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by Dan Rogers - Diamond Lake, Washington - USA

Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four

Ahhh.  Nothing like the sound of a Sawzall biting into rotted plywood to make the ol’ heart skip a beat, eh?  Sometimes there’s just no other way to get to the bottom of things.  And, we’re about as low as we can go with this particular excavation.  Right down to the basement.  I don’t have any way to know how often or how full this poor hull had been loaded with water and ice.  Probably more than several times over her past lives.  Three quarter ply doesn’t just turn to dust and flakes without a fair amount of disrespect.  This is a collection of some of the bigger chunks that came out of the bilge.  Probably as much went into the dust collector.

The Boss came out to check on progress.  Mostly, he wanted to check out the rolling dust collector cart I ginned up earlier on the night shift.  He was pretty impressed.  I guess you could say that he signed off on it.

So, after a few more hours’ worth of quality time with the Sawzall;  it’s now time to get some more pleasant memories in the log book with my grinder and maybe even the collection of burr balls.

Just to put this in scale, the keel stub/bilge sump is north of four feet long and a foot deep.  That’s an eight foot two-by-six propped up to do some location-in-space work for setting the new cabin sole.  And, just as soon as I can get the grinding crew to climb down in there, again, we’ll get that rubberized goo peeled back and the sky-side of my keel-bottom patch cleaned up and ready for another go at sealing it off.  Today seems like a good day to figure out how to make a new place to stand on, and to start getting serious about locating things like berths and thunder mug and other essentials. 

It’s a couple feet from the old sole level all the way to the ground floor.  Lotsa’ room for getting more headroom under the wheel house roof that you may see clearly - or, is it only in my imagination?  Or, perhaps, that ain’t quite so obvious yet.  Before much else can happen, that floor has to go from imagination to something a bit more weight-bearing.

It’ll be something that sits on something that looks like this.  There’s a total of four of ‘em from front to back.  The front one will be where the berth foundation starts, with the wheel house sole covering the rest of it on aft.  I leveled the end ones by measuring down from the now -removed cockpit sole.  The two middle ones were leveled with the good ol’ fashioned cement-leveling method I learned a million years ago floating concrete sidewalks.  So, even if it doesn’t quite line up with the horizon (it should at least be in a flat plane and parallel with the remaining cockpit sole).  Something like that.

Speaking of concrete.  I think I’ll wall the sump off fore & aft and pour ballast mud into the outboard bilge sections.  Or something like that.  This is starting to get interesting.  And, unfortunately messy.  And loud.  And, dirty.

This next piece took a whole lot of cutting, and grinding, cussing and groaning. The Boss said I could put it out for bids.  And, believe me, I’d gladly sub something like this out.  But, like most of the rest of this job; it went to the lowest bidder.  Me.

All those old, rotted, but well-tabbed-to-the-hull web frames had to be removed.  I’m pretty sure that at least one of the leaks that haven’t been stopped yet is because of the end grain of rotted plywood transmitting water from a pin hole in the four by one foot patch.  Anyhow, what looks pretty peaceful now, has managed to cover the shop - and adjoining garage, and of course, Kate’s black Lexus with white powder.  Kind of a big oops.  Next up, I have to wait for my next transcontinental shipment of Super’pox from Miss Cindy at the world headquarters of Duckworks BBS.  This chasm needs to be sealed as best it can.  That means a plethora of ‘pox & glass.  And, obviously ribs and floor plates have to wait.

Then, those sole supports (“floor joists?”) can be glued in place.  And, then finally back to getting stuff done.

This is about 5 gallons of chips and splinters that I swept up from the sump - the big chunks got flung over the rail.

Just a few of the precision instruments that my team of skilled grinders and sawyers employ - on delicate jobs like this one.  But, ya know what?  I think I’m now willing to accept a high bid.  That’s some kinda’ nasty working conditions.


I just came from the morning staff meeting.  The Boss breezed through on his way to his customary spot.  Seems like he’s completely delegated this Frankenbuilding project to me.  His current focus is to supervise the deer visiting the feeder in front of “his” window, there, off the dining room.

That, and he’s pretty worked up over a wandering band of wild turkeys that have started showing up for three-squares courtesy of the migratory birds who tend to be pretty callous with the seeds I put out for them in the bird feeders.  The Boss does offer his opinion of those, rather voracious, “Thanksgiving centerpieces” roving all over the place.  But, mostly, otherwise, he keeps his opinions to himself.

For that, the rest of the crew is pretty thankful.  I guess he’s happy with our progress, so far.  But, those Planning Dept. guys came in with a really off-the-wall suggestion this morning.  They said, “Hey.  Whatif?...”

The rest of it kinda’ got drowned out in a short-burst tirade from The Boss.  I think he figured those damn turkeys should either show up for a shift out in the shop, or move on.  I think that’s what he was trying to tell the rest of us.  So, I didn’t really get it down in actual Planning Department Notes.  I’ll just have to summarize.

Today is Tuesday.  I do have to stay clean for a mid-morning appointment in town.  But, after that, most anything could be on the agenda.  The PD guys were pretty sure this would all fit.  And, maybe?

If I can get the exhaust blower install completed that I started on the night shift, then maybe the rest of this stuff will work out.  It’s a kinda’ big list.  But, if we can do’er;  then we just might be able to make another leak test by Friday.  Minus some more appointments on Thursday and Saturday.  More “staying clean.”  And, I’ve gotta’ tell you - staying clean is tough for some of us.

If my ‘pox order shows up today from WWHQ, DWBBS;  I can get the bilge sump glassed over and then painted.  Then, after the rest of the bilge area is painted, I can rough fit the cabin sole.  If this leak test turns out successful - and I find more leaks - then it wouldn’t be too smart to have already glued and screwed the floor down.

Once that floor business is put to bed for the moment, I can lift the hull right where is sits.

I’ll have to get it as high up as possible so I can pull the cart out and crawl under to get that keel stub smoothed, glazed, faired, sanded, ground, and painted.  It still looks pretty rough, as only The Boss is short enough to actually get under there, right now.  And, well, he’s The Boss;  ain’t gonna’ get HIS paws dirty with all that peon-level work down there.  So, I’ve gotta’ get things a lot higher off the ground.

Then, we can get the bottom quick-painted,  a few more trailer mods dreamed up, tried, re-tried, and set aside; then I’m pretty sure that ol’ leak test can come off by the weekend.  Except.

There is the pretty-good possibility that I will take a couple days off and go for an overnight expedition with “Mobius,” the stinkpot.  Just one more last-trip-of-the-season.  It’s beginning to look like The Boss is going to have to authorize more OT, doesn’t it?

Time to see if we can get something done, and stay clean all at the same time.  Schedules can sure get in the way of plans…

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