Recent work

Just a few more hurricane related images to start. We lost power for a few days after the hurricane, but that didn’t stop us from making coffee.

Yes, that’s a generator powering the coffee pot. No, that’s not all we used it for…

The wind did a number on one area of the plastic cover over the boat. Normally it’s nice and tight like this.

However, way aft it got torn pretty badly.

That was the worst of it, and it was fixed within a day. I’d say we sailed through this storm pretty much unscathed.

So, back to boat work. Let’s start with the bow and go aft today.

Just forward of the bow, Trevor and Shawn have been building a new access door and staging platform for bringing planks into the boat.

The planking on the boat has progressed quite a bit, and as the planking guys go up the boat the staging access has to change as well.

The staging has been set up around the sides of the boat for a while

but this allows better access for bringing long planks into the mid-level of the boat.

I’ve been tuning up the stem rabbet lately. When Doug patterned out and cut the stem, he left the rabbet a little fat with the expectation that it would be fine-tuned on the boat. As the planks are now going on, it’s time to do that. We want the rabbet to meet the planks at close to a right angle. Here is a view of the rabbet prior to being tuned up.

The rabbet has been cut where it meets the plank, but left fat above that.

The angle of the rabbet relative to the face of the stem changes as it goes upwards to account for the changing hull shape. This is called a rolling bevel. Besides meeting the plank ends at a 90 degree angle, a properly cut rabbet will make a fair line as it sweeps up the keel. Keeping all these things in mind seems more daunting than it actually is as long as you proceed thoughtfully. A good trick for getting the bevels right is to make small bevel cuts along the length of rabbet, essentially cutting little ramps.

In this picture you can see these cuts. Just to the right of the cuts is a pencil line going up and to the right. This marks the outer edge of the rabbet (this is officially the “rabbet line”). The ramped cuts will stop there. A long piece of wood with a square edge (representing the plank) is laid across the frames and into each of these cuts to establish the 90 degree angle between the rabbet and the plank. The ramp angles are adjusted until they meet the wood piece just right. Once that’s done, the wood in between the ramps is planed away, like a connect-the-dots drawing.

Matt has been fairing the outside planking up around the bow.

Fairing involves planing down the high spots and creating a smooth, even surface. A faired hull shows no dips or bumps. The individual planks begin to lose their identity and merge into the greater shape of the hull itself.

Matt’s also been busy fairing the inner bulwarks planking as well.

When he was happy with the shape, he and Evie drove a strand of oakum (tarred hemp) caulking on top of the cotton caulking that had already been driven into the seams.

On the port side of the bow, Jamie has been steadily adding planks. He’s fastening one in here.

He does all the cutting and shaping in the main shop area,

and only brings the plank up into the bow when it’s hot out of the steam box and ready for bending.

Just below the foredeck in the fo’c’sle (also “fo’csle,” or “forecastle,” pronounced Folk-sul) the painters are prepping the crews quarters.

(my apologies, I’ve forgotten this painter’s name! Drop me a note in the comments section and I’ll correct this.)

Back up on deck and moving aft, the crew is reefing out seams and preparing for either new caulking or new asphalt to seal the deck seams.

Once the seams are reefed out, Gino caulks them with oakum.

Down in the hold, John has been hard at work fitting knees.

He uses a power plane to get the final fit exactly right. For a job like this, the power plane really is the tool of choice. The live oak is dense and hard, and the end grain even more so. Using a hand plane would be slower, harder, and require frequent blade sharpening.

Once the knees are in place, they’re riveted through the frames using wrought iron rods.

Each of these rivets are peened to spread and round over the heads. It’s long, slow work. Here’s Maggie hard at it,

By the power of my stare, I WILL YOU to round over.

Fine then. I’ll hit you with my hammer instead.

and so has Stan.

Chris has been working on a scarf joint for a deck beam.

The wood he’s working with is yellow pine, a very strong wood that’s also relatively light. He has made a pattern for this piece out of white pine that you can see leaning against the work.

Here’s the section of deck beam that the new piece will scarf into.

Mat has been getting this end of the scarf joint ready for Chris’ piece.

He’s laid out the joint, flattened the faying (i.e., mating) surfaces, and made sure that the cuts are straight and clean.

Bob and Ryan have been driving out old iron drifts and replacing them with new stock.

And by the way, the iron we’re using comes from old tiger cages.

When the Memphis Zoo changed from old style cages to a more open environment, a local fellow bought all the metal. Good thing. The cages are made from wrought iron, a material that is nearly impossible to come by in quantity these days. Finding these tiger cages was a real score.