Sunday, July 26, 2015

Lots of fun but no holiday!

Much too busy!

I have been flat out working at SCAMP Camp ( with a side expedition to the dentist to get a broken tooth fixed) pretty much ever since I got here to the Port Townsend area so have been very lax in my postings here on the blog.

We do though have a pretty good Facebook page up and running, thanks to my helpers there, thats Jackie, Pete and Chuck.  Lots to read and lots of pics.

We’re having a lot of fun at the SCAMP build class, halfway through the build class the boats are about on track with all of the frames and internal structure up, and tomorrow (Monday) we’ll be hanging the first pair of planks,  filleting  which is a seemingly endless task, fitting the cleats to which the cockpit floor and seat tops will be fitted  and organising for the second pair of planks.
By Wednesday the boats should be all planked up, “Real” boats, and this crew are doing a nice job of them.  Well done Dana, Bruce, Steve and Daniel.

The photo software “here” is not working the way I want, so please forgive the lack of pics on this post, it wants to do “Cloud” storage rather than keeping them on my hard drive, I’ll work it out.

In the meantime, its Sunday morning as I write, I had a little sleep in, and am now fiddling around learning the new sofware on the Macbook Air I’ve just bought as a replacement for my old laptop.  Nice, it runs for around 12 hours on a charge, great! The old one struggled to get 2 hours.

So I was reading some of the threads over on the WoodenBoat forum, a good plae to “hang out” when wanting some interesting reading, and found three threads on builds of my designs there that will interest.

Suzy Jackson is coming along well with her Navigator build, lots of pics there,

Mal is making very good progress with his Sundowner,

This is a very substantial little boat, lots of space inside, and he’s doing a decent job of it.  Nice work Mal.

There is a good thread on a SCAMP build “here”.  Bruce in South Australia is coming along well with his little boat, and has documented the victories and trials that he’s encountered along the way.

And there is discussion on the big “Pilgrim”  open boat cruiser I designed for myself a while back but never got further than the frames before circumstances meant I had to abandon the build and find somewhere else to live and work.
The pics of Chip Matthews big curvy beauty are well worth a look.
Thanks Chip.

I’ll be back in a couple of days, I promise.

John Welsford

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


I was busy building a garage, I've mentioned it before.  A kitset 6m x 3.5 m one from Trade Tested here in NZ,  it came in several cardboard boxes, not very big ones, and did those boxes  not seem like nearly enough to carry all the bits needed for a building that size.
It turned out to be so lightly built and difficult to assemble that I abandoned the build half way through, it took me a couple of hours to dismantle what had taken me an awfully long time to get built,  then a day to make up a complete pre nail wooden kit from 3x2 wood including five roof trusses, and a day to stand all that up and put the cladding from the kit onto that.
We've now got a robust and tidy building that will withstand a good blow.

The point behind this epistle is, apart from dont buy  one of those cheap garden or garage kits, is that I had some serious trimming of sheet metal to do, and tinsnips just did not cut it ( pun intended of course)

So I want off to the hardware store to find a metal cutting blade for the skilsaw,  not a cutting disc for an angle grinder, this is a sawblade specific to sheet metalwork.
Found one, near enough a hundred bucks.  That was enough of  a shock that I had to go and browse in the aisle where all the toys are ( read, power tools,  I'm a sucker) to get my breath back.

I found there one of those "twinsaws" that are advertised as being able to cut almost anything,  this was very similar to the Ozito brand one in this link   but was the very cheap Bunnings brand XU1  version. $65  .  The saw blade went back on the rack., and I took the twinsaw home with me.

The thing cuts like a Samurai sword production line test dept.  It cuts anything up to about 1/8in like butter, its not a high quality tool and I dont expect it to last forever  but it pretty much paid for itself in an hours work.

I dont think I'd buy this brand if I were serious, but the Ozito one is a reasonable deal and the quality is reasonable for a tool that is not in full time use.

A word of warning though, they're not good for cutting wood, they are specifically built for sheet and light sections of metal.

Interesting tool though, useful.

John Welsford

Monday, July 13, 2015

Facebook, travel and stuff

We’ve  started a Facebook page,  I’d tried to do that a couple of years ago but got annoyed at how many emails it dumped into my inbox and spent ages trying to unsubscribe to no avail.  But since Yahoo made such a mess of their Yahoo groups system Facebook has become much more popular, and it seems the way to go.
With the help of Jackie Monies and Chuck Leinweber I now have a Facebook page that works, and I  am impressed at how many people have joined up.

My thoughts are that I’ll use this blog for mostly technical stuff, tools, ( I’ve another one to report on, have the photos and will do that in a couple of days) building, projects, and such, and use the facebook for more social stuff and interactions with everyone “out there”.

So if you have not caught up with it, here is the link.

Today,  in about 6 hours I’m walking up the hill towing my suitcase, heading for the bus stop into the city where I’ll catch the airport shuttle,  this trip is a long one,  3 months, I’ll be back in late October.
I've several boat shows to attend, sailing events, SCAMP Camps,  Red Lantern Rally, and lots of driving.  I'll be visiting several JW builders, seeing a lot of new places and meeting friends new and old. 
Travel at this time of year is not a bad idea, its summer in the USA, and here we’ve just had the coldest day for more than 60 years, its raining right now and my heater is on full. So I’ve got to pack, tidy the ship and switch all the systems off, go and rob the bank, then its make that walk up to the road and along to the glass bus stop with the amazing view out over the sea.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Spring is just around the corner. Well, several corners and a couple of straights really.

Three minutes and forty four seconds.
Not a lot, you cant do much in that small amount of time.  I can type about 100 words, walk a hundred and fifty yards at a gentle pace, paddle around twice that if I am pushing it along, or brew a cup of tea.

Today I’m working on taking off the plank offsets for SEI, and I can tell you that although it’s not a complicated job, it takes a great deal more time than that. I’ve been on it most of the afternoon and it’s a job nearly done.

But todays time here in the southern hemisphere between sunrise and sunset will be three minutes and forty four seconds longer than the shortest day a couple of weeks ago. The seasons are heading for springtime and we’ll soon be able to tell the difference! 

I will be heading for summertime in 10 days time though, the long trip to Port Townsend has become an annual event for me, SCAMP Camp is a fixture these days, usually run just before the Port Townsend Wooden Boat festival in September this one has had to be scheduled early due to the Maritime Center being booked for our usual time so I am in there in a couple of weeks time being a Schoolmaster teaching people to put their kits together.

It’s a long trip, and most of the airlines go through LAX That place is my least favourite airport on the planet and I’d got to great lengths to avoid travelling through there, so this time I’ve managed to get a decent deal on the tickets with Hawaiian Air, flying via Hawaii then into SeaTac. No I don’t get a stopover, drat.

But its going to be an interesting northern hemisphere summer for me, Jackie Monies and I are touring, from Port Townsend to Michigan, back to Toledo Or for their boat show, then Port Townsend for the Wooden Boat Festival, then wandering south to Oklahoma, Texas and the Port Aransas PlyWooden Boat show.

Once we can get our heads together in PT we’ll be working out where we’ll be, who we can call on, what we’re doing. Our thoughts are to post our schedule so people will know when we’re in their area, stop for a day to meet builders and interested people, talk boats and other nonsense, then drive to the next stop.

All this takes time, more than the 90 days that my visitors permit allows, so I have to leave not only the country but “neighbouring countries and Island territories” as well.  So it looks as though we’re going to Belize, just for a few days. 

Could be a lot worse.

It will be well into spring when I get home to New Zealand again.

Hope to see you somewhere along the way.