Monday, January 13, 2020

Three Things

Tiller Modification: Conventional Rigid to Hinged Tiller
The stub end is still a work in progress and is hidden a bit by the mock-up hinge-fitting-thingy.
A cut down and trimmed 2x4 is serving as a mock-up handle end.
Some refinements are needed but the basic concept and configuration are there.

Shinto 11" Saw Rasp
I’ve read good things about the Shinto Saw Rasp over the years but I never ordered one - until last week. I’ve been using it on the tiller modification and I have to say, I am favorably impressed. Why did I wait so long to buy one?



Name and Registration Boards: Kerf-Cut Bending Test
Following my recent Project Ideas post, Joel suggested kerf-cutting the boards to bend flat boards to contoured surfaces (like the sheer plank). A YouTube search provided a few how-to videos. Yesterday’s test cut and demo using 1x8 cedar was successful! The 1x cedar (7/8" thick) is too thick for my purposes so I'll experiment with 1/2" and 5/8" stock for the name boards.
Still considering design details (size, placement, fonts, colors, etc.) - but those details give me something to work on when I can't work in the shop.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Winter-Lite and A Tiller Modification

Winter-lite is definitely here but the holidays are behind us. We've had three light snows (no more than 4" each) - all of which disappeared within a few days of falling, but nothing catastrophic (that will come soon enough). The not-so-bitter cold weather allowed me to cobble together a few Christmas presents in the shop and get them mailed before Christmas. The winter-lite conditions allow me to work in the shop for short periods of time.

The list of tasks, projects, modifications and 'new' ideas for Gardens continues to grow. And, in typical fashion, I began work on the latest addition to the list: A Hinged Tiller. A hinged tiller offers two improvements over Gardens' current set-up: 1) I won't have to crouch or bend over when standing at the helm (surprising how often I like to stand when sailing...); and, 2) Less clutter in the cockpit at the dock or when anchored with the tiller swung up to vertical. I'll keep the existing tiller as a spare.

Having asked for suggestions on the John Welsford Small Craft Design page on FaceBook, I'm basing my new tiller on John Welsford's design for his current build, Long Steps .

Beginning with a mock up of the butt end, based on the existing tiller, I'll work my way up/out to a new, longer hinged tiller with a slightly improved shape.
There should be a suitable piece of ash from the milling of an ash tree taken down on our property a few years ago. Hardware (Jan thinks bronze would look great; so do I, but bronze isn't very likely) similar to what John is using for Long Steps will have to be sourced. The new hinged tiller is far from done but at least this modification has begun.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Winter: Holidays and Tradition

The winter holidays are rapidly approaching.

The Solstice is less than two weeks away - and it can’t get here soon enough! Dark in the morning when I get up (and I sleep in!); dark way too early in the afternoon (and I don’t blame that on ST or DST, it is just the way it is).

Christmas is two weeks away and is taking over much of our waking hours. Decorating (the tree and the house); shopping (too many trips to too crowded stores); making gifts (why do I wait until December every year?) in time to mail them; mailing those gifts; party planning and food preparation (is it worth the worry? [Spoiler Alert: Yes, it is!]); and travel plans - it all takes a toll. But we always survive and, for the most part, enjoy it.

The New Year is three weeks away but at least there is little or no stress associated with the New Year (STRESS will come later in the year).

By the way, the Christmas gifts this year are simple little keepsake boxes for my children and grandchildren making use of bits and pieces from the cut-off bin and wood that has been waiting to be used. If any of the boxes were done, I’d include pictures - but as I said, Christmas is just two weeks away so, naturally, none of the boxes are done. Last minute woodworking is a tradition!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Project Ideas

With winter weather here (ahead of schedule…) there is little opportunity to spend time in the shop actually working on boat projects.

So, the next best thing is to sit in the living room, with a cup of coffee, watching the snow fall, thinking about project ideas (and how to make those ideas work).

Painting/Repainting the Centerline. It is easy enough to take Gardens off her trailer, thanks to Elmer (the Gantry).

Blocking the boat is simple enough but supporting the boat to keep it from falling is the issue. Commercial boat stands really are not an option (too expensive). I’ve got a few ideas kicking around...

Name Boards. We’d like to add name boards but I have not figured out how to shape the ‘backside’ of a flat board to conform to the contour of the sheer plank. Same thing with the state registration numbers - I don’t like them on the outside of the coaming (seemed like a good idea at the time...)

But, same issue, how to fit a flat board to the contour of the sheer plank? I’ve got an idea to develop...

Add Wheels to Elmer (the Gantry). Elmer needs to be a bit more mobile. Dragging it around (admittedly not very far) is doable but wheels would make it easier. Older photo shows bottom one of Elmer's legs.


Adding wheels probably isn’t rocket science. Probably one wheel per side (sort of like a wheelbarrow). Wheels would only be used to move Elmer empty. I have no intention of moving the boat when it is suspended on the hoist. I just need to figure it out and do it!

Mast Lift Assist. When the main mast is unstepped it needs to be lifted about 2” to clear the mast step before I can tilt and walk it down to horizontal (not a great explanation). With a second person to help, lifting the mast is simple. By myself, reaching across the deck reduces my leverage to lift and support the mast. Strange thing is, last spring and summer I had no difficulty in handling the mast by myself. In August, with the boat on the water, I had a tough time handling the mast (good thing Jan was there). So, I’m looking for a technique or ‘device’ of some sort to make it easier for me to unstep the mast. Practice might be the answer.

No immediate rush on these, and other, ideas. Suggestions and ideas are welcome.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Winter Mode

Gardens has been put away for the winter. Elmer the Gantry was useful in getting Gardens back on her trailer.

The mainsail was unbent from the boom & yard. The spars were stored in boat. The sail was folded, placed in a plastic storage bag and placed in a cardboard box, and stored in an upstairs closet (all this intended to avoid driveway sail repairs next spring necessitated by wintering mice). The mizzen sail was left wrapped on the mizzen mast, wrapped in plastic (to guard against mice...) and stored in the boat.

Obviously, the mast, in its travel mode, supports the tarp. And, just as obviously, the tarp can be pulled back for any work (minor tasks) I can attend to over the winter months.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

An Early Winter

Daytime highs have been below 50* since mid-October - and trending lower: highs in the mid-30s this past week; lows in the high teens; highs this week in the mid-20s. Nothing in the forecast suggests a warming trend any time soon. Last Wednesday's light snow disappeared before yesterday's 5-inch snowfall. Winter is settling in.



Epoxy work and painting are now on hold until next spring. There are a few tasks to work on - at least until I'm snowed out of the barn. Lazy-jacks can be rigged; shop cleaned up; spars/sails can be stowed (mouse-proofed?); and Gardens can be tarped for the winter.

Maybe an early winter will bring us an early spring. One can wish...

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Full Circle (On One Small Task)

Gardens' original mainsheet fiddle-block wasn't fitted with a cam cleat, which meant I had to hold the mainsheet (which meant my hands would cramp up while sailing), but was fitted with a stand-up spring to keep the block from flopping around:

The replacement fiddle-block with cam cleat seamed to be the solution:

But... I couldn't get the fiddle-block installed with the stand-up spring: The spring was too stiff, the space was too tight, the shackle was too small, the swivel post was even smaller, and the threaded shackle pin was smaller still - it all worked against my fat fingers... My solution was a short section of pool noodle foam wrapped around the block and base:

That worked but not as well as a stand-up spring. Someone saw a photo of that "stand-up-foam-base" in a post on John Welsford's Small Craft Design Face Book page and suggested/recommended using a stand-up spring. I decided to see if I could find a "right-size" spring... The local hardware store - to my surprise - carries a fairly wide variety of small springs. But they didn't have one that would work. An Amazon search turned up a smaller (shorter, slightly smaller diameter) Harken stand-up spring but when it arrived, it didn't fit over the pad eye in the base. I decided to try the original spring again.

After several failed attempts I figured out that if I completely disassembled the base, started with the block upside down, and worked from the "inside out," I could (possibly) get the block, spring, and base connected and put back together. I only needed two more hands... My wife came to the rescue and together we got the whole thing re-assembled!

The path to this improvement to handling the mainsheet took me full circle back to the parts I had on hand when the fiddle-block w/cam cleat arrived. Buying the new fiddle-block with a cam cleat was part of the solution I was seeking. But finding a solution doesn't always mean buying a solution - I had that stand-up spring all along.

The mizzen mast project is on hold: Winter is settling in here in central Michigan: high temperatures in the mid-30s; lows in the 20s; and warmer temperatures are not in the forecast. It will be spring before I'll get back to work on the mast.