Last entry for 2013!

In the previous entry, I mistakenly identified the metal bits that Ali was welding into the windlass pork chops as cable guides. Oops. The mistake has been fixed in that post, but here’s a clarification.  This is one half of one of the pork chops that go over the windlass:


Ali shows how the pawl swings down and is stopped from swinging back by the metal that she’s welded into the casting. You can see how the lower left edge of the casting has been worn down over the years. It’s full thickness on the right, but it tapers off to almost nothing on the left side. That’s what the shiny metal part is replacing.

That’s a bit of the ship you’d never see on the normal tour!

We’ve had a little snow since the last post.


Hi Alex. He’s really happy to be up there working on the rig in the snow. Really, I’m sure of it. At least Matt came out to join him later.

When it snows, we all pitch in to shovel out larger boats in the collection. It’s a nice break from the usual day. We’re clearing off the Joseph Conrad here.


Back to the rigging. Alex and Matt went up that snowy day to prep for the fore topmast installation. First, they had to install the futtock band. When the foremast went up, the futtock band wasn’t installed. This is the futtock band:


The band needed a fair amount of work, so the spar went up without it. In case you’ve forgotten, the futtock band anchors the futtock shrouds to the mast. Now that the futtock band has been repaired by Mike, it’s time to set it up. This thing is pretty heavy, so it’s a bit of an operation to install it with the mast up. Matt and Alex went up the mast and then dangled just below the top.


They hoisted the band up using block and tackle and used these lines to position it properly.


The bucket holds the various tools that they needed for installation. With the band secured, the futtock shrouds (the black rods radiating up from the band to the deadeyes along the margin of the top) could be installed.



Soon after the band and futtock shrouds were installed, the fore topmast was brought out to the lift dock for dressing.


Dressing is the process of laying out and attaching all of the standing rigging that goes up with the mast.

Here, Cassie and Haley are applying a final coat of pine tar to the rigging.


Not all of the rigging is served this way. The forestay, for instance, is served where it goes around the bowsprit, but not along most of its length.  You can see that it’s bare cable to the right of the saw horse.


The foremost sails will attach to the bare wire and need to slide up and down along it. The bare wire is still “slushed,” that is, treated with a preservative to inhibit rust. All of the wire (whether served or not) gets slushed with a mixture of Penetrol and linseed oil. This mix penetrates into and coats the wire.

Here is that same forestay, temporarily attached beneath the bow sprit, awaiting installation.


And, once again, the giant rigging octopus is organized, laid out, and attached to the mast.

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You may notice that the futtock band and futtock shrouds have been attached to the mast before raising here.


Arrows point to the band (red) and shrouds (orange) in case you can’t find them in the jumble of shrouds.


The crane lifted the ends of the forestay to Alex for attaching to the foremast.

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The rig was secured to the mast, the way back spreaders were installed, and up she went.

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Cassie and Haley guided a second forestay forward to the bowsprit as the topmast is lifted into position. These ends will be attached later.


Alex and Sarah guided the mast into position.


You can see the fid protruding crosswise from the base of the mast. This is that same fid close up in case it’s hard to see:


That fid rests on the cross trees and supports the mast.

And there she goes. You can see where those two forestay ends were led through guides on the bowsprit.


Afterwards, the riggers set about to the methodical work of attaching all of those lines. You can see why one would need to have those upper attachments made on the ground.  It would be very difficult (to say the least!) to install them after the mast was in place.


Meanwhile, work continues in the shop. You may recall that Shaun had been shaping a smaller yard in the last blog. He’s done with the shaping and has attached a yoke and started painting.


The main and fore top yards have a part called the Jackstay that runs across their upper face. It looks like a hand rail.


The jackstay is used for attaching the sail and footropes, and it’s a handy place to grab when you’re aloft. The old ones were pretty trashed, so we built new ones from ash. One very efficient way to make a jackstay is to start with a single piece of wood that’s wide enough to make two at once. Here is one laid out with a centerline and the two jackstays laid out on either side of that line.


Holes are drilled at the corner of each open section. When you lay out the jackstay like this, you can drill 4 holes to define a square hole, cut out that hole a little bit small with a jigsaw,


make your hole exactly to size by cutting the edges with a shop-made template and a router with a bit that follows the template,

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and then cutting the whole affair right down the middle to give two identical jackstays.


Sweet. Easy.

Sometimes you are confronted by a knot in an inconvenient place. In this case, the knot was on the outside edge of Walt’s board. If he had made his jackstay like the one above, the knot would have weakened his stay. His solution was to take the above method and turn it inside out. Instead of cutting holes along the inside of his piece, he cut them along the outside. This way, he could lay out his pattern so that the knot was cut out.


Once all the holes are cut out and routed, the strip is cut in two just as before.


The jackstay is mounted on a curved spar, so the mating edges need to be curved to match. You can shape them by hand, using a spar-maker’s plane and rasp,


or you can set up a jig on the table saw that cuts the curve for you. This is much faster. If you’ve never seen this done before, it’s a slick trick called “cove cutting.” Essentially, you run the part to be coved over the top of the spinning blade at an angle. Like this:


Walt is running the base of the jackstay across the blade at about a 60 degree angle, and the blade protrudes up from the table just enough to cut a little round shape into the part.


It looks pretty sketchy the first time you do it.  After a while though, it’s just another operation.

How does it fit?


Pretty great.

Bob and Trev have been making good progress at boxing in the lead. Here, all of the centerline lead has been completely enclosed, and the fasteners for cross bracing have been attached.


These are patterns for the cross braces.


The chain locker for the anchor chain has been reassembled with a new base. The old walls are still good and are being kept.


The chain locker is where all of the anchor chain is stored. It is just aft of the main mast.


The locker is boxed in to about 2’ below the deck beams. Here Trev is spiking in the side boards.


John has been making patterns for new chain guides. The chain will ride across these as it enters the boat from the hawsepipes up forward.


The originals are the green parts on his work bench. They were badly worn and broken from years of hard service.


The patterns he is now making will be used for casting new guides out of iron.


John has also built a cover over the aft section of the deck.


Matt, Jamie and Ryan have been working on the front deck cover.

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It gets covered with shrink wrap plastic. It won’t completely seal out the weather, but it will keep snow and rain off for the most part.

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The edges are rolled up over wooden battens, and then screwed down. This makes for a very sturdy roof that should be able to withstand all kinds of nasty weather.


Back down in the hold… In addition to the diesel powered pump,


we have 2 electric pumps that are being installed. We should have ample fire-fighting and bilge-emptying capacity once these are all hooked up. Here, Tich is checking out the fire pump.


Jim and Dean have been making new shivs (pulley wheels) for the steering cable. The old ones were shot, and we’re fabricating new ones from bronze stock.


Jim is turning one down on the metal lathe here.

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Sometimes visitors will point out that we are just crazy with huge, amazing timbers around the yard. It’s true, we are. Sometimes, though, things aren’t as great as they seem. Take this beautiful piece of sawn oak for instance.


Looks like we aren’t the only ones to admire this log.


Bug damaged and worthless to us. Oh well, there’s more…

We’ll be back next year (i.e., 7 hours from now)!