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.

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