Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sad, Indeed.

The picture above is of the replica of the Bounty built in Lunenburg , Nova Scotia in 1960 for the filming of Mutiny on the Bounty. The ship had been used as a traveling tourist attraction and had worked as a film ship in other movies including Pirates of the Caribbean.  This past weekend, the captain made the decision to try to take the ship out of port in New London, Connecticut and head out to sea to avoid the effects of Hurricane Sandy as they made their way to an event that was scheduled to be in Florida.

On their way, there were updates posted on their Facebook page about the conditions and the ship itself.  Progressive failures of equipment and leaks gave an ominous hint of the ship's fate.  At the last contact the ship's owner had with the captain at about 4:00 AM, he reported that they were taking on water and were preparing to abandon ship.  The crew got into survival gear and started boarding the life rafts.  As the captain and two crew members were about to board the life rafts, they were washed overboard by a wave.  One of the crew members managed to make it to a raft.

The US Coast Guard sent an aircraft to locate the ship by it's EPIRB.  Helicopters were then dispatched to that location and 14 of the crew of 16 were rescued.  Helicopters then proceeded to search for the remaining two crew members - the captain and a mate.

The mate, Claudene Christian - a descendant of Fletcher Christian; the original Bounty's mate - was found unresponsive in the water and later declared dead at the hospital.  The picture below is of her and the ship

Captain Robin Walbridge is still missing and presumed dead, although the Coast Guard continued their search for him on Tuesday.

This was a truly tragic day out on the water.  Investigations will take place to find out the cause of the loss, but I'll not second-guess the decisions made by captain and crew of the Bounty. I'm sure more facts and details will come out as time goes on and the crew talks to the media.

This last picture was taken by a Coast Guard crewman on the rescue helicopter as the Bounty was sinking.  Sad ending.

 A friend who is a sailor posted the following today in memory of those lost.  It seemed like an appropriate ending to this post.

Flaunt out O Sea, your separate flags of nations!
Flaunt out, visible as ever, the various ship-signals!
But do you reserve especially for yourself, and for the soul of man, one flag above all the rest,
A spiritual woven Signal, for all nations, emblem of man elate above death,
Token of all brave captains, and all intrepid sailors and mates,
And all that went down doing their duty;
Reminiscent of them’twined from all intrepid captains, young or old;
A pennant universal, subtly waving, all time, o’er all brave sailors,
All seas, all ships.

Walt Whitman

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012

Saturday, October 13, 2012


On Tuesday, I mentioned that I would post the design and a material list for the folding sawhorses.  Here it is.

Material List:

Qty 2 - 2x4 8 foot long
Qty 4 - 2-1/2" Hex head 1/4" Bolt, 1/4-20 thread
Qty 4 - 1/4-20 Nylock Hex nut
Qty 12 - 1/4" ID, 1" OD fender washers
Qty 32 - #8x1-1/2" Deck Screws (Do NOT use drywall screws - they are brittle and will snap!)
Wood Glue
6' of 1/8" Nylon Line

And here are the drawings (Click to enlarge - you should be able to save and print these JPEG format files) :

 To start, I ripped one of the 2x4's into three 1" wide by 1-1/2" tall strips - reserve the scrap for later as it will have a use.  Cut the pieces to length and add the 20° cuts to the ends.  I found a miter saw to be very handy for this.  I then cut a 24" long piece of the second 2x4 and ripped it to get the top pieces.    I then cut the pieces I didn't get out of the first 2x4 out of the remainder of the second one.  There should be enough left to cut a piece that is cut down the middle of the 2x4 at a 20° angle to use as French cleats to be able to hang the sawhorses on the wall if you so desire.

To drill the holes, I used a drill press to assure myself that the holes would be square.  I also made sure that I measured all of the pieces from the bottom to be sure that the hinges would be properly located.

To assemble the inner leg assembly, I took the piece of leftover scrap from ripping the first 2x4 and cut two sections 18" long.  These were put on the bench and the 20" stretchers were put on top of them.  The scrap acts as a spacer to roughly center the short stretchers on the inner legs.  I pre-drilled the holes for the screws in the inner legs and then put glue between the stretchers and the side rails.  Clamping the pieces in place, I then screwed the parts in place using the deck screws. (two per joint)

 The outer leg assembly is a bit trickier.  The long stretcher is put on the outer legs, pre-drilled, then glued and screwed in place.  Be sure the legs are square to the stretchers and that the legs are parallel.  Similarly, pre-drill, glue and screw the top to the ends of the outer legs.

Now that the two leg assemblies are complete, insert the bolts through the appropriate holes from the outside.  There shoudl be a washer underneath the bolt's head, between the inner and outer leg, and on the inside of the inner leg before the nut is installed.  It will be difficult to get the washer between the inner and outer legs, but this is necessary.  Tighten to get an appropriate amount of friction. 

Cut the nylon line into two pieces and seal the ends with a flame.   Tie a loop around each of the bottom stretchers to keep the legs from spreading too far.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

One of the more useful tools in a boat shop are sawhorses - they're handy for so many things.  They can be cheap to build and relatively lightweight.  However, when they're not in use traditional sawhorses take up a lot of space.

I've looked at commercial folding sawhorses - and actually own one metal one.  It's nice, but at about $35 a pop, they're not cheap and they're not light at about 20 pounds each.  In addition, depending on the height that they're set to, you can't fold the legs up beneath the cross-rail.  They do, however, support a HUGE amount of weight - 1200 pounds!  Most of "sheet metal" sawhorse designs I don't much care for and they just seem a bit wimpy, actually.

I don't much care for the plastic sawhorses that are available - they're on the heavy side, they flex a bit and they're also not inexpensive.  I also have a bit of a problem with the idea of making more plastic things.

A gentleman by the name of Greg Nolan who is active in the WCHA and at the WoodenBoat Forum suggested some plywood knock-down designs that look very nice, really.  The sad part is that plywood has gotten fairly expensive.

I decided that I'd give a try at designing some of my own.  I wanted them to be inexpensive, quick to make, stable, light-weight and easy to store.  Because we're not holding up a large amount of weight with the boats we're building, that wasn't a huge concern.  We also don't need particularly tall sawhorses.  Here's what I came up with:

These are 28" tall, 24" wide and while I haven't weighed them yet, they're very light.

They fold down flat - as you can see in the image below.

As for materials?  To make 2 sawhorses, you're looking at two 2x4's worth of material (with leftover material!), 32 deck screws, four bolts, 12 washers, 4 nuts, four feet of nylon line and a bit of glue.  They are actually strong enough for me to sit on, so I'm pretty pleased with the strength.  When folded, the top is at an angle which allows them to be hung on a wall with a French cleat - clearing floor space.

I'll post a how-to later this week with a drawings, a material list and cost breakdown.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Ok, I changed my mind. Shocking.

I was going to post a wise as... er...  smart a...  *AHEM!*  snide comment about yesterday's Wordless Wednesday post.  Basically, the comment was something along the lines of, "That sculpture was the best use for those boats".

What do I mean?

Well, I'm talking about plastic-fantastic, poly, tupper-yaks, f@#!g!@$$, beer-can boats and all of the other derogatory comments made about plastic, fiberglass and aluminum boats.  The truth of the matter is that not everyone can afford to build or buy a nice wooden boat.  The important part is whatever boat that you enjoy, gets you out on the water safely, and brings you back home again is a good boat.  Period. 

Just so you know that I'm not a wooden boat snob, here's a little history of my boating.  The first paddle-powered boat I ever went in (as a very small passenger) was a green cedar and canvas canoe - probably an Old Town.  I learned to paddle by myself in a plastic Coleman canoe.  As a Scout, most of my canoe trips were made in a borrowed aluminum canoe.  The first boat I owned was a bright red fiberglass Allagash Nomad (with beautiful ash trim, I might add...).  The next boat was a Kevlar Wilderness Designs Boston Cruiser - a flatwater racing kayak.  The Boston Cruiser was rapidly followed up by a fiberglass Seda Swift sea kayak which I still own almost 20 years later.  In our stables we now have a tupper-yak of our own - a Crayola yellow 12' long Old Town Vapor purchased for my DW's birthday this year.  It's not my cup of tea, but it gets her out on the water and feeling comfortable - which is an accomplishment in itself.

So, while my personal preference is for a light-weight, pretty wood boat, I still wouldn't turn down a ride in almost any boat.

Get out and paddle!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Photo by Russell Reinke

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

Cleanliness is next to...  Impossible?

A friend has a tag-line on his profile at an online forum that reads, "Never trust a man with a clean workshop."  I guess that I have to say that I am eminently trustworthy.  My shop is never neat as a pin but I'm trying to do better.  There are a bunch of reasons that I think that a clean, well-organized shop is such a good idea.

First and foremost is safety.  You want the floor clean and clutter-free.  If you've got lots of things lying around on the floor, they're a tripping hazard.   This can include off-cuts and other scrap as you're working.  Also, if you've got lots of shavings and dust around, they are a fire/explosion hazard.  Dust, and in particular, dust that can get airborne is a respiratory hazard.

The second great reason for cleanliness is if you're going to be applying finishes in the shop.  Most of us don't have the luxury of having a separate finishing room or booth that we can keep scrupulously clean. We've got to make do in the shop.  If you've got a reasonably clean shop, you don't have to worry about dust or grease contaminating your finish.

The third great reason for a clean and well organized shop is your ability to simply find things and work efficiently.  While I'm not a great fan of the, "He who dies with the most tools, wins" point of view, I am a great proponent of the "It's not the clothes that makes the man, it's the tools" perspective.  Being that this is true, I've got quite a few tools.  First, as a homeowner, you need quite a few tools to maintain the house.  Then you need to be able to maintain the equipment you use to maintain the house (chainsaw, snowblower, lawnmower, etc...). Then you've got the hobby tools and then hardware, paints, varnishes and...  Well, I think you get my drift.  Lots of tools and hardware. 

They all need a well organized and well labelled place just to keep you sane.  If you don't, you'll be going to the hardware store for things you've already got and can't find or spending all your time looking for the things you think you've got but actually don't and finally heading out to the hardware store to get them.  Don't ask me how I know this.

How can you accomplish this?  Well, first, a good dust collection system with a chip separator for your tools is a great first step.  Most, if not all stationary power tools have some sort of dust port on them and many hand tools do as well.  Another good addition is an overhead air filter to remove any airborne dust to get what the dust collection system may have missed.  Use a downdraft table for sanding.  Have bins/boxes/totes/shelves/toolboxes for your tools and hardware that are neat and well labelled.   (Pay attention to moisture issues with tool storage!) Put tools away when you're done with them.  Keep a scrap barrel for dust and off-cuts that you don't intend to save.  (I have yet to see a good system for keeping off-cuts that you DO intend to save - they're always different sizes and shapes that don't lend themselves to good storage.)  Have a good dust pan and bench broom for cleaning up.  Periodically clear out the cobwebs and the corners with the shop vacuum.

Once you get the good habits going, it makes it much easier to keep the shop tidy and helps to make it a much more pleasant place to work.