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by Dan Rogers - Diamond Lake, Washington - USA


1- 2 - 3


Fiddly bits take a lot of time.

The Great Lucas had this to say, “Now that you’ve got it 90 percent done; you’ve only got 90 percent to go…” The Bard of Bradenton really knows how to put a guy in his place, eh?

This is all that stuff that I didn’t know how I wanted to do - at the time.  Now, I have to figure it out.  And, for the normal hum and thrum of the Frankenwerke; this plod, plod, plodding along is really outa’ character.  Except.

Night before last.  I had been off to The Big City on multiple missions, all day.  There wasn’t a bit of work done out in the shop the whole day.   Those modern day gumshoes on TV would probably call it a crime of passion.  There’s been something just below the radar for the longest time.  A serious consideration, that continued to be left off of the punch list.  A vague requirement, that never even made it to “blueprint” (make that, restaurant napkin) stage.  Just something that I pretty much knew would need to be undertaken.  Sometime.

Like I was saying, it was a crime of passion.  I spied the Sawzall hanging in its accustomed place.  There was already a cord stretched out to the cockpit.  Almost before I knew what I was up to, the cuts were laid out.  Goggles, muffs, gloves.  And, that distinctive staccato sound began.  As a side note, there are several distinctive sounds well-lodged in my memory, that almost never mean something good is happening.  The tearing and wholesale ripping of sheet metal in a serious car crash is one.  The rumble-thump of a mounted 50 cal. opening up, would be another.  But, in some ways, the chatter of a rough-toothed recip saw blade against gel coat and its polyester substrate always gives me pause.

There is just no way that this sort of thing can be accurate, quiet, or without mess.  And, in this case, it went worse than normal.  Like I said, it was an overdue crime of passion.

This entire project has been centered around a big hole.  A motor well, actually.  The main reason I picked this particular hull, and have put all this time, effort, and yes, money, into building my dream boat started with the fact I could mount a motor inside.  Outa’ sight.

In front of the rudder.  Accessible to the cockpit.  But, there’s been a nagging doubt.  It often comes up at the morning planning sessions.  Then, it gets set aside.  “For later…”

This motor well was designed for a small motor of the 1960s.  Probably something with a slide throttle on its forehead.  Probably direct drive.  Probably just for getting the original-sailboat in and out of the slip.  And, it was built like a cathedral.  No space for the shift lever or other appurtenances of a contemporary outboard.

Until last night, that is.

Nothing that a few squirts of Duckpox, some bi-ax tape, and a quarter sheet of mdo plywood can’t cure.   I just can’t quite figure out what I’ve been putting this off, for.  Oh yeah.  There’s another big hole that wasn’t there a few hours back.

And, inside that gaping hole is where the stern anchors’ chain and rode will reside.  And, the flying saucer contraption pictured here will also live there.  It’s a DIY radial steering arrangement made out of tractor parts, that I beat onto a 1” (+/-) bronze shaft.  But, that’s still to be programmed into the schedule.  Probably soon, though.

Fiddly bits.

Little, and not-so-little pieces of trim have been migrating from the lumber pile to various places around the cabin.  There’s a swing-up front window frame mounted - that is about ready for a chunk of glass or plex.

The aft cabin door has sprouted both hold-it-open and hold-it-closed attachments.  And, taaaahh, daaahh, a pretty spiffy deer antler handle and a nice teak one.

Most of the fill-in pieces are filled-in.  Like the stuff that will hold the side window panels.

And, there’s a little maple spinner on the ancient steering wheel that took way too long to fabricate and attach.  And, now it’s a bit crooked in the bargain.  Maybe I’ll just think of as being “jaunty.”

But, now I’ve got to figure out how to make that cockpit look like the rest of the boat.  Part of those stacks of pine, and cedar, and tigerwood will soon be reduced to noise, dust, and long thin strips.  I guess I’ll have to spend more time hanging around the shop, to see how that turns out…

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