This April page might best be called "Finally".

A lot of pending or in-progress projects are either being finished or finally gotten around to. The weather is also finally getting warm enough to start planting.

This is what a tiny garden wedged in the middle of a huge city can look like.

You can hover over the slideshow and click the "stop" button anytime you like.

The grate is sanded, sealed and ready to drop into the boat.

The gimbal is repaired and ready to get dropped into the galley counter.


Finally, after all this time I built a roller for the mast at the head, instead of a cobbled together roller that supported the mast halfway down. This allows me unfettered access to the entire mast at the same time. It's two 2" sections of PVC pipe filled with three plywood inserts, and 1/2" axles in a plywood box.


Finally, the mast and yard are getting primed. This is the second coat.


Finally, the yard got its own dedicated work space. Now I can access both sides and the mast without moving one or the other again and again.


Finally, the first coat of paint, seen here already sanded.

Truth be told, I had no intention of sanding either the primer or the paint. I've resigned myself to the fact that despite all my efforts at rounding and smoothing the mast, it'll always (up close) look like a reclaimed tree. Que cera cera. It was going to get as much primer and paint I could slap on to make a thick, impervious surface, and damn the cosmetic aspect.
So I decided to mix up a custom color with Lisa's help. She knows how red, green and yellow make "wood brown", er, I mean "mahogany".
The quart of red plus 8ozs. of yellow and green I'd bought was only enough for one coat... and shooting from the hip, I used it before rereading the Application Instructions that said, "For best 'crosslinking' recoat within 24 hours." And I only ordered the remaining paint after cleaning the roller, pan and tools. "Fools Rush In..." eh?


I've been struggling with one sort of scarfing jig or another forever, or not, and simply laying out the 8-to-1 or 10-to-1 scarf on the pieces of wood to be cut and planing away. Only a few days ago I read this article at Duckworks Magazine on scarfing and was amazed. As I read, I mused, "yea, I've done that, it sucked." I actually built version 1 in the article. Then I got to the bottom of the article and had a "Eurika!" moment. I immediately copied this sled. (It hasn't been used yet, which is why you don't see the taper. The rail underneath is T-shaped to keep it on the bed of the saw.) The taper is 10-to-1. I immediately sent Jeff Horton, the author, a compliment, but I guess he's too swamped in glory to reply. No matter, immitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


Here's the very beginning of the rudder hinges - pintles and gudgeons. This is a piece of 1" Schedule 40 316 stainless I've had since my Apprenticeship that I've used as a cheater with a spud wrench when necessary... but I've always known it would be part of a hinge scheme someday. I bought the 316 rod from McMaster-Carr a few years ago in anticipation of the hinge project.

Late Apr-08 addition - Second and third coats painted on mast and yard.
I mixed up the batch for the second and third coat today... without the help of the resident art school graduate color expert. 16 red, 4 yellow, 4 green like last time to get the brown of the first batch. But that batch dried too dark (expensive, 86% cocoa, dark chocolate, brown.) So I added 2 yellow and it was still too dark. So I added 2 white, and mixed it all up really well. Then I started painting. Somehow it didn't look quite right.
So I called in the color expert. She took one look and said, "OMG! It's mauve." For a while I was afraid I'd have to rename the boat the s/v Fabulous. Fortunately it's drying to a milk chocolate... which is what I was hoping for the first time. (12 red, 12 yellow and 2 green. Apparently green goes a long way.)

Apr-09 - Fourth and fifth coats finished.
Painting has stopped all other activity in the basement to avoid raising any dust. I've been pretty successful at that. I vacuumed the whole basement and washed the mast and yard before starting.

Apr-10 - First coat of white on the tips; the masthead and the yard ends.
Did a bit of primer drip sanding first, washed off the dust with a damp cloth, then laid it on thinly with a 2" sash brush. It dried so fast I even got to apply a second coat on the masthead. Reminded me of my days as a house painter painting 6-over-6s.

Applied second and third white coats.

Apr-11 - Applied fourth coat of white.


Meanwhile, the hinges are progressing. All 4 rods and 8 sleeves fit nicely. There will be 2 hinges below the propeller cutout and 2 above. Of the four, 2 will have retaining nuts. The other 2 don't need them. Though the rod is nominally 1" and so is the sleeve tubing, the tubes, once cut into sleeves needed a good bit of interior grinding and polishing. Now they move smoothly.


I thought I'd draw you a proper blueprint of the hinges. (All I need is the little sketch on the right.) Of course, after being three-quarters of the way through, I realized the pintle and gudgeon flanges are reversed. I'm not redrawing this plan. The Plan Views, on the sides of the drawing, are correct. The pintles, which go on the transom, show the gudgeon flanges on the Section View, (in the center.) They get welded solid - rod, sleeve and flange. The gudgeons, going on the rudder... Oh never mind. What a mess! They only have the sleeves welded on and a looser fit inside the sleeves.

It's been a busy week.

Apr-11-Mon - Painted fourth and final coats on mast and yard.

Apr-12-Tue - Bought and loaded in batten lumber; 5/4 x 11.25" Yellow Pine stair tread stock, 5pcs. 10' and 3pcs. 12'. It's the best value and readily available, and tough.
Built the gimbal counterweight framing. No pictures. It's a frame that hangs from the pivoting ends or the square frame the stove sits in. It's pretty cool. Maybe I'll add a picture later. The way it's built, and since I don't have an oven to act as counterweight, the plywood sides hold an aluminum angle onto which a bar of lead will sit. It really needs a picture. I'll produce one soon.
Installed the yard track.

Apr-13-Wed - The washers and cotter pins I ordered for the hinges arrived. The washers fit perfectly but they were as big as dinner plates, so I trimmed them to be just slightly larger in diameter than the tubes. Lots of grinding on a bench grinder, then a bit of polishing the edges to make them pretty.
"Coated the gimbal", which means I sealed the new plywood framing with epoxy.
Installed the yard bumper (part 1). It's a piece of garden hose drilled and screwed into the yard where it will bear against the mast. I drilled it with large access holes for the screw heads and small holes for the screws. With Lisa's help and a fair amount oftugging, grunting and hand lotion for lubrication, we fished 6' of cheap braided rope through the hose to fill it out.

Apr-14-Thu - Dammit! The gimbal is dry to the touch, but it doesn't gimb. I had to trim away the corners of the frame. Now it gimbs to 40 degrees. If it needs more than that, I think I'll have bigger worries than spilled food.
Cleaned the basement. I do this every few days. I just work better in a clean environment. Nothing pissed me off more when out Ironworking than having to wade knee-deep through other people's crap in order to do my work. And I always appreciated a jobsite that had a Laborer or two to keep the place clean.
Moved the mast and yard out of the way for the batten operation.
Moved the tablesaw and set up to rip the Y.P. boards. I've never bothered to show the other side of the basement, but there's almost as much room to the left of the "tool bench" as there is in all the pictures you've seen so far. There just isn't the length needed to carry on a 30' ripping operation. (12' in front, 12' in back, 4' for the saw, and standing room.)

Took 2 of the hinge rods to a machinist down the street. He's going to cut the 7/8"-14 threads for a measly ten bucks... by Monday! Woohoo!

Apr-15-Fri - Ripped 370' of battens to 1"x2". My new Bosch saw is a monster; handled the ripping with no problem though I did trip the breaker a couple of times because the vacuum and the saw are on the same outlet. But it's a real pig too. Even with the vacuum attached to it, it drools sawdust under its carriage. So I clamped some old (flowered) curtains all around the carriage just below the saw. I may have the only saw in the world that wears a dress.
Ripping only took a couple of hours and the edges came out a lot smoother than I'd expected despite using the POS Bosch blade that came with the saw. I think the secret was setting up a 7' 4"x6" piece of angle iron as the fence.

The ripping went so fast that I called the Brother from the Black Lagoon over to give me hand with the scarfing. The sled worked perfectly for making very smooth scarfs. There were a few problems however. I'd made a T-shaped rail on the bottom of the sled to fit into the T-track on the saw. But... I didn't have the lumber perfect leveled and so on the first pass, the top of the "T" came loose. So after leveling the lumber, from there on I just had to bear into the sled to keep it in the groove.

It all went very quickly. The ripped pieces were behind the saw. I brought those up and fitted them onto the sled. Pushed the piece through. Bro took the finished piece and stacked it behind us. 55 scarfs were finished in a little over an hour. We scarfed a few knots out of a couple of long pieces, ending up with more than 40 pieces.


Saw moved back out of the way. Roller stands stashed under the long table. Sawdust cleaned up yet again. All scarfed pieces laid out to get their ends epoxy-coated.


Coating is easy but time consuming. I mix straight epoxy and about 5% zylene to thin it out, then paint it on the ends. It penetrates very well. And that's the time consuming part. You have to keep inspecting the whole lot and re-coat the pieces that soak up more epoxy. Some take more than others. The scarf cutoffs make good seperators. It just doesn't do to glue the battens together side-by-side.


Apr-16-Sat - Some of the batten "extras" got turned into batten clamps. I used to have some clamps I used for gluing the staves together but they disappeared. These are 2' long. The earmuffs are to save what's left of my hearing. 40 years of power tools can be cruel. And the large block of black HVAC foam is my favorite "push stick."


A rabbet on opposite corners, then a quick trip upstairs to the drawing board for a scale drawing to determine the angle to bisect these pieces. 27 degrees.


the last step is to cover the bearing surfaces with clear packing tape to keep them from sticking to the battens.


It's too late to move to an aircraft hanger. Only 5 battens glued up.

Apr-17-Sun - Rearranged things a little bit and glued 7 battens.


Believe it or not, this just the beginning.

More to come...

This way to Battens, battens every where. I may go out of my mind... again.


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Written 2011/Apr/08

Updated 2011/05/22