Saturday, November 23, 2013

Steaming and Drilling

A big space has been cleared at the front of the shop for students in the ongoing SAILOR Program.  Every Wednesday, the floor is filled with white painted plywood lofting boards, as the kids learn to transfer boat designs from plans to full size patterns.  The program is still gearing up, and more groups are scheduled to start soon.  

Volunteers, meanwhile, continue to work on the Beetle Cat restoration.  We are still engaging in "tag team" frame replacement, with each group of volunteers taking over from the team that worked the previous day.  Slowly but surely, the new frames are being bent and fastened.  We are well over half way in the process.

Some more oak frames-to-be steam in preparation for bending.
Bob M. contemplates his next move.
A whole line of newly bent and installed frames.
The "Holiday Boat" has left the shop and now sits in the ISM lobby as part of the seasonal decorations.  Fittingly, before being put on display, she got a fresh coat of green topside paint, applied by volunteers.

The holiday boat, a Whitehall, ready to go on display.
Charles and friends, most notably Bob F., continue the mechanical installation on the Oughtred Grey Seal.  The 1200 pound lead ballast is completely installed -- bedded, bolted in place, faired, and painted.

Ballast faired into skeg using thickened epoxy which was later sanded smooth.
The ballast is complete -- sanded and painted.

Work has turned to the engine installation.  First step was hoisting the engine, a rebuilt Yanmar 1GM, into position on the engine bearings.

The engine is lowered into position below the cockpit sole.
  Once the engine was set in its approximate location, the location and slope of the prop shaft needed to be determined.  This was accomplished by mounting a board along the centerline of the boat, using a plumb line to transfer the slope of the engine bearers to that board, and extending the slope aft.  The drill bit was then positioned at the same angle, and at the height appropriate to drill the  36 inch deep shaft hole.

Slope of engine bearers and height of engine coupling is drawn on board at centerline of hull.
Guide blocks were mounted to supports at the appropriate height to begin drilling.  The drill bit -- a 24 inch long 5/8 inch auger bit -- was inserted into the guide, and drilling began.  Because one of the major problems in drilling deep, deep holes like this is that the drill bit moves off center because of density variations in the wood, the tip of the auger had to be ground off, creating a "barefoot" auger bit.  This configuration stays much truer, but cuts very much slower.

The slope and height have been transferred to the drilling guides.

Once the drill has gone a foot and a half or so into the wood, the guides can be safely removed, and drilling can proceed.  The last foot of drilling will require the addition of a drill bit extender.

Charles drilling -- the bit is about 15 inches in at this point.


Friday, November 15, 2013

It's Getting Cold Outside

The weather outside is getting colder and the wind is up.  Fortunately, most of the work at WoW is indoors, in the comfortable heated and air conditioned shop.  

The WoW volunteers are approaching the end of the re-framing project on the Beetle Cat.  Lee and Bob M. added several more, as we move aft in the boat. Nearly all the half frames that end at the centerboard slot have been replaced, and the full frames toward the transom are being done.  It is a slow, fussy, and laborious job, but it feels good to be contributing to the survival of another classic boat.

Bob fastens a frame on the starboard side. . .
while Lee does the same on the port,
The whaleboats were the last boats to leave the basin for the year. The other members of the ISM fleet are safely tucked away for the winter in the Navy Yard warehouse.  Once out of the water, and with a new coat of oil on her interior, the second of the whaleboats was trailered to the warehouse to join the fleet.

Bob F. fastens straps on the whaleboat.
Hitched up and almost ready to go.  See you next Spring.
With a goal of launching her next Spring, work continues on Misleading Lady. Newt is in charge of the finish carpentry and the stain and varnish jobs currently being done, and is carefully adding trim to the underside of the engine hatch covers.

Newt hand sands a strip of oak trim for the hatch cover underside.
The Oughtred Grey Seal, "Lagniappe" has her keel ballast fully installed.  The ballast was bedded in BoatLife, and through-bolted to the keel with nine 1/2 inch bronze rods.  Hours were spent drilling the holes through the lead, and even more hours went into drilling countersinks in the underside of the ballast to hide the lower washers and nuts.  

Ballast clamped into position for drilling
Holes drilled, and ready for a thick layer of Boatlife caulk.
Bob is drilling holes to countersink nuts at end of keel bolts.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Preparing for Winter

The fleet has been hauled, washed, and trailered to the warehouse for winter storage.  The basin looks fairly empty now, and will be until next spring.  The whaleboats are still in the water, and may be rowed a few more times before they too are hauled.  
George ties up whaleboat rigs for winter storage.
Whaleboat sail hanging out to dry thoroughly before being stored.

Inside the shop, however, there are boats and there is an increasing level of activity. We are gearing up for the student boatbuilding program, and expect that soon there will be as many as four or five small craft under construction by students and their advisers.  The front half of the shop has been cleared for the students, a special tool cabinet and a safety equipment locker have been installed, lofting boards have gotten a new coat of white paint, and we have begun to hear young animated voices over the din of shop machinery. 

Steve built a tool cabinet for the student boatbuilding programs.
Work on the Beetle Cat continues, with volunteers moving through the laborious task of removing and replacing frames.  About half of the frames have been replaced already as we move from bow to stern.  When the frames have been replaced, we will cut a new transom to replace the present one, which is showing signs of rot and has several significant cracks.   Even though we will not be putting on a new deck for a while, volunteers have begun to mill cedar and to cut out deck boards using the old ones for patterns.

Lee and Steve plane cedar to 1/2 inch thickness for deck boards.
The new kingplank is ready for installation.
Volunteers John and Bob fasten a new frame to the sheer clamp.
Lots of new frames in place and fastened.
Meanwhile, Newt is in charge of making the Ventnor runabout, Misleading Lady, as pretty as she was when she left the factory in 1928.  Careful cycles of varnishing and sanding are the only way to do this work, and that takes lots of time.

Varnish, sand, varnish, sand, varnish, sand . . .
The shop got a new resident this week. Volunteer Charles brought in his newly built Iain Oughtred designed "Grey Seal" named Lagniappe. She is a 22 foot gunter rigged sloop. Some heavy work, much more easily accomplished at WoW than in the garage will be done.  First on the agenda is the installation of the 1200 pound lead keel ballast.  Later, the engine will be installed and some standing rigging fabricated and installed.  

Steve, Charles, and Jeff plan the move of Lagniappe into the shop.
In position next to Misleading Lady.
The lead ballast being jacked up into position.