Sunday, May 2, 2010

Full Weekend.

It has been a very busy weekend. We were fortunate to have another class with wonderful weather that allowed us to work outdoors, which is something I really enjoy. When the weather is good like this we spend a little less time moving boats into the shop and more time building.

The students had some fantastic accomplishments this weekend. One student and her sister just recently finished the prep work on the inside of her Wee Lassie canoe. Many people feel keeps going on and on and on and on.... This work starts with scraping out any residual glue and smoothing the inside of the canoe, which is made more difficult by the concave interior surfaces. Any checks or voids get filled with dookie shmutz and this gets sanded again. We generally apply a sealer coat of epoxy over the whole interior. We finish up by putting a layer of fiberglass and epoxy on the interior. We do this fairly carefully by saturating the cloth and then going back over it with a squeegee to remove excess epoxy and get a nice matte finish that leaves the texture of the cloth. We want the texture in the interior surface of the boat so that it isn't as slippery when it is being used. It is a real milestone in the building process because all that's left is trim work.

The couple who are building the Prospector Ranger fitted the two bottom panels on their canoe. We fit them as panels as opposed to fitting each bottom strip individually - it is quicker from a building standpoint and I find that it is easier for novice woodworkers to get good results. This is another milestone in that all of the hull woodwork is complete. For large boats, the last plank put on the hull is known as the "whiskey plank". It is cause for celebration - traditionally in the form of an alcoholic libation. The cut and fit are complete and next week we will glue the hull panels in place using inner-tubes to clamp them into position.

Another of my students has just completed his Wee Lassie II. This boat is known as the Double Espresso as this gentleman owns a business selling coffee and has been kind enough to bring in a coffee machine and supplies for the class's 10 O'clock "union break". The canoe has a Western Red Cedar hull with Poplar and Spanish Cedar for a feature strip. The thwart, seat gunnels and coamings are all Mahogany and the decks are Tiger Maple surrounding a Mahogany center stripe. The desk have both an elegant arc and taper to them. The boat still needs the seat to be caned and some varnish, but essentially it was ready to paddle.

After we got the boats put away, I went home for a quick lunch and then headed out to take the family to a circus which was in the area this weekend. Lions, tigers and (no) bears - oh my... I think they had a good time although DS was disappointed not to come home with one of the lighted novelties that they had for sale at the circus. DD simply thought that all the animals were, "Sooo cute!"

We had a nice family dinner out afterward. Low key - which was nice.

Today, my fellow instructors and I had a mission at the school - clean. We arrived at the shop just before 9 AM and proceeded to take the place apart. As my DW pointed out to me this afternoon, nobody has done this level of cleaning in the shop in about 10 years or more - and the place needed it. We cleared out odds and ends of hardware, wood, cardboard, sawdust, chips, cobwebs and myriad other items that were, to be kind, "past use". We brushed down the walls, ceilings, floors and tools. We cleaned out all the dust collection equipment. We spent nearly 7 hours cleaning the shop - and it really shows. We still have more that we'd like to do to clean up and organize, but that will have to wait for another day.

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