Monday, January 25, 2016

Punching out

Firing up the puffer belly for the final sprint.

Another coast of paint on Bob.

Drilling and threading the bow and stern eyes.

Omo earns her stripes.

Routing in the dhow eye.

Final touch-up.

7:30 pm, four weeks out.Done.

And last night, th formal christening. A bottle of Bruce's grandpa's favorite whiskey for Bob.

And a scary bottle of Ethiopian gin from our 1986 Omo River trip, for Omo.

The road goes on forever and the party never ends.

And now I am off to Cinnamon Bay in the Virgin Islands for a little snorkeling with friends. See you in February.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Bob is back

Well, I've got about five days left in the shop before heading to a tropical paradise for a few weeks of R&R. So we are trying to get both boats in good shape before departing.  Yesterday we got all Omo's latches and landings in order. Although there are a lot of parts of building a boat that are not my favorites, they all seem to last a blessedly short time. We are never doing the same thing two days in a row. Here are Justin and Chelsea niggling away with latch landings.

Magic happens. They latches are done, the hatches all work. The hinges are all sparkly and happy. Me too. Well, maybe I'm not all that sparkly.

Big day today. Omo flipped over and got her bottom glassed. While her glass was kicking, Bob came down from the loft, got a bunch of topside details remedied, and flipped over for another coat of paint.

Omo got a flow coat of epoxy with graphite. They say the graphite makes the bottom slipperier when a rock decides to collide with the bottom, and less damage results. Hard saying, but it does look good, so I do it. The flow-coat kicked in what seems like seconds, so we were able to put on a coat of primer, thus readying her for her paint job tomorrow.

And speaking of tomorrow (that would be Thursday, January 21) if you're in Flagstaff, come on down to the Orpheum in the evening for a really goofy show. In August 2013 we did a wild river trip with BBC, running Major Powell-style boats with a bunch of crazy Brits and a few deranged Americans. Tomorrow will be the USA premiere of the film, which showed in the UK a while back. I will be narrating a brief warm-up show with clips from several previous recreations of the Powell endeavor. Should be a hoot. And there is a bar there.

P.S. Keep your eyes open for my colorful umbrella. The Director hated it and kept making me take it down. But it does get a cameo shot. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Put a lid on it

Hatch lids. I seem to have devised an inordinately complex system for this. It seems to work, and I love the end result, but damn, it's a lot of work. Making the guttering just so. Then cutting all the rims just so and making each piece fit just so. Then epoxying them together just so. And marking out the panel for each one and gluing it into the rim just so. Then grinding and sanding, and glassing each one off the goddam things. And then wondering how they could possibly not fit perfectly. And making it so once again.And the big ones need a bit of extra laminate to make them sufficiently stiff. And then there's then damned latches. I guess it only takes a few days, but sheesh. It is so fun when someone orders an open boat. Zoom.

A few other concurrent projects: the adjustable footbrace.

The... I'm not sure what to call these other than king of expensive. Walnut seat extension/hand grips/tie-downs. I kinda like them.

Still got to cut out the removable ransom for motoring.

Friday, January 15, 2016

A well oiled machine

The shop crew is getting a little too competent and making me struggle to keep a step ahead of things. Not that I'm complaining. We got the gunwales on before I got around to taking a picture of it happening. Justin and Janek are sighting in the final bolt holes.

Routing and sanding.

We had a few last bits to cast yesterday.

I finally did what I learned about at boat school--blunted the cutting edges of the drill bit to keep it from grabbing the bronze. It sure drills better. And makes cool feathery filings. We are willing out the oarlock holes in the top plate in the drill press to get them properly aligned. 

And then bolting them onto the boat for finishing off the oarlock holes.

Here's a tricky hole to drill. Four of them, actually. Trying to enter in the center of the angled oar block and come out the far side in the center of the outwale. We clamp an old dead level across the oarlock in such a position that it is exactly the same distance above the proposed entry and exit points of the drill. Then one of us sights the relative angles of the level and the drill bit until we think they are identical. Up a little. Up. Down a little. Shoot. It works pretty darned well.

Janek drew the short straw--oiling the interior of the hatches.

 A storm blowing in on the ski hill this morning. Better get back to the shop.

After a few altercations with the hatch lid rims and the five-minute epoxy, we got all six hatch lids shaped and assembled.

While the epoxy is kicking we cut in the high-level self-bailers in all three footwells. All the water over a foot deep will run out on its own by sheer gravity. The bottom foot or so will be pumped out automatically by the bilge pump.

With epoxy kicking everywhere there was nothing to do this evening but put on another coat of Tequila Beach deck paint and roll her over by the fire to dry for the night.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Shiny bits

The polishing wheels rest for a while. Black gradoo is everywhere.

And all the brass and bronze is very shiny.

I mined a bunch of walnut parts from a giant hunk Jim McKenzie gave me. Pretty stuff. Oiling up for its new life as gunwale blocking.

And Omo goes up toward the ceiling for the night so her paint can dry in the warmer air.

Go Pound Sand

We had a pretty big gang of sand pounders last night, casting countless bits for the Omo and a few other sundry projects. There's just something so fun about the hot, bright, loud, scary, magic of molten metal and stone-age sand molds.

We are melting down old worn out oarlocks, which are made of a high strength yellow brass, which is about 58% copper and 39% zinc, with traces of iron, tin, aluminum and manganese. The zinc begins burning off at melting temperature, emitting a bizarre green flame.

I failed to get shots of the grinding and polishing crew at work. But the net result of the evening is that we sometimes get a little dirty.