Friday, 27 April 2012

Good Customer - new deffinition

Companies want "good customers" of course but what do you mean when you say you have one? Perhaps you mean a customer who pays well and is easy to communicate with...not a bad description of a good customer. My company Blackbox Automation has good customers by this fairly traditional deffinition but most of them go much farther. Our efforts at the boatshop are paid for in good measure by these "good customers" - every year I arm wrestle them to remain sponsors of our Boats 4 Folks events and other activities.

My particular thanks go out to Poczo Manufacturing and Tresman Steel for their support. Today however another "good customer" went over the top to assist! We needed to pick up some 16' planks from Noiah's and the special pickup we usually use is out of town. I called Paul Bernardi at Bernardi Building Supplies (long time users of Blackbox Radio Controls on their drywall booms) to see if they could help. Within minutes they agreed to help and diverted one of their trucks to Noah's and brought the desperately needed planks to the boatshop! Amazing!

delivery with a smile!

Earlier this week it has been hectic preparing for next weeks double skiff build at the cancer camp in Toronto! All the bottoms and sides are cut out now although a bit more fairing is required on the sides.
The plan is to stage the build next Friday so we will be ready first thing Saturday morning.

Wayne and Chris jig the bottoms out..
Chris and Wayne jig the sides out..

Tomorrow, Saturday will be another busy one - by all means come out and have some fun with us!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A Fontaine arrives!

What you ask is a Fontaine! Well as it happens there was an article in a recent ACBS Classicboat newsletter giving the history of The Fontaine Boat company who were located in Pefferlaw Ontario on the south east corner of Lake Simcoe. They made very fine cedarstrip boats with a distinctive shape at the bow. This one is in very nice condition including a nearly new top. It was gifted by new volunteer Peter Godwin of Orangeville - Thank you Peter!

Now if we can just dig out an engine...
Anton checks out a few details.

Meanwhile work is flying along on the skiff kit preparations. All the panels have been scarphed and the sides and bottoms have been cut out. A bit of filling and fairing is needed on these panels then they are ready to go!

Teams are coming together nicely for the May 5/6th Boats 4 Folks weekend in Toronto at the cancer camp where 8 kids will build 2 skiffs in two days! We are really looking forward to this one - it will be hectic as usual but lots of fun!
Trevor preps skiff parts for varnish.

Jim and George check out the oar supply.

And it has just been confirmed that our 1900 Peterborough Rowboat will be taking part in the Portuguese Community Parade in Toronto on June 9th! Our Senior Portuguese Correspondent, Anton will take it there and assist in the event! More about this to come!

1900 Peterborough Rowing Skiff

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Scrape - Sand - Scarph, Oh the Joy!

Last week the stack of marine grade ply arrived and the preparation for scarphing began. This is the process of making big ones out of small ones, 12' panels out of 8' panels. The issue is that these panels are bent into shape as the skiff is built and it takes a very strong joint to do that. We 'ramp' both ends of two panels to a 12:1 ratio, reverse one and epoxy them into a single panel.

Below you see George and Anton putting the very fine finishing touches to the ramping phase. The mating surfaces must be just slightly concave to ensure a joint that will close completely when epoxied. George may be expressing an opinion about belt sanders?

"Doctor" George makes a delcate incision
Anton in his element! George not so much?

Meanwhile Jim is preparing the loose bits and pieces of the Lightning coamings and splash rails for a final few hits of varnish. Everything must be sanded or rubbed to eliminate any shiney spots as varnish adhesion is quite mechanical. Also on the Lightning Ray is "flattening" the primed surface to improve the quality of our paint job.

Jim readying Lightning parts for varnish
Ray flattens the paint on the Lightning

Also back on Lightning duty, Chris carefully trimmed the overhanging canvas from the deck so it won't hang below the rubrail when it is re-installed. Next step is to seal this joint to keep water out.

no not praying - scraping!
and finally this week, new volunteer Ray who is in the promotional items business has donated more than a dozen Kids & Classics logo'd jackets, fleeces and vests to aid in our fundraisng efforts (and to see the core members looking a bit more presentable?) Thanks Ray!

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Skiffs flying along!

This week saw the completion of another Boats 4 Folks skiff ready for our annual fundraising raffle on Fathers Day - stay tuned for tickets! This boat came out beautifully - one of our best paint jobs yet thanks to Anton's perseverence to detail and the other volunteers pitching in as well. This boat has been moved into our booth in the store at Beaumont Mill Antiques & Collectibles.

Varnished bits go in...

MB, Chris, Jim and George all smiles!

Next step is preparing the kits for this springs 3 skiff builds - two in Toronto and the cancer camp in May and one here at the K&C Boatshop during the Big Daddy Festival on Father's Day Weekend. George and Jim have been on this project for some weeks but the last batch of marine plywood just arrived and George was right at it last night! It is ready for the fine touch of Anton and his Belt Sander to finish before scarphing into the long panels needed to make boat parts!

George up to his knees in shavings - pure heaven...

Meanwhile Quail will need a protective frame in order to go out for a light blasting inside before we get into a full rib replacement - which none of us have ever done before...

And John is going to experiment with refastening the original inner planks on the Shepherd Outboard to see if they will flatten sufficiently to be re-used - stay tuned on this one too.

all dry fitted in original places...
the trickey end.

The original inner and outer planks have various degrees of "cupping" in some areas so we will be experimenting with removing some of this with steam or hot water to try and avoid having to make new planks when these are mostly in good condition.

This is a good time for you to become a Gatsby Member before our boating season begins. Your financial support will be thanked by invitations to join us when we go boating. Ask Malcolm for more details on this programme or pass this link on to someone who might like to help kids and go antique boating!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Kids Boatcamp Days this summer

New events and activities are shaping up for Kids & Classics Boatshops this summer!

The details are being worked out for us to partner with several charities who work with cancer kids and other kids-at-risk communities - mostly in Toronto. Our 1957 27' Shepehrd "Despina" and possibly some of our smaller boats will be based in Toronto Harbour where we are creating a number of Kids Boating Camp Days. These days will include rides in the big Shepherd with an opportuinity to "drive", a sailing experience, rides and training in our smaller boats, rowing and fun ways of learning some basic boating skills.

We will pass on the names of these org's as soon as we have permission to do so!

Meanwhile back at the boatshop in the Glen we are getting ready for our participation in the Big Daddy Festival on Fathers Day Weekend - which will include a Boats For Folks skiff building event this year as well as the Paint-A-Boat Mural on the Wavecrest, Design-A-Cupcake and of course an antique boat show.

seats ready to go back in
rails freshly varnished and ready

The raffle skiff is done except for final assembly, skiff kit parts are coming off the George and Jim assembly line and things are looking good in the Boats 4 Folks department!

outer planks off to John's!
and ready for planking!

John managed to strip the outer planks for the Shepherd Outboard at great risk! The inner planks are ready to go back on the boat this week. Peter has the Mercury Marathon stripped down and the parts list done - it is clear that this is the first time this engine has been appart since built in 1960!

George checking out Peter's discoveries

Quail our 10' cedarstrip tender is turned over and will need rib replacement taking us into new ground - steaming!

pretty little boat, lots of work first!

Exciting times at the boatshop! Come on out and have a look any Saturday morning!