Sunday, November 26, 2017

The summer of the paintbrush is upon us.

It’s a busy day up there. A few minutes ago there was a vintage De Havilland Chipmunk  outward bound to somewhere, her Gypsy engine sounding quite different from the usual Lycoming or Continental flat fours. I am watching out the window as a tiny microlite aircraft wafts past a couple of hundred metres up,  above it is a Cessna 150 on approach for the small airfield just over the hill, A Britten Norman Islander is out on the horizon heading for Great Barrier Island 50 miles away, I can hear a radial engined aircraft somewhere, a helicopter is heading along the coast and there is a big jet above all that, throttled down on her glidepath for the international airport 40 miles away.
As a contrast, I was out in my rowing boat just before dawn this morning, sitting, drifting with the current as the tide pushed me along and through the wooded area near the head of the river, watching as the sun came up and listening to the dawn chorus of the birds awakening.

Such a contrast.

I was busy yesterday prepping and spot painting my old ship, I’ve had her now for three years and she was way overdue for a repaint when I got her, so now the paint job has become urgent.  But life, travel, bad weather and work have meant that apart from fixing some rot spots and deck leaks the outside has taken second place to recoating the varnished inside,  fixing the electrical system and generally tidying and repairing inside.
After an amazingly wet winter we’re now having a warm, dry spring so in between drawing, boatbuilding, cutting the grass and fixing other peoples machinery I’ve been burning and scraping, filling and spot priming .  There’res a lot to do, so while its dry I’m getting on with it.

Scraped, sanded, primer coat and prep coat on, at least that part is ready for two coats of top coat. The side deck of course will have a non skid grit added to the paint.

Technology is an amazing thing, I completed two drawings yesterday, in between all the other stuff of course, called in at the local print shop to have them scanned and emailed back to me.  I expect the emailed files to be in my inbox this morning, and will forward one to Portland OR, and the other to Boise Idaho, not so long ago that would have entailed getting a plan printer to pump out copies then a long slow trip by snail mail. 
I’m working on the next drawings today, I’ve run out of primer paint and wanted to leave a couple of areas where the wood behind the peeling paint was wet, to dry out so I do have an excuse.

Long Steps is at that stage where there is not much to see in the way of progress, I’m coating the inside, all those areas that wont be accessible soon, with three coats of epoxy.  That entails not only the coating but a light sanding off between coats, a slow and boring job but it will be done soon. 
Thats the "Scotsmans Brush".  A section of lambswool paint roller, cut to 50mm then split lengthwise into three, one of those tacked to a wooden handle. It does a much better job than a paintbrush, and is a lot cheaper too. Apologies to the Scots reading this, All of the Scottish people I've ever come across have put the lie to the old tale of meanness, but in spite of that the legend persists.

I have though just fitted the towing eye.  Its a 10mm threaded eyebolt, a substantial lump of stainless steel, I'm hoping that I don't have to accept a tow, just use it to pull the boat onto her trailer, but its there and solid enough just in case.

The eyebolt is set through a lovely piece of hardwood that I cut from a natural crook, its glued in and screwed through the stringers before the planking was fitted, drilled oversize right through the stem, the hole then filled with epoxy glue and redrilled at the right size and the bolt fitted.
There will be a neoprene "O ring" fitted under the "outside" washer to prevent water coming in.

SEI needs a repaint too, I was experimenting with water based enamels, different primers and undercoats, and can say that in this case the water based primers are nowhere near as good as the spirit / oil based ones, with almost total failure of the paint system where I’d used the water based ones and somewhat better results where the oil based ones were used.
So I have to scrape her interior down and repaint, she’s looking very ratty right now, but the experiment was worth it.

Totally different subject, I needed to replace a pocket, point and shoot camera that had finally died. I wanted a waterproof one that I could carry when out in the small boats, one that I didn’t have to think about, just switch on, point, zoom and click.  After window shopping both on line and in the shops, I had the bright idea of looking in “Trade me” which is our equivalent to “Ebay”,  got a Fujifilm Finepix J15 fd.  It’s a fairly decent small camera, seems to do everything I want
Complete with charger, waterproof case, a couple of the special 1GB  cards, all the accessories and even a carry bag for $12 plus $3.50 freight. The equivalent new one would run to a couple of hundred bucks.  I’m very pleased. 
There will be more pics of work on Long Steps.

Meanwhile, the tides are right for a trip down the river in the ship, she’s in need of a scrub around the waterline, and I’m thinking that if I row down and check the sandbar out, I can put the ship on the bottom an hour before low tide and walk around with a scrubber.  An hour would leave a handspan or so of her bottom exposed and I’d be afloat an hour later.
My new camera can be used to take a pic or two of the prop to check that out, I cant hold my breath long enough to do that as well as I’d like so a pic would allow me to study it at lesure, while breathing.

But thats tomorrows job, right now I’ll mix some glue and put a piece of plank on Long Steps. All pre coated on the inside of course.

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