaleboat is complete, and time is growing shorter.  One item that can be checked off the list is the loggerhead, which functions as a brake when a whale has been harpooned. The loggerhead is another example of taking a round object like a tree, make it into a rectangular timber, and then make it round again.  Last week it was Jeff using a hand plane to make square timbers into round spars; this time, the job was done with a lathe by Charles.

Charles takes a crack at making square wood round again.
Work on spars continues, with Jeff still wielding his plane.  Two masts, one boom, and a gaff are complete, with more to come.

Two masts (on right) and a boom (in the middle). The boom has been oiled. 

Off to the side, Huffin has gotten her new transom top. The transom looks great, and will look even better with a few coats of varnish.  Then, back into the water she goes for another summer of rowing.

Huffin sporting her newly repaired transom.
La Amistad came in about 2:30 in the afternoon, shortly after high tide.  She needed all the water she could get in the basin, as she draws about 11 feet. A strong wind made maneuvering her into the basin and docking her a real challenge.
Amistad begins to drop sail as she turns past the USS New Jersey.
Under power, turning to back in to the dock.
Welcome to Philadelphia!

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