Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to one and all. I hope you enjoy a happy and prosperous 2018. I am looking forward to a fun, exciting, successful, and rewarding new year.

I’ll get back to Gardens - the plan is to launch her this spring! - once the weather warms just a bit. Single-digit temperatures and an unheated barn make boat work difficult.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Wishing everyone a merry and peaceful Christmas!

The month of December was busy for us with Holiday preparations: shopping, cooking, baking, making gifts, wrapping and shipping - all mixed in with medical appointments. It all came together yesterday for a grand visit with grandchildren in south east Michigan. A late afternoon storm dumped 6” of snow for a beautiful white Christmas.

The medical issues are not life threatening but may push Gardens’ launch by a few months. I’ll do what I can within the limitations of damaged knees and shoulder. We’ll see how it goes…

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

That's How It Works

In the end everyone builds the boat their psychology prepares them for. That’s how it works… Any serious undertaking is subject to psychological necessity. We really can’t do anything else but follow our compulsion. It isn’t about capability because we can always get that if our psychology allows it. - Mik Storer

These words (from comments to the Duckworks’ article, Why I "HATE" Boatbuilding) give me insight to a thought (some might say rationalization) I’ve voiced for quite some time now: What I see in my mind’s eye doesn’t come out of my hands.

That's how it works...

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Shaping With an Angle Grinder

Cold weather has set in - not unexpected in Michigan... in December…

The shop is still functional - after the heaters run for an hour or so before I begin working.

Yesterday I shaped the main mast cap, giving it a “domish” shape. My tool of choice: a 4-1/2” angle grinder.

Concentric circles on the top of the cap helped guide the shaping, which was followed up with sanding using an ROS and an 80/120/80/220-grit progression. I plan to soften the bottom edge of the caps with a round-over.

When the other cap is done, I’ll glue them to the masts (cold temperatures not withstanding).

Update: Thursday’s post generated some discussion (sort of, but more like a lecture) about hand tools vs. power tools… the idea being that a spokeshave was a better tool of choice for shaping the mast caps than the angle grinder I used.

Admittedly, a spokeshave never crossed my mind for shaping the caps. Admittedly, as well, I am not very experienced in using a spokeshave which is not to say I am unfamiliar with hand tools, particularly planes.

(I keep my spokeshave with my chisels - mounted on another wall of the shop - rather than with my planes, for no good reason other than my convenience.)

Intrigued by the idea, I decided to shape the second mast cap using hand tools, specifically the spokeshave. It worked. I was able to shape the cap using the spokeshave and hand-sanding.

The spokeshave is definitely quieter and less dusty than the angle grinder. But, it took me three times as long to get to the nearly finished shape (yep, pretty much the same shape as the first cap). I’m happy I got the same results using the spokeshave but there was no deeper sense of satisfaction from using the hand tool compared to using the power tool. And the extra repetitive motion aggravated the arthritis in my hands and shoulder so, on one level, there was a bit more discomfort associated with using the hand tool… for me… for this task…

The angle grinder - and any other power tool - is just a tool, as are hand tools (saws, chisels, planes...). I like to use the tool that works for me for the task at hand.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

November Was a Busy Month

How quickly time flies! Our trip to Maine seems a recent memory but it has been seven weeks since that trip ended (yeah, seven weeks is recent but I meant recent like last week…).

November began with the caps for Gardens’ masts. Then, a visit to Oregon to see grandchildren and start a kayak build with my son. Thanksgiving followed on the heels of the Oregon trip. Meanwhile the kitchen remodeling project has continued at a snail’s pace. All appliances were installed and functional the day before Thanksgiving, so Jan cooked Thanksgiving dinner and I baked a pumpkin pie and we are both thankful to be cooking in our own kitchen again (the remodel is not complete - the cabinet vendor had quality control issues which meant about half of the cabinet doors had to be redone).

A follow-up appointment with the orthopedic surgeon last week confirmed the necessity of knee replacement surgery (both knees need replacing but I’ll do them one at a time). Scheduling has an eight-week lead time, so it will be early February before I’m out of commission for about six weeks.

November leads us into the Christmas Holidays and a growing list of gifts to make and projects to complete. I’ve had a small drill press that has been adequate and access to my BIL’s larger drill press - but the convenience of having my own larger one (and a good sale price) lead to the purchase of a new Jet drill press.

Also, in the background of November’s events, my nine-year old MacBook began faltering and became progressively worse as the month worn on. Last week I purchased a new MacBook Pro. I’m doing my part to support the economy - and I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet!

So, November was a busy month. I suspect the next two months to be very busy as well. I plan to get as much done on Gardens as I can before being laid up recovering from surgery.