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Stem and Transom

Finally some new wood went into this boat. I took a day off last week and installed the new stem and keel. I don’t have a good picture but it certainly feels like we’re making some progress. The keel and stem are nailed from the bottom, and every hole has to be drilled for the copper screws as they are too soft to break into the oak.

IMG_20140328_174502I removed the transom, as the boards nailed to it had been nailed a few too many times and rather than trying to fix the cheese grater appearance I just cut the boat 2″ shorter. This picture shows the missing transom, along with the freshly installed keel. The bottom of the boat is hogged quite badly, the supports are in an effort to keep the keel straight, and to prevent the boat from opening up too much.

The transom is old, the top is curved a bit, and there are some big checks in it, but it’s still structurally sound. After some thought and sanding I decided to reinstall it rather than build a new one. I’d much rather keep what I can, else I may as well be building a new boat.

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And this afternoon the transom was reinstalled again. Because the boat is a wee bit shorter, the gunwales sit a bit higher than the transom instead of flush, but that will be sorted out later. All that’s left on the transom is to cut the boards flush and clean up the sealant.

I sold the old trailer, which wasn’t worth the effort (to me) to rebuild. The father of the purchaser owned a few cedar strip boats many years ago and had a few seats left in his garage. He was so interested in this project that he brought them over in the off chance that I could use them, or at least reuse the wood for some of the interior. I love it, I’d much rather use wood that came from a cousin boat than new wood from the lumber shop.

My brother has the motor apart in his garage, it’s a 1965 33HP Evinrude. Surprisingly all the parts we needed are still available, although some have manufacturing dates from the 80′s. They’ve all arrived so the rebuild can begin.

Next up is removing the ribs and replacing them, half of them at a time. Removing them means splitting them with a chisel, and then prying out the nails. The copper nails were clinch nailed, meaning they were nailed from the outside all the way through the rib and bent to make a “J” shape, and they need to be cut to get them out. This is a very large task, but I have some willing and not-so-willing volunteers to help out.

 

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First bend

First bend was successful, here’s a gratuitous picture of the wood on the form. It bent quite easily after fifteeen minutes of steaming, 1/4″ thick. You can never own enough clamps!

Laminate bend

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Bending a new stem

The past few weeks have not been great in terms of boat restoration. Every project has its highs and lows, and last weekend saw the project in a state of despair. Lighting a match under the boat seemed like a viable option.

Keel in the jigBefore I get into details, I purchased some quarter-sawn white oak for the keel, stem and ribs. With my Dad’s help we cut the 11′ section for the keel, and made up two blanks for the stem. The keel worked out well, and after drilling out the holes for the ribs, it is ready for installation. Here’s a picture of the keel with my drilling jig.

The despair part of the project came when attempting to bend the stem. The stem is 5′ long and  1.75″ x 1.75″, that’s a lot of wood to bend. I put together a steam box of PVC pipe, wrapped it in blankets to keep it warm, and with this ugly rig managed to keep the temperature at around 95C at the end. The stem was cooked for two hours, and we then attempted to bend it over the form. Unfortunately both blanks broke during the attempt.

Steam box

In hindsight, the mistake I made was to attempt to bend a thick piece of kiln-dried wood. The kiln-drying process damages the cell structure of the wood, which is fine for almost all applications except for steam bending. It’s an expensive lesson to learn, but learn it I have.

IMG_20140217_115813What now? Finding air dried or green quarter sawn white oak is very difficult. Instead with the advice of my local wood supplier I’ve decided to laminate the stem instead, with 1/4″ pieces. They are cut, just need a good sanding and epoxying. I may steam the pieces just to make them a bit more flexible, but I can almost bend them over the form without steaming, so hopefully this will work better. To the left is a picture of the form with the old rotten stem over it. The form has large holes drilled into it for clamping purposes, which were drilled after the picture was taken.

Once the stem is laminated it needs a lot of shaping (my favourite activity, turning wood into shaving) and the installation of both stem and keel. And the move onto the ribs. I’ve decided to replace all the ribs, as there are only ten or so of the fifty that are not in rough shape, so while I’m at it I may as well replace them all.

 

 

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Rotten stem and keel

stripped hullI finished stripping the bottom a few weeks ago, which uncovered some “interesting” prior repairs, some of which need to be redone. The hole is quite obvious, and now that the outer keel and outer stem are gone, the rot to stem and inner keel are really obvious.

I managed to carefully pry out the stem, first by taking out any nails that were slight raised, and then by very carefully prying the boards away from the stem and cutting any nails I could reach. Finally with only the bottom boards holding the stem I gently pulled it out. It split in half, the rot was far worse than I imagined.

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Here’s a closeup of where the stem simply gave up and broke, that clearly shows the rot. I guess that’s not bad for a 50 year old chunk of wood that’s taken a beating for so long.

The front part of the keel is also in rough shape, so I need to pull that out without further damaging the boat. Because the stem overlaps the keel, I’m going to replace the keel first and then put in a new stem.

Next up is to purchase some quarter sawn white oak and setup a jig to bend it. I have most of what I need to steam bend a new stem, but a snow storm put a stop to visiting the lumber store. Bending wood is a very interesting and somewhat stressful process, but one I’ve done before and am quite excited to do again.

I counted rotten ribs, and from what I can tell 36 of them, about half, need replacing. All of them need to be steam bent as well.

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Stripping

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Here’s the stripper hard at work. I really dislike using chemicals but this stuff is amazing. Put it in, wait 15 minutes, and 49 years if paint scrapes neatly off (with a bit if muscle). Scraping with a sprained wrist really sucks though.

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The mess that is the bow

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After taking the remaining bits of metal off that someone had used to repair the bow, I found a mess. And a hole. Both were expected. The inner and outer stem, as well as the keel are all rotten and need to be replaced. This is turning into a rather large project.

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My new (to me) boat

I recently came into ownership of a 1965 Richardson Avalon 14′ cedarstrip boat. The history of the manufacturer is somewhat cloudy, but it appears in 1962 the former General Manager of Peterborough Canoe Company, the company that built most of the cedar strip runabouts, bought Lakefield Boat Co and renamed it to Richardson Aquacraft, also Rilco Industries. [source] The boat has the Richardson name on the side, but the Rilco name on the manufacturer’s tag. It was purchased either new or very new by a friend’s grandfather and was used at the family cottage until the late 1990′s, after which it was stored in a garage.

Richardson Avalon

The boat is more or less in reasonable shape for its age. It comes with the original 1965 Evinrude 33HP motor, which looks to be in excellent shape. My brother has graciously volunteered to have a go at bringing it back to life. After pulling out the seats and hardware, the real work starts to become apparent. While most of the ribs are intact, there is a lot of rot in the inner stem and the ribs in the front. Most of the ribs at the front will have to be replaced, as will the solid oak inner stem, and possibly the keel as well. There is a bit of hogging in the keel, which can be sorted out, and there is a slight twist in the boat which can also be straightened.

Here’s a picture of the boat sitting on its new cradle.

Boat on its cradle

And another random one showing what the inside looks like. The planks and seats and deck are all cedar, and anything structural looks to be either oak or ash. The screw driver is laying on a seat support, and the ugly block is where the throttle assembly hung off of. Pretty much every screw and bolt is original and completely rusted, and each one takes a lot of work to get it out.

inside

 

I ordered a DVD from Donald Husack on how to restore a boat like this, and it was well worth the money even after watching only the first thirty minutes.

I’ll try keep this page updated as I go along.

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Popup Trailer Roof Repair Part 2

Fixing a rotten roof is an incredible amount of work. After taking the rotten parts off, the horizontal part of the roof is solid, as is the vertical side on the driver-side. The passenger side is entirely rotted out, see this picture for how bad it is.

IMG_20130384This is a picture looking at the top of the side, it’s hard to see but the inside is full of mold. Remember that’s supposed to be a solid board. I’m going to replace the side entirely. A friend scrounged up some aluminum for me, and some hardwood plywood will be the new core.

The next step was to scrape off the remaining plywood from the vinyl (is it vinyl?) roof material without puncturing it. Unfortunately I did go through it a few times, I’m not entirely sure how to fix that just yet.

IMG_20130382The pic on the right is from the inside of the trailer looking back, you can see some of the roof material and some plywood. I managed to scrape off most of the remaining plywood and glue today using a combination of a sharpened paint scraper, and a really long chisel-type tool. I’m not sure what is, but it works really well once it’s sharp.

I still need to clean off the old caulking in various places, then time to start rebuilding. August 1st is looming quickly.

 

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Popup Trailer Roof Repair

After seeing some odd spots on the roof of my tent trailer, some exploratory surgery showed that the back, front and side of the roof are completely rotten. A new roof will take more than eight weeks to order, and cost aside that puts a damper on the planned East Coast trip on August. So the only option short of buying a tent is to repair it. Thanks to the wonderful people at www.popupexplorer.com I feel reasonably confident that this can be done. Further demolition showed the rot to be so bad that I’m not entirely sure how the lift mechanism was still lifting the roof, as the brackets were in completely rotten wood. Two pictures that show the extent of the damage.

This is from the inside looking at the back panel. The white is mould. This panel is so bad that I can just grab the wood and gently nudge it apart.

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And this picture is of the side, looking forward. That piece that’s got the nice curve to it is supposed to be a solid piece of side that holds the roof together.

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Should be fun.

 

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BB10 – Google Accounts

Setting up Google Mail works well, but the calendar doesn’t always sync. This is an intermittent issue reported on this thread, and reported in KB33458.

About the fifth entry down in the thread is a workaround that worked very well for me, steps repeated here for convenience:

  1. Remove the previous gmail accounts.
  2. Click on the Add Account button.
  3. Click on the Advanced button.
  4. Select “Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync”.
  5. Enter a description.
  6. Enter “m.google.com” in the Domain field.
  7. Entered my full email address in the “Username” field.
  8. Entered by full email address again in the “Email Address” field.
  9. Entered my password in the “Password” field.
  10. Entered “m.google.com” in the “Server Address” field.
  11. Left the port set to the default (443).
  12. Left “Use SSL” set to “On”.
  13. Left “User VPN” set to “Off”.
  14. Left “Push” set to “On”.
  15. Click on the “Next” button at the top.
  16. Make sure email, calendar and contacts are set to “On”.

I see some wonderful irony in using a Microsoft protocol to connect a BlackBerry with a Google service.

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BlackBerry 10 Tips – Sorting Facebook Feeds

I picked up a new BlackBerry Z10 yesterday. The device is very nice, but a completely different beast than the old BlackBerry. Because of that, there are a lot of questions on how to tweak various settings, and not many answers.

Question: The Facebook apps appears to be sorting by “Top Stories” instead of “Most Recent”. How do I change that?
Answer: In the device browser, go to “touch.facebook.com”, and click on the “Sort” button, select the sort type you want. Open the Facebook app and presto, it sorts as it should.

Source

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Canoe update – June

A few more pictures available. I’ve got the fibreglass and epoxy on the inside, it only needs a final sanding and then installation of gunwales, seats and decks.

I did have some help sanding it…

From Canoe – Stage 2
From Canoe – Stage 2

Here it is. I love the dark accents, they came out very nicely.

From Canoe – Stage 2

The deadline to get this done is August 2, 2010, so the push is on to get it done.

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Art website

My favourite artist now has a website! Have a look at www.jodiehart.ca.

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WordPress on Mac

I’ve been banging my head against the wall for the past day, trying to figure out why my wordpress install on my Mac doesn’t talk to the database. Setup is simple, enable the built-in apache web server, install the Mac Mysql server and setup as per the wordpress instructions.
. But

When you’re on Linux or any other platform I’ve worked on, one specifies the hostname in wp-config.php as ‘localhost’, or whatever hostname the DB is running on.

Seems that when you’re on Mac, you specify the hostname as ‘localhost:/tmp/mysql.sock’. This is not documented anywhere, but works like magic. Hope this saves someone else a headache in the future.

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Canoe update

The canoe has come a long way since the last update. Over the past few weeks we’ve laid on the fiberglass and four coats of epoxy, and taken it off the molds. Normally you lay on three coats of epoxy, but the third coat was a bit messy so I sanded it off and added a fourth coat.

Here’s my favourite picture, showing the accent strips really well.

From Canoe – Stage 2

And here’s one of the canoe turned over. It’s starting to look like a boat now!

From Canoe – Stage 2

The full album is available here. Unfortunately the canoe is going to sit for a while, as I’m getting sidetracked on a harp.

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Canoe Update

I’ve been working hard on my canoe, and thus not a lot of posting. All the strips are on, the stems are on, and all the staples are out.

The whole album is available here, but here are some highlights.

First the sheer line before cutting. If you look closely you can see the line I drew.

From Canoe

And here’s the sheer line cut with the stems epoxied on.

From Canoe

And here’s the pile of staples I pulled out after the stems were on. I used up a whole liter of glue too.

From Canoe

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Playing with the camera

Fooling around with our new Nikon D90, I came up with these two shots. Click through to see the full pictures.

This first one I took while looking out for meteors. I couldn’t see any meteors (too many clouds and fog) but I did find this airplane. The weird light is from a streetlight that’s a good 300′ behind me.

From Miscellaneous

This second one was taken at Grundy Lake, handheld at 1/6th of a second. Almost impossible to do that without a VR (Vibration Reduction) lense.

From Miscellaneous

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Lighting storm on August 8, 2009

On the evening of August 8th, 2009, Southern Ontario was struck by an incredible lightning storm. In St. George, rather than direct strikes, the sky was constantly lit up by indirect sheet lightning, although accompanied by very little sound. I took some pictures and the resulting colors are a bit spooky. The full album is here. All pictures were taken through a window (I wasn’t about to sacrifice my hair for the sake of photography), with the shutter staying open for 3 seconds. It was after dark, and the sky was pitch black when there wasn’t any lightning, making the lit sky in the pictures all that much more incredible. I give you these two for weird sky colors.

From Lightning Storm on August 8, 2009
From Lightning Storm on August 8, 2009

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Kezia the dancer

Kezia, aged 4, is our resident dancer. There wasn’t enough light in the kitchen for the lens I had on my brand new Nikon D90, but I do think the blurring adds to the effects of her delight in twirling around.

From Family

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Canoe Update – August

A bit more work on the canoe, one half of the bottom is complete, center line is cut, and I’ve got two of the sixteen or so planks on the other half complete. The second half of the bottom is tricky, as both ends have to fit perfectly in what feels like 18 different axis. And if you cut the second end too short you start all over again. Pictures below, and more on my Picasa page. Enjoy!

From Canoe
From Canoe

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