Very little work on Flamingo has been done since my last post 😦 it’s a common thread running through this blog…  Looking back, instead of woodworking, boatbuilding and tool making there has been lots of displacement activity like parties, picnics, sailing and such. …. surprisingly few rhino though…. I’ve always maintained, no blog is really complete with a couple of these leathery skinned, quadrupeds so here are some rhino to redress the balance.

Putting the Rhino to bed with a last snack.
Putting the Rhino to bed with a last snack.

These two handsome beasts are being cared for as part of an endangered species breeding progamme at Manor Wildlife Park in Wales where we went for a half term holiday. Tilly even got to put Sudocrem on their sore bits!

Along with trips to Wales there have been lovely autumn walks

beautiful sunny autumn walk

Gathering wood for the winter.

Splitting logs is so satisfying

Making baseball bats for ‘The Purge’ Halloween costume.

Baseball bat making on the pole lathe

Harvesting apples

Apples ready to go to be pressed

In amongst this veritable cornucopia of displacement activity there have been a few, a very few boat relevant jobs. I finally managed to gather together all my bladed tools to take to father’s workshop to use his water cooled grindstone. All chisels, planes, spoke shaves etc need their bevel regrinding at some point and mine had been crying out for some attention for far too long.

Smoothing plane dismantled for de-rusting, sharpening and cleaning

Once I started sharpening I realised just how the damp atmosphere down in our misty little frost pocket has rusted my tools, so both planes were stripped down cleaned up and put back together. I spent hours sharpening and fettling and there’s still all the carving chisels to do!

It was lovely to be in a proper workshop with all the right tools in all the right places like a One Republic lyric.

Knocking out the bronze bolts that hold the steel floors in was harder than I thought as they seem to have been bonded in with some super sticky gloop. Consequently I got a bit impatient and over enthusiastic with a hammer rather than a more forgiving mallet…. the result was a whole set of bolts with crushed threads. Very poor!


Bronze bolts sadly misshapen after my over eager bashing

Luckily my father’s godfather Kenneth was thoughtful enough in 1959 to give him a set of BSW taps and dies… perhaps not with this exact job in mind but nevertheless, a wise, thoughtful and exemplary godfather.

Taps and Die
Kenneth’s gift.
Cunning bolt holder

So with a bit of cutting fluid and a lot of care the threads were re-cut and the day saved. Helped along by this little gift that, in my absence, like a little workshop pixie, father made to assist better gripping.

side view of bolt gripping gizmo

I said it before and I’ll doubtless bang on about it until I get my own workshop…. it’s so good having all the tools and a proper space to work in.

No Autumn would be complete without a trip to ‘the Ladybird tree’. These tiny little bugs hunker down for the winter in the cracks and crevices of an old tree in the woods near us and always signify the start of winter for me.

the Ladybird tree

A trip to Bristol and a walk around the harbour was inspirational.


A pilot cutter underway at Underfalls Yard Bristol

As was a visit to Iron Wharf in Faversham

A lovely lady waiting to be rescued
Lengthening shadows and golden hues

So that was Autumn and now we’re through the festive season, out the other side and looking forward to spring, but with a house move in the pipeline I doubt the pace of work on Flamingo will be any faster, but she’s safe enough under her tarp until the days are longer and outside work more inviting…