Sunday, February 19, 2017

February Pretending to be Spring

This is great! Unseasonably warm weather - mid 50s - over the weekend is encouraging. My 2017 building season began with a good cleaning of the Boat Cave and getting things ready to resume boat work.

In the meantime, work on the Morris chair has progressed to the point of discussing cushions with a local upholsterer, picking out fabric and sanding prior to the glue up.
The arms of the Morris chair have thru-tenons. Learning how to cut those (and the associated mortises) inspired me to learn more about chisels and sharpening shop tools. This time I am taking it seriously...

I've also been experimenting with end-grain cutting boards. So far, so good (this is the glue-up of the blank to be sliced into end-grain)..
While the warmer weather won't hold (this is Michigan after all), I will do what I can and look forward to getting back to boat work full-time. A late spring launch is still on the calendar.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Too Cold for Boat Work

Single-digit temperatures have kept me out of the Boat Cave this week.

Instead, I began a woodworking project I've had on the list for a long time: a pair of Morris Chairs for our reading room.

We decided we wanted Stickley bow-arm style chairs. There are several ways to create a bow-arm. Cut the bow out of thick stock; laminate the bow using 1/4" stock; steam-bending the bow; and gluing up a bow shaped-blank using smaller blocks cut at angles and then sanding the final bow. Based on the success I had bending various pieces for Gardens, I decided to steam bend the bow shape into the arms.

When I bent the carlins and gunwales for Gardens, I used 4" poly-tubing as the steaming chamber and that worked well. I went shopping for 8" poly-tubing (the arm blanks are 1" x 6" x 42") and found rolls of it ranging in length from 725' to 2100' and ranging in price from $70 to $230. Since I only need about 20' of tubing these choices seemed a bit over the top.

I considered PVC pipe… except the materials (4' of 8" PVC pipe and two end caps) priced out at $105, and that seemed too steep, too. (Plus, schedule 40 PVC pipe is not recommended for temperatures above 140F - not good for steaming.)

When I priced plywood to build a small steam box the total came to about $24. I should have started with the plywood box… The box is built and the arms will be bent this week.

Warmer temperatures are in the forecast so I'll get back to Gardens soon.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Day 2017

Yes, New Year's Day… a traditional time for thinking ahead and making wishful lists of 'things-to-do" in the new year. I've made my share of resolutions over the years - some very specific and some overly broad. I've had some success but more often than not, those good intentions are forgotten by February.

So, this year, I'm not declaring any resolutions. I plan to get on with the task at hand: Completing, launching and sailing Gardens!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

And So This Is Christmas

Fresh snow yesterday morning created a white topping for the dingy week-old snow already on the ground.

Christmas Day has been a quiet and relaxing day for Jan and I. For the first time in a long time there were no visiting family or friends (we saw family earlier in the week and visited friends last evening). Today we did see (via FaceTime) family in Oregon, Colorado and Belize.

Christmas is a time of reflection for me and, as I look back on the year, I am satisfied with the last twelve months. Did I finish Gardens and get her launched? No, completing and sailing Gardens will be a fine accomplishment, but it is not the entirety of my life. We were able to visit all of our children and grandchildren this year, which involved a good bit of traveling. Health issues took up a bit more time, but the results have all been positive. Fussing a bit about the political environment took up too much time before I remembered words of wisdom from Jan: I'd rather be at peace than be right. I've let go of the negative perceptions I experienced this year.

And so this is Christmas: I wish the same for everyone: be more mindful of being at peace than being right.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Things Are Looking Up

I can't explain the how or the why, but that grumpiness I whined about last week has resolved itself.

The cold and snow are still with us. Gardens sits waiting patiently for me. My workshop is still cold and in disarray. Christmas boxes have been, for the most part, mailed out. The lights and decorations have, mostly, been hung. And, the trip to Guatemala is further in the past. I'm glad to be home. Maybe listening to my six year-old granddaughter's stream-of-consciousness phone conversation helped...

Plans are in the offing for reorganizing the workshop, moving the wood storage racks to a more convenient spot in the barn, and figuring out how to get rid of cut-offs and scraps (I have some scraps that are several years old - if I haven't used them by now, I don't think I will). I'm counting on more storage and less horizontal surface will help de-clutter the shop. One can hope.

Closing in the Boat Cave is a bit trickier this year. With the gantry in place, the ceiling insulation is more piecemeal than it was last year. Still, making progress.

So, for whatever reason, I am in a much better frame of mind than I was last week and things are looking up.

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Getting Grumpy

Winter is still more than a week away. Right… So, the six inches of snow on the ground don't really count yet… I don't mind snow - really - but this first snow of the season is making me grumpy.

Along with the snow, we're having prolonged periods of low temperatures (highs in the 20s). The cold is slowing progress on the rebuilding of the Boat Cave. And that is making me grumpy.

Work on the foils (centerboard and rudder) has moved into the shop where it is a bit warmer (low 40s) but it is tough to work more than an hour at a time and, yes, that is making me grumpy. A better heater is under consideration.

Prepping for the holidays is getting me down a bit, too. I like the results but not the work involved with decorating the house and tree. True, Jan does the tree but the lights on the porch have their own way of making me grumpy.

What is really making me grumpy is this sense that I am not making as much progress on Gardens as I think I should be making. Yes, I am making progress; just not enough.

Oh, I'll get over this grumpiness but it might take a few weeks. I am already looking forward to our annual New Year's Day visit to Pentwater on Lake Michigan: we stand on the beach (the pier is usually coated with ice!), face into the wind, shout out the old year and welcome the New Year with shouts of joy and then go enjoy a great bar burger at the Brown Bear. Sounds goofy but it helps blow off steam and takes care of a lot of grumpiness.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Winter Approaches…

Winter doesn't begin for another two and a half weeks, but today's two inches of snow and mid-30s temperatures gave us a taste of what's ahead.

And I have to catch up with the weather - the Boat Cave needs rebuilding - at least the north end - after making room for the gantry. That is the immediate task at hand.

We are done traveling for the time being (trips to Oregon, Colorado, Kentucky and Guatemala kept us busy the last five months) and I have no pending medical concerns (the last five months also included hernia and cancer surgeries). The to-do list is waiting for me but I can see the end of the build in sight.

Yes, winter is approaching but I am gearing up to complete Gardens for a spring launch.