Sunday, 23 February 2014

Of Shepherds, Steamboxes, SeaFleas & Neptune!

This has been a WOW week in the Boatshop! Corners have been turned and stuff is moving along suddenly more quickly.

First is George's probably amazing steambox which has been a missing for some time in the shop - if you go back far enough you might notice we were busy with a lovely little cedar strip dinghy called "Quail" then suddenly nothing. Well we recognized that she requires a full re-ribbing and hadn't done this before. But at the ACBS Fall Workshop, Ken Lavallette showed us how to do this - so all of a sudden we need a steambox! After a bit of discussion George came up with a concept and we got on with it - take a look so far.

First the shell is constructed
and boat-nailed together.
We opted for an 8' x 15" x 10".
They are drilling all the pilot holes
out to 3/8" so the lead end of the
square oak splints will start.

next it is drilled in a grid for 3 levels
of steaming. We tried a wire but didn't like it.

George sawed up oak splints
to be the internal supports.
Here is his special tool for rounding
the lead end.
soon all three rows are driven
through and the box is ready
to be closed.
using a bucking iron held by Jim, George
drives the square oak splints right through.

with the machined lid clamped
in the right place, the bottom
is boatnailed in place.
almost done, add back and hinged cover - oh
and steam!

Congratulations George and Jim, very nice job and almost done now. We have a sealable container and burner but are missing some fittings and hose to make and deliver steam to the back of the box.

This past weekend saw another breakthrough on the 16' Shepherd Outboard as well, we cut the two rear inner plywood bottom pieces and using an offcut of mahogany plywood fiddled around to see if we could make the whole inner bottom with one scarph per side. Looks like it will work and we now have a pattern for the front end of the new bottom panels....

First the rear panels for
port and starboard sides..

cutting out the other one.

it took quite a few "on and off" tests and reshaping of the curve
along the keel but we finally got the test piece bent into position.
We were not at all certain the panel would take this bend without
buckling or cracking but - hey! Looks easy so far..Ray is tightening clamps.

Meanwhile Anton was rearranging the area around the entrance to the shop. It has been a jumble of subjects and it is time to make it more effective as the first thing a visitor sees when they arrive. The tools and fasteners will move to the back with the rest of similar stuff. We will keep our eyes open for some more suitable display furniture for this area.

Library ladder is a nice touch and gets us
to our art gallery - mostly thanks to Anton!

First time volunteer JJ who is a hobby outboard motor fanatic arrived with Ray and got right into the spirit of the community Boatshop! We picked out our 1930's Neptune Evinrude outboard motor to see what he could do with it - well, just as our friends Scott and Al from the Halton Regional Police Marine Unit dropped in, he had sorted out the little motors' systems and was ready for a first pull! On the third pull - away see went! A bit smokey and no water circulation but fired right up! Cool!

off comes the little carburetor
With Anton's help the motor
 gets cleaned up.
before disassembly take a picture!

Ray and JJ get the carb back on
lots of hands make light work?
promising noises are heard...

ready for the big pull!

the smoke says it all - JJ got it running!

Paul showed up to move the Mini-Hopper project along and as the no 2 prototype had told us all we needed to know (I hope), Paul got on with getting out the first of the final parts for a real Mini-Hopper! We need four for this summers' kids programme. Part of our redesign is building with mahogany and marine grade plywood.

The outer side panels came out of
a 3/4 mahogany plank.
Al and Scott check out our high tech
outboard collection...
The new look is visible, no kink
in the rear quarters and a real transom
with the bottom still full length.

All in all a really great day for our team members, new and long term. Just had to have a picture - who says having the police take your picture is bad news anyway....

The cops catch us near the end of a great Boatshop day!
Paul, Anton, George, Ray, JJ and Malcolm (hisself).

Sunday, 16 February 2014

ACBS Winter Workshop a blast!

This past Saturday was a beautiful day and what better thing to do than mess about with boats. At K&C we were pleased to host this year's ACBS Winter Workshop Event. The turnout was fantastic with the shop bursting at the seams for much of the time - I believe we had over 50 visitors plus our own team.

The session began with yours truly giving a brief (I hope) explanation of how we operate and in particular in how our kids programme works. This was supported by Hayes (one of our Probation Officer partners) who eloquently described the results he has seen with a number of the kids who he has brought to Boats 4 Folks.

Black blathering to...
a rapt crowd...

Constable Al Bonner of The Halton Regional Police Marine Unit spoke about current marine policing priorities, some of the common pitfalls they see and how to prepare for your boating outing. He has offered to be of whatever help they can be in the pursuit of our goals with kids and safe boating.

John Gullick of ACBS and CPS fame did a most entertaining demonstration of the use and repacking of inflatable PFD's. He pointed out that while they are very comfortable, they are only valid if being worn in the boat.

Constable Al was very informative...
and John was compelling in pink....

Next on the agenda was a presentation by our new volunteer (but long time Vincent chum of mine) Glen Cavers on the ingenious techniques employed in the 40's for hot rodding old engines. The highlight was the use of a Lincoln V12 distributor mated to the flathead 6 base that allowed two coils to fire 3 cylinders each - thus doubling the recharge time between sparks.

Also under way were the fashioning of a real transom to prototype 2 of our modified MiniMax with Bernie leading that discussion and action.

looking better and better! almost ready for a final one...

Over on Gas-Hopper teams went to work on eh stripping challenge lead by young Mr. Parcher who spread the stripping goo like an expert! It turns out that the hull is clad in 'glass which we were not really certain about so the heat method was quickly abandoned as it lifts the 'glass. Interesting how the removal of the paint clears up the history of the repairs done to the boat over the years! More about this in future reports.

Finally many of the group headed over to one of our storage barns to look at some of our boats - leaving others of us to begin the cleanup after a great day!

The volunteers of the Kids & Classics Boatshops Museum would like to thank the members of ACBS Toronto Chapter for honouring us with their presence. Special thanks to John Gullick for the fun it was to work with him in putting it all together!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Mini-Hopper prototype 2!

While there has been a huge cleanup and reorganization in the shop over the last week or so, the development of our own version of the MiniMax is coming along really well and the new design is beginning to show up.

proto 1 under construction - notice the kink
in the rear quarter deck and the dip in the shear.
rear view of proto 1 showing the add-on transom
and narrow rear cockpit.

rear view of proto 2 with the cleaner shear,
angled transom and raised rear quarter decks.

proto 2 front view showing the new shape
coming together. This one is made of fir.

For some time the motor shop under the mezzanine has also been the recipient of things that just had to be "moved out of the way for a minute" and had gotten to be a bit of a grotto. Well that is changing fast with Peter and Glen getting lighting up and running, removing stuff that doesn't belong there - should look good by Saturday and the arrival of the ACBS for their Winter Workshop Event. We are honoured that Kids & Classics Boatshops has been chosen to be the host!
Glen hangs the new lights in the motor
shop. He has been doing some really interesting
research on the Gas-Hopper's engine hot rodding!

George has worked out most of the details
for our new Super-Steam Box!

Here are a few more shots of the new Mini-Hopper Sea Flea coming along under Bernie, Tyler and Anton's delicate attentions.

Bernie agonizes over angles (and jutes?)

Anton fairs the front deck centre frame
which changed from ply to wood.

Bernie and Tyler getting the bottom right - finally!
See you on Saturday! If you are an ACBS member and haven't registered for this event - you can still do so on their website.