Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Another successful flip

Jeff performed another of his magic tricks -- turning a 26 foot long hull upside down, right on the shop floor. This time, the lovely lady was Misleading Lady, who needed to be flipped in order to sand and ultimately fiberglass coat the bottom.  Normally, this is an absolute no-no at WoW, fiberglassing a wooden hull, but Misleading Lady is a special case. Her owner plans to keep her out of the water and in a sheltered enclosure except when she is in use. Therefore, in order to keep her from taking on water as she swells every time she is launched, the fiberglas bottom seems prudent.

The first step, gravity being what it is, was to turn her over so the soon-to-be-glassed bottom is accessible for epoxy coating and glassing.

The crew stands by the boat in slings. Jeff is planning.
Lower the hoist on the portside, and raise it on starboard.
Look Ma! One hand!
Charles gives her a final push.
And, down she goes.
Bob took over for Christian on the Becuna torpedo project. Bob finished up the tail end of the torpedo framework, which will be covered and painted to look like the real thing. The torpedo will be installed in a forward torpedo tube on the sub, and will be  one more interactive kid-friendly ISM display.

Bob finishes up the torpedo tail frame. Tube in background will be the body.
A couple of the student project skiffs are back in the shop for some minor repair. A bit of leaking at the chines needed to be repaired with some additional caulking and screw tightening.

Dave and Larry tighten some screws.
Esteban marks screws that are too close to the edge while Joe and Jen work on the other side.
Lagniappe, the Iain Oughtred sloop built by volunteer Charles and finished last winter at WoW has finally gotten her sails. They were made by sailmaker Brad Linthicum (Linthicum Sailmakers) in New Jersey and installed last week.

Lagniappe at the ISM dock sporting her new mainsail.
Traditionally rigged with steamed oak mast hoops.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Life after the skiffs

On schedule, the four Harbormaster Skiffs made it out of the shop and onto the floating dock, where they received their final touch ups of bottom paint and a bit more Sikaflex.  They were launched with great ceremony last week, and now are tied up in the basin and available for rowing. The shop has a LOT more room than it had a few weeks ago, but we will fill it up quickly.

On a rainy, gray day, the boats await launching.
Dave and Jen do some last minute filling with Sikaflex.
The whaleboats are back from the warehouse, oiled, repainted, and ready to be moved to their home at Mystic Seaport.  In the meanwhile, they bobbed proudly at their moorings outside the shop. We will miss seeing them and pointing them out to WoW visitors, but it will be nice to know that they will be in a good home aboard the whale ship Charles W. Morgan.

Our Morgan-bound whaleboats with Gazella in the background.
In the shop, the Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) stitch and glue canoe is moving toward completion. A layer of dynel has been applied to the bottom to protect it from damage once in the water. Then, a thorough sanding was followed by application of two part epoxy primer. 

Dynel will protect the bottom against scrapes and gouges.
A coat of epoxy primer covers the hull
This week, Jeff installed a nice set of ash rub rails to the canoe. They provide a great deal of rigidity to the sides, as well as protection from damage. Joe fabricated a pair of breasthooks, which will soon be installed. Inwales will be next.

A rub rail is glued to the canoe and clamped in place. 
Progress is being made on the Beetle Cat re-planking. Lee, Joe, Steve, and other volunteers work regularly on the project. Planking is always slow careful work, but the effort will pay off with a "like new" boat.

Jerry and Lee fit a plank, while Jeff advises.
A second plank is added to the port side.
With the skiffs in the water, the SAILOR kids are working on various nautical and boatbuilding theme projects with Dave and Jen.  One group spent a few hours learning to put an eye splice in nylon rope.

Jen and Dave check out some student-made eye splices.
Does this one go over or under???
The younger kids worked on some very nice tool boxes. Every boat builder needs his or her own toolbox, of course.

Working on a tool box. An assembled one sits on bench in foreground.
The crew is moving along on the repairs and re-varnishing of the enormous sandbagger rig, which now functions as a majestic yacht club flagpole. Rot pockets have been routed out, and new wood glued in place before fairing. One spar, the gaff, needed an entire surface removed, which Jeff and Newt accomplished at the band saw. A new Sitka spruce board was glued in place and faired before varnish will be applied.

Repairs are extensive on the gaff.
Our new intern, Esteban, has arrived and immediately went to work varnishing, sanding, and doing a repair to the spreaders, where a support block had significant decay.

A new block must be fabricated and attached to the spreader.
Esteban measures the replacement block. Spars in background await additional varnish.
Jeff, Charles, and other volunteers got to do an unusual project this week, a replacement light post for the Betsy Ross house on Arch Street.  One of the four old posts had rotted, and needed to be replicated and the new one put in place by Flag Day. Jeff got a beautiful red cedar post, routed out a channel for electric wire, and Charles, Steve, and Larry shaped the post, epoxied it to protect it from rot, and drilled holes for the wire and hardware.

The new light post beside the old one.
Just about ready for finishing and drilling.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Toward the water

All the boats in the Workshop on the Water are moving closer to the team's goal of getting them wet. Even Misleading Lady, which still has lots of work to be completed, is headed for a splash, albeit a brief one. She needs to be put in so that her true waterline can be determined. This is just one more challenge in doing a total restoration on a boat for which no plans, no examples, and no recollections exist.

More immediate, and more permanent is the splash planned for the four Harbormaster Skiffs later this month. Final work is being completed on them, with primer having been applied, rub rails being fabricated and fastened, and oarlocks being shaped and screwed in place. Thwarts have been made and fastened in place in all four boats

Thwarts -- 3 per boat.
The kids get involved in fastening thwarts.
Jeff explains the use of the router table for shaping rub rails.
Wood goes through, fingers do not!
Jen and Robinson fasten a rub rail to the skiff's sheer strake.
Looking very sharp. One inch rope will be fastened in rail's cove later.
If these skiffs are going to be rowed, they will need to have a set of oars, and several WoW volunteers have taken on the task of making a pair of oars for each boat -- eight in all. The oars will be made of ash, which is durable, strong, and traditional. It is a bit heavy for young oarsmen, so as much wood as practical will be removed to lighten them.

Dave trims the blade on an oar blank on the bandsaw.
Charles cuts a blade while Dave goes to the pile for the next one.
Oar blanks await the next step.

Lee does the final shaping of an oar shaft.

No boat is complete without a name painted on the transom, and the four skiffs are getting theirs. The first to be named is Nemo, and its highly designed multicolor graphic has begun to take shape.

Nemo gets a name.
 Poseidon is another skiff name being applied by Jen and the kids.

May not be readable, but is sure is pretty.
 Elsewhere in the boatshop, other work is moving along. The Beetle Cat now has both of her new garboard planks fastened in place, thanks to the combined effort of volunteers, primarily Lee, Steve, John, and Joe.

New garboards on the Beetle Cat.
John and Charles are up to varnish coat seven on the new companionway hatch cover for the sloop Hard Tack. This raises the old boat maintenance question of how do you know you have applied enough coats of varnish? The answer being, when you have run out of time.

Definitely getting there.
Joe and Charles took a turn at sanding smooth the CLC stitch and glue canoe, in preparation for a coat of Dynel on the bottom and paint over everything. 

A LOT of sanding.
Jeff, Newt, and John are working on refinishing the old Sandbagger rig cum flagpole. Rot pockets in the upper side of the gaff are being addressed by ripping an inch of bad wood off the surface. New wood will be glued to the gaff, and then will be shaped and faired before sealer and varnish are applied.

John, Jeff, and Newt push the gaff through the band saw to remove the rotted wood.
Only a few more feet to go.
Newt gets ready to plan the gluing surface flat.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Good Smells

Visitors to the Workshop on the Water frequently comment about the pleasant aromas in the shop. Those of us who work or volunteer there tend to become desensitized to the smells, but it is nice to be reminded that a boatshop has, in addition to its unique sounds and sights, a pleasing scent. This week, a combination of milling of cedar for Beetle Cat planks , Tung Oil being applied to the interior of the Harbormaster skiffs, and spar varnish brushed onto Misleading Lady's ceiling boards and Hard Tack's new hatch cover, made WoW an especially fragrant place.

The four skiffs are really close to completion. Dave, Jen, and the kids finished installing knees and thwart risers, and also added a second coat of Tung oil to the interiors. The exteriors are all filled, sanded, and awaiting paint. Thwarts are being fitted, and oars are being made.

A transom knee braces the transom to the sheer strake.
Jen holds a thwart riser in place while Dave tightens a clamp.
Fine tuning a thwart template with a joggle stick.

Those first two planks, the garboards, are nearly ready for fastening on the Beetle Cat. The edge of each plank must be precisely fitted to the rabbet in the keel, which requires careful planing and adjusting.  The next step will be to bed and fasten the garboards, before moving on to the next planks.

Joe, Bob, and Jeff test fit a garboard.
Lee tweaks the forward edge of the garboard plank with a hand plane.
Misleading Lady is finally getting her mechanicals installed. The steering quadrant is in place on the rudder, and Jeff and Newt are fitting the steering shaft, which is a long iron pipe running from the steering station back to the rudder.  Jeff has finalized the shape and location of the operator's seat, so fabrication can begin. There is no documentation of this part of the boat, so it is a "best guess" effort.

Misleading Lady's rudder post, quadrant, and iron pipe steering shaft.
The wheel and steering column test fitted up forward.
Mocked up operator's bench. Instrument panel template visible on bench.
Varnish is going on Misleading Lady's ceiling and Hard Tack's hatch cover, thanks to John. Several coats are on and there are more to follow.

Underside of hatch cover sanded and awaiting the next coat of varnish.
When it dries, we'll sand it and do it again.
A stack of ceiling boards ready for the next coat.
The old sandbagger rig cum flagpole is being scraped down and sanded in preparation for a complete refinishing. This is slow, labor intensive work. After the finish is completely removed, it will be possible to see what repairs will be necessary. Meanwhile, the rig provides a very effective barrier between two sides of the shop

A lot of scraping and sanding await.