Turkey and Tattoos Megan Boon’s IYRS Boatbuilding & Restoration Blog
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving full of turkey and good times.
I was in Philadelphia for the holiday, where I got the chance to visit the
Independence Seaport Museum at Penn’s Landing. They are in the process of building a full size replica of the 1797 schooner Diligence, a vessel that was originally based in the West Indies to protect American merchant vessels from being attacked by the French, the British, and pirates. When I first heard about the project I thought they were building her in their Workshop on the Water, but no. There’s not enough room. They are building her from the waterline up, directly in the museum. The masts are shooting up through the ceiling! It was quite a site to see. Once completed, visitors will be able to board the 102’ long vessel and interact with various components of the ship, such as hoisting the sails. I can’t wait to visit the exhibit once it’s done.
View of Diligence from the aft end of the deck]
I don’t think there will be a crow’s nest]
One of the other exhibits was about tattoos in the life of the American sailor. It was full of fascinating facts, legends, and an interactive display where lights played a trick to make it look like you were getting tatted up yourself. The youths must love the latter part. I myself had a sparrow “inked” on me. Did you know a sparrow tattooed on a sailor meant that he had traveled 5,000 miles at sea? I didn’t! There were tons of other neat things at the museum, but I can’t say it all here. I encourage you to check it out yourself if you have the chance.
What I look like underneath my boatyard chic]
Now as rejuvenating as this little holiday break was, I am looking forward to getting back to Restoration Hall. This week we will be visiting Beetle Inc. to see where the original beetle cat magic happens. I am interested to see what strategies they employ for higher efficiency throughout the building process, and hopefully we can take some pointers back to our boats. Besides the field trip, we should also finish installing frames in our cat. We are so close to planking! I just need to finish making my backing out plane…
12/01/15 Eight Planks Thad Yukna’s IYRS Boatbuilding & Restoration Blog
I had the realization the other day as I lay under the boat trying to mark up the locations for the new frames that all that remains of the original boat is eight hull planks. It has been an insidious transition since we flipped the boat over onto the molds. Slowly but consistently we have added new, then removed old in such a way that visually it looks very much the same mass of wood it was when we started.
[The eight blue planks are all that remains of the original boat]
The fact is that
when the boat is set into the water on launch day, the only original pieces might be some small bits of hardware, if there were any useable parts on the boat when we started. Though ultimately we are building new boats the techniques we are learning could just as easily preserve some pieces of the boat at different phases of construction if there was anything worth saving. We do however have to completely rebuild in order to get the chance to experience each process associated with building a new boat. It’s the best of both worlds from a learning standpoint and realistically the majority of these boats were beyond salvage.
We have made quite a bit of progress as we head into the Thanksgiving break. The skeg, transom and sternpost have all been joined to the keel to complete the assembly of the “backbone” of the boat, and it is the first time that the old and new have been joined together, even if it is only temporary. The old planking, and new “ribbands” (the long strips of pine along the planks) are attached to the stem and the transom and “faired” with battens to be sure the lines of the boat are true. They provide a solid foundation, and clamping surface for the new frames as they are bent into the shape of the boat.
[Transom, stern post, skeg and keel are all one. The cotton strings are used to help seal the joints between the sternpost and transom as well as the planking. They will be spread out, two per side along the transom edge as the planks are added later] [The hull with the “ribbands” added and all of the old frames removed]
We also spent a lot of quality time removing the old frames from the inside of the boat. For us that was a fair challenge as a good number of the frames were in decent shape and held the fasteners well. Thankfully enough of them were in rough shape that we didn’t feel like we were unjustly taking apart a good boat.
The framing process is more than a team effort. As a class we have been milling the oak planks down into the ¾” x ¾” pieces that we will bend into the boats. Bending the frames into the boats is also a class wide effort. The three person boat teams might be able to pull it off, but having extra hands from around the class makes pressing in and clamping up the eight to ten foot long frames a lot easier. There is not very much time to spare when you’re trying to get the frame in place before it cools too much to take the shape.
[The first few full frames installed. We had one break on the way in but we were able to cut it quickly enough to get it installed as a half frame, it’s forward of the line of clamps.]
One of the great benefits to being a part of the program at IYRS is the access to a fantastically outfitted shop with the tools, gigantic steam box and the space to work on all sorts of projects. Once the school day is over, or sometimes on weekends, we can work on personal projects that allow us to develop skills that may not always get addressed while in class. I am continually amazed at the flexibility of the oak frames as we twist and bend them around the molds and into place on the boat. Inspired by that I have started working on some traditional Shaker bent wood boxes. The first attempt was a great learning experience, read: “near disaster,” but after a lot of quality time on the internet and watching videos I am certain that the next few will be much better.
[My first foray into steam bent boxes, lots of lessons learned, but a great confidence builder.]
Finally for this edition, we are continuing to make some of the tools we will need to complete the build. Our latest project is a “backing out plane”. With this plane, Instead of putting a flat board on a rounded frame we will “back out” the plank to create a concave surface on the inside or back of the planks so that they will fully contact the frames across their whole span which will provide the most structural support. Making the plane was challenging in that it is built from two symmetrical halves which are glued together. A wedge holds the “iron” or blade into the body. All of the measurements and cuts must be precise in order for it all to come together and work correctly.
[My “backing out” plane. The plane has a curved sole allowing us to remove material and create a curved inner surface on the hull planks.]
We are staying busy and soon we will be planking up the boats and the last vestiges of the original boat will disappear in sawdust. She will however be preserved in spirit in a new hull and a little bit of her will go into every boat I make with the skills I have developed here. I am certainly thankful for that, and that I have time, my family’s support, my health and the opportunity to participate in this program. Happy Thanksgiving all.
Until next time,
12/01/15 At the Intersection of Marine Systems & Composites Technology Joel Loveland’s Marine Systems Blog
We got a lot done this week in the Systems class at IYRS. We started by finishing up our steel brace that we made to hold our fuel filter. We gave it paint job.
After that we started working on our egg crate so we could learn how to properly Tab a boat. Tabbing involves the use of composites, so we had a visit from the composites class to teach us about fiberglass.
After our lesson we started on our own tabs.
After learning the basics of composites we started on making our mold for our AC cover which will cover the alternating current side of our panel board.
Then we got a demonstration from
Bob Lacovara, one of the composites teachers.
Then we all started on our own.
Now that our composite skill level has increased we move on to making our own through hole simulators.
It was awesome to learn a new skill this week. Even though I’m not a fan of fiberglass (it’s very itchy) it’s still great to learn how to work with it. Really excited to see what I learn next week.