Monday, October 18, 2010

Looking for trouble

This weekend our framing party was cancelled as the focus shifts from the Launch to the two restoration project Monomoys. Not that I particularly enjoy that - in fact, its got me a little flustered. The best shop space we have - the project that fits it perfectly and has been under construction for TWO FLIPPING YEARS - is on hold yet again.

Nevertheless, I set to work to complete the surveys of the two donated Monomoys.

First, I started with a vacuum and a scrap of fir that had a rounded point. Digging up the debris in the bilge, I cleaned every chunk of crap out of both boats - ending up with about 30 lbs of it when all was said and done. That, by the way, does not include the rusted iron pipe fittings, old hawser, empty cigarette packs, used emergency water ration bags and instruction cards and oyster shells that I pulled out by hand. All in all, there might have been 100 lbs of JUNK in there, none of it helping to preserve the boats, from what I could tell.

I then went over the entire structure of both boats with a scraper, a screwdriver, a sail knife and a flashlight. Tapping on every surface I could find with the screwdriver, I searched for the rot I knew was there. When I hit it, I probed with the screwdriver and knife, carefull not to destroy too much. But after all, if its going to fall apart I need to know ASAP. The scraper came in handy scraping coat after coat of flaking paint. Blue, white, gray, orange - what DIDN'T the cadets paint these boats? And as a heads up, lads, wooden boats need scraping too - rather than the "once for dust, twice for rust" mantra. Argh.

When all was said and done, I found relatively sound structures. The same old odd things need to go - the rotten stem and sternposts on No. 2 and all of the keel through-bolts on both boats - which, by the way - iron? Really? Who thought THAT was a good idea? I owe you a scotch and razor blade mixer, hold the scotch.

Both boats need extensive re-framing too. So the guy who's never sucessfully steam bent a thing in his life needs to get hot - literally - all over that subject. Not all need to go but I'll be damned if it ain't close. I'm thinking a process of removal of every-other frame at a time should keep the boat relatively stable during the process, but we'll see. I'm also praying to sweet baby god of fasteners that THOSE have held up - I'd really like to use those holes again (how many times have I thought THAT before? no kids, you shouldn't get that.).

The planking as a whole, at least on No. 3, looks really good. There are a few places where its pulling away from the frames but that should - note should - be easily fixed once the frames are taken care of. The only thing that worries me is the planking on No. 2, at the hood ends where the planks attach to the stem and sternposts, which I know are rotten. Hopefully that cancer hasn't spread too far, and I can re-use those holes too. Won't know too much about it until the fiberglass is off of her. I've got my respirator, poop suit and full face mask - let's dance biatch.

On a definately positive note, I found the boat plug for No. 3 buried in the debris! I know, its a small victory, but its all I've got so far so be quiet.

I've been asked about those letters, the BT and NNNN. For you non-Navy message traffic reading types, BT means 'break transmission', equivalent to STOP in telegrams. NNNN in flashing light or in message traffic means 'end of message'. There is no Nicholas Newton Newbury the Ninth in NHS that I know of.


The plan of the week is as follows - pencils ready? - today when I get back I'll be working on the stabilization of the boats. I've decided to do away with the complicated setup idea I had before and stick to what I know - copious use of blocks and shims. Hey, whatever works. And those crap cradles need to meet my fire pit this week. That should continue through the week, and hopefully by next weekend I'll be ready to start stripping fiberglass. Once that's off, I can figure out what to do next.

If anybody's free this week, feel free to stop by and help the wierdo fixing your boats in his back yard. Not that I mind the solace - it lets you keep thinking highly of me. Besides, it means I don't have to walk all the way back into the house every time I have to go.


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