Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

Sometimes the best thing you can do in the shop is - nothing.


I can see some of you aren't taking me seriously here.

You should.

Let me explain.

Over the last few weeks, I've been working to get the skin-on-frame kayak ready for skinning.  It's not that difficult or time-consuming, but I've got to carve out bits of time to do some small tasks.  Things like finishing up the coaming, hatch and rim.  This involves getting them sanded and varnished and putting lacing holes in the coaming and the rim.  Then, I've got to put the last coat of urethane on the frame.  I've also collected all the necessary skinning materials and tools.  Great.  Just the way any good project goes - in small, manageable bits.

Tonight, I have four small tasks to do.  One is to coat a small piece of fabric with some yellow oil-based enamel.  Part has been pre-coated with polyurethane to seal it and the other is bare.  I want to see how the fabric penetrates.  Then I read the can.  It's not the oil-based paint I asked for, but a can of water-based acrylic.  Not the right stuff.  Dang.  Can't do it.

The next task is to install the foot brace in the boat now that I've done the finished coating.  It involves installing four bolts, washers and lock-washers in pre-drilled holes.  The task goes something like this:
  • Collect hardware and foot braces.  
  • Get power driver and install bolts through foot brace and frame.  
  • Remove bolts. 
  • Take power driver and install bolts through foot brace and frame with foot braces right-side up.
  • Look for wrench.
  • Got get wrench from toolbox. (On far side of basement.)
  • Go get proper sized wrench from toolbox.
  • Get screwdriver that I've forgotten from toolbox
  • Install washer.
  • Grab lock nut.
  • Pick up washer from floor and re-install.
  • Start threading on nut.
  • Pick up nut from floor and install.
  • Repeat for other three washers and lock nuts.
I finally got the foot braces installed and put the tools away.

After the last two tasks, I should have thrown in the towel.  I didn't, however - much to my chagrin.

I'm worried that the coating I'm planning to use on the fabric will penetrate the cloth and stick to the frame.  To prevent that, I figured that I'd wax the frame members where they contact the fabric.  I was originally thinking of using some beeswax that I have around for the task, but instead decided to go find some paste car wax as it would be easier to apply.  I'm out of paste wax.  I do, however, have a bottle of Mother's Carnuba wax liquid that's probably about 20% full.  I figure that this will do and it is a good excuse to finish up the last bit of the wax which has been hanging around for longer than I'd care to admit.

I open the nozzle and invert the bottle squeezing liquid into the cloth and applying it to the frame.  As I'm working, the nozzle clogs slightly and I give the bottle what I figure is a gentle squeeze.  The bottle shatters in my hand covering me from head to toe in liquid wax.  The stuff is everywhere.  It's like the contents of the bottle have atomized across the basement. 

Murphy.  You SOB.

I get the rag and some alcohol and do the best I can to clean the floor and everything else that is covered in wax.

Again, I should have stopped here.  But I didn't.

Last task - sew some small loops of webbing to the frame with D-Rings for the back-rest.  I cut the webbing to length and slip it and the D-Ring in place.  I thread the needle (after sending it flying out of the package and searching for it) and start sewing.  On my third stitch, I send the needle into my thumb.  At this point, I recognize that the evening is doomed in the shop and head upstairs.

While I hope you have a chuckle or two at my expense, I do want you to take away an important message here.  If you're working in the shop and you're tired, angry, frustrated, or distracted, you're much more likely to have problems, or worse - and accident that causes injury.  I've spoken about this before and I can't emphasize it enough.  For now, I'm heading to the Thotful Spot with a restorative beverage.


Da Goof said...

I thought you learned that lesson years ago with my feature strip incident....

Canoez said...

Well, as I recall, that was part of the shop 'introduction', too.

Then again, you need to remember that the best advice we always disregard is our own, eh?