The Tracks of her Years

Scraping and sanding the varnished cockpit coaming reveals repairs and reinforcements, witness to the passage of time and hard use of the past 85 years. Far from detracting from the look of the boat I rather like them, imaging the events in the past that led to these scars brings her history to life. Was it a storm straining on the cleat that split the teak, did the boom get dropped on it, or was it some clumsy oaf getting too enthusiastic with a winch handle?

Coaming Repairs
Coaming repairs bear witness to the past.

At the stern is a Tiller Comb, a long piece of timber with holes for pegs that are used to trap the tiller on a given tack, a kind of auto pilot if you like. It cleaned up rather well… #2 Son did sterling work with the hot air gun and scraper, well done Joe.

 

Tiller Comb and Cockpit Coaming all sanded and lovely.
Tiller Comb and Cockpit Coaming all sanded and lovely.

Sunday morning dawned frosty and blue and having treated ourselves to a sausage and egg onion bagel I left Tilly in the warm embrace of ‘USA’s Cutest Kittens’ or some such nonsense and ventured out for more sanding and musings on the tracks of Flamingo’s passing years. The muddy path to the field had tracks of a different kind, this part of East Sussex has a burgeoning population of deer and they are rather partial to apple trees, much to mother’s despair. Venison for Christmas?

Tracks of another kind show the orchard had some unwelcome visitors in the night
Tracks of another kind show the orchard had some unwelcome visitors in the night

The cold weather and the shorter days have prompted me to set up this beauty. A cast off from work, the lamp blasts the bench with light and a bonus warmth too! I think some sort of spigot clamp would work better than the tripod though, as it eats up a rather large amount of floor space.

Improved lighting in the workshop
Improved lighting in the workshop

Though it is lighter now, the old workshop is still gently rotting from the ground up, the pillar drill is slowly disappearing into the floor and the roof leaks seem to be breeding, so I’ve cleared a space around the shed by the boat to build a new one….

IMG_0844

Meanwhile, in a much smarter workshop, the Bosun has been beavering away making some lovely teak washboards.

Flamingo washboards. 19 Oct 2015
Washboards nearly ready for fitting.

Can’t wait to get them fitted and give him his next project…… saloon table maybe? Teak grating for the cockpit….? Hand rails for the coach roof….

 

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Late Post

I found this post from Spring lurking in my drafts… so here it is.

A beautiful sunny day and no school run = lots achieved on Flamingo. The mast step is finally finished and I scale the ladder with some trepidation partly due to the massive lump of English Oak on my shoulder and the wobbliness of the ladder but mainly because I have spent a considerable amount of time and effort to get to this stage and this will be the first time I see whether it fits. It doesn’t. The mismatched bolts it has to slide over, project from the keel at jaunty angles – mocking me. Undeterred, a bit of work with mallet and chisel and a bit of sweat and grazed knuckles… and it’s on! I have to admit to being slightly surprised. My woodworking skills are ok but copying the crumbling original with no square or flat surfaces to use as a datum there was always going to be a hefty dollop of crossed fingers and guesswork in the process.

The old mast step is a crumbling lump
The old mast step is a crumbling lump

Reversing my wobbly progress back down the ladder I applied a generous coat of linseed oil to the Oak. It was a little green when I bought it and sitting out in the sun, wind and rain is drying it a bit too quickly. Hopefully a good soaking of oil will help slow the seasoning down a little.

Having mixed up far too much thinned down linseed oil I cast my eye around for anything else that might also be suffering  from Mother Nature’s affections. The rudder, a huge laminated slab of teak was looking a little dry… its not now. 🙂

I spent some time last weekend making some trestles to store the spars. They were languishing under the boat exposed to the elements that the flash coat of varnish was fast losing the battle with. They are now more convenient to access and better supported to limit any unwanted bend in the mast. Lots of sanding and a large jar of thinned down oil later and the Mast, Boom, and Gaff are looking very nice and all tucked up under a roll of DPM to give them some protection. Whilst cursing nature’s effect on my wood, I am of course aware, that I’m working whilst standing in an orchard surrounded by apple blossom and primroses, bumble bees lumbering through the periwinkles, a ubiquitous robin chirping nearby and the rat tat tat tat of a woodpecker down by the stream. So I guess, given the entertainment she’s laid on, I’ll forgive her the depredations.

Primroses and Periwinkles in the spring sunshine
Primroses and Periwinkles in the spring sunshine