Some days it seems like things are at a standstill, and other days it seems like the end is coming toward me pretty quickly. Hard sayin.' Today went well--I got the last of the bulkheads finished and, using 37 of my 38 favorite clamps, got all the bulkheads into place just to make sure that the net result would still be a boat. Looking good, actually. Surprisingly good. I could call it gorgeous and not be too far off.
I spent way too much time driving around town taking hours to do ten-minute errands. But back home, finally, I had one great conversation. For years I have been trying to come up with the perfect deck paint color. I want it to be the color of Grand Canyon sand--the color that the boat usually is anyhow, so the boat always looks reasonably tidy even when it isn't. Not to light and bright and glaring, not too dark and hot in the desert sun. Reverse camouflage. I've tried several times to pick the right color, but it always comes out...close... but not quite right. So last fall I collected a vial of sand from the beach below Lava Falls. It is a lovely beach with sand particles from the entire Colorado drainage, and more than a few of my dead brain cells from many years of celebrations. We used to call that camp Lower Lava, but nowadays most folks seem to call it Tequila Beach.
I glued the sand to a card today and called the George Kirby Jr. Paint Company in Massachusetts--known and revered among traditional boatbuilders as makers of the best boat paint, made the old way, tough as nails, high in pigment so you don't have to put on a million coats.
I asked if I sent him a card if he could match the color. He said yes.
"Actually," I said, "it is a bunch of sand glued to a card, and there are a lot of colors in there, but maybe your color analyzer gizmo can average that out, eh?"
"Well." he said, "our color analyzer is my cousin Bill. He's 55, but his eyes are still pretty good."
I am feeling pretty good about this. And especially good about being able to call the color Tequila Beach.
Back in the shop this evening I got all the bulkheads sanded and ready to glass, then glassed them up. I still have to scamper back down there and give them a flow coat so they can go back in the boat tomorrow. For good.