Thursday, July 21, 2011

Back to work!

Anyone familiar with the goings-on at the Dockyard is used to the endless shuffle of work - old projects and new, familiar and bizarre.  And now that we have something of a week-long break between exhibitions for Mini-HORNET we have even more work getting her ready.  So what else do we have rolling right now?  Plenty.  And the intense heat only adds to the FUN in the non-air conditioned shop and in the bright beating sun of the open dockyard.

The biggest of our projects is the restoration of Monomoy No. 3.  Long known around the yard as the better preserved of our two 1904 vinatge boats, her seams are STILL being reefed in preparation for re-framing.  The framing stock is on hand and ready to plane, rip and bend but the clearing of the gunk between planks has taken up more than 150 man-hours so far and we're not quite half way there.  And if there is one element that really makes reefing particularly fun, it's heat.  If I can walk back to No. 3 late in the evening and still smell the sweat of the volunteers that worked on it that day, I know we've been productive!  Luckily, there's no great rush to get her done, and so work will progress as it has - on the backs of our volunteers as they can and are willing to support it.

Mini-HORNET will be getting a bit of a touch-up, with some new paint and rigging.  Every time we haul her back into the shop, we find more dings and chips where the plaster and foam was slightly damaged.  Luckily the repairs are quick and completely invisible when complete, and overall things are holding up well.  We also have the additional job of preparing a new shipping crate and display stand, especially as her next exhibition is slated for the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond starting July 30th - which involves a rather lengthy drive and roads that don't permit us to use slow driving to compensate for the bumps that would bounce the trailer about.  Anyone worried about how the model will hold up in the heat should be reminded that it is made primarily from pink extruded foam insulation, which according to the manufacturer is good up to 185 degrees F, so we're good to go there.  The stuff holding it together, I'm not so sure about.  But hey, if it goes wrong, who doesn't like puzzles?

We also have a new project - cranking out the Hornet half-hull models in 1:48 scale.  The prototypes are being worked up now and a procedure developed that will allow us to produce them in quantity for key donors to that project.  Because our skills are limited, every effort is going into a production process that yields a high-quality, good-looking product while retaining the use of our limited labor skill at the Dockyard.  We'll see how the first several come out, they look good so far.  I wonder if the sweat beading off our hands will make the wood nice and greasy... hmmm.

Our regular Wednesday sessions pick up again next week, and there is some training for Monomoy No. 1 and her crew being scheduled behind the scenes.  So there is some play going on amongst the work.  And the current heat wave will probably have yielded to torrential downpours by then and we'll be working in a quagmire.  Actually, right now that sounds pretty good.


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