Friday, October 18, 2013

Putting the Beetle Cat Back Together

We have pretty much stripped the Beetle Cat down to her bones, and discovered most of her warts and wrinkles, and now we have begun to fix things.  The most glaring problems, the leaky centerboard case and three broken frames under the foredeck, are our first concerns.  We are removing the broken frames, and replacing them with new ones, one by one, so as not to cause the hull to distort.  

The first step is to break up the old, damaged frame and remove it in pieces. Then, the screws holding the planks to it can be backed out.

New frame fastened in place.  Next old frame forward has been removed.
The new frames need to be steamed, and bent on a jig made from hull templates.  For each frame to be replaced, we need to make a new template, and adjust the jig to match it.

A white oak strip gets steamed.

Frame bending jig with frame just removed.
After the new frame has cooled, it is inserted between the sheer clamp and the sheer plank, and pushed gradually past the keel and into the space between clamp and sheer plank on the opposite side.

Two frames in place.  The upper one has been clamped for screwing.
The new frame is clamped in place tightly against the planks, and against the floors.  Then it is ready for fastening with bronze screws. Where possible, we use the old screw holes in the planks, but if they have widened too much, we drill new ones, and will bung the old ones later.

Screws in place, mostly in newly drilled holes.
We managed to remove three frames, and replaced two of them by day's end. That leaves something for the next crew to do.

Meanwhile, Dockmaster George was finishing cleanup chores from last weekend's Old City Seaport Festival.  Among many tasks, the cannons used in the pirate battles needed their barrels cleaned out and oiled.

Multi-talented George cleans a cannon barrel.

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