Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring work

The student-built Harbormaster skiffs are moving along nicely now, and are not far from being ready to launch.  Bottom paint has been applied to several, and frames are being fastened. The seemingly endless job of cleaning up Sikaflex ooze is always there whenever anyone has a free minute or two.

The kids had a brief ceremony and an extended photo-op when they turned over two of the skiffs last week.  Several learned that it is tough to take a "selfie" on your cell phone while holding a boat up over your head.  

Up, up, and . . .
Hold that pose!
Over she goes.
Volunteers, along with boatshop educators Dave and Jen, have been working together with the students to make sure the launch can occur on time.  Planks were milled, frames fastened, paint applied, knot holes bunged, etc.

Joe finishes up milling a plank.  They are all done now.
Larry scrapes oozed Sikaflex in one of the skiffs before frames are attached.
Dave protects his frames against attackers, real or imagined.
Two bottoms painted, two more to go.
Charles continues to work on the new companionway hatch cover for Hard Tack.  The goal is to replicate the original  (same shape, material, color, and overall appearance) while improving the watertight capability. 

Squaring up the edges for addition of end caps.
Charles is also proceeding with the rigging of the sloop Lagniappe, an Iain Oughtred designed Grey Seal gunter rigged sloop.  The mast has been rigged, and installed on the boat. The next order of business is acquiring sails.

Lagniappe's mast rigged and ready to be stepped.
John and Larry hold the mast in place while Charles fastens the headstay turnbuckle.
The mast installation crew: Larry, Jeff, John, and Joe.
Starting to look like a sailboat.
Speaking of masts, a new arrival in the shop is a vintage sandbagger mast currently being used as a flagpole. This huge structure is in the shop for some rot repair and a thorough refinishing. It was in before, five or six years ago, and received 10 coats of varnish at the time.  They held up well, but no finish lasts forever, and it is time to do some maintenance.

Levi scrapes the topmast prior to sanding.
The huge mast covers more than half the length of the shop.
The Beetle Cat is moving along.  Volunteers have been cutting planks, and also fitting the new stern post to the keel and transom.

Bob mortises the skeg to receive the gudgeon end.
Joe rivets the gudgeon to the new sternpost
The surest sign that spring is close at hand is the annual visit of the A. J. Meerwald, the New Jersey state tall ship.  Meerwald came up the river from her home port in Bivalve, NJ. 

Busy dock with Meerwald, Patriot, Lagniappe, and a few Whitehalls to boot.

Friday, April 4, 2014

You've got to have wood.

The Harbormaster skiffs are progressing very nicely thanks to the combined effort of students, volunteers, and especially Dave and Jen.  All four bottoms have been planked, and the first two boats have had their skegs fastened and have been turned upright for interior work.  The other two will be flipped by the SAILOR program students next week.

Once upright, one can see that the skiffs are really very pretty little boats.  

Flipped and looking good.
There is still a lot of work to be done, and Jen, Dave, and volunteer Robinson were working hard at the remaining tasks.  The two remaining skegs needed bolts to be fabricated, and that task was handled by Jen and Robinson.

Robinson threads a copper rod to make a keel bolt.
Jen and students contemplate fastening a bottom.
Dave spent some time fairing the edges of the bottom planks before turning the last two skiffs.  He also began fastening the frames and floors in the two upright boats.

Molds have been removed, and will be stored for use in the future.

Dave checks the fairness of the transom.
Most of the frames are in place in this boat.
We got a good batch of New Jersey white cedar from Chip and Kurt at Medford Cedar last week.  Bad weather delayed milling, but the wood is definitely worth having waited for. It is especially nice to be able to buy good quality wood grown locally, just as local boatbuilders have done for many years.

Now that there is plenty of cedar in the shop, work is proceeding on the Beetle catboat.  

Lee and John select cedar for Beetle Cat planking.  Jeff offers sage advice.
John and Lee feed a board through the planer.
The first garboard plank for the Beetle Cat has been cut and fitted.  It's a good and welcome start, but there are many more planks to go.

Lee test fits a garboard plank.
One down, LOTS to go.
Charles began making a replacement companionway hatch cover for the Herreshoff sloop Hard Tack. The original cover blew off on the highway as the boat was being trailered to the museum last fall.  The old mahogany assembly suffered too much damage and had to be replaced in time for spring sailing this year.

/The old hatch cover has seen better days-- too many of them.
A stack of mahogany boards and splines will be turned into a new hatch cover.
Fitting the top around curved mahogany beams.
Screwed in place, awaiting bungs.
Volunteer Dave drew the assignment of sanding and staining the many lengths of mahogany which will become the ceiling in Misleading Lady's interior.  The work is fussy because any scratches in the wood will be emphasized once stain is applied.  Dave did a great job and the ceiling boards look perfect.

Dave sands boards for Misleading Lady ceiling.
Dave applies stain while Jerry looks on. Note completed boards on horses below.