Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Statsraad Lehmkuhl details 3, the Boston Teapot Trophy

The Boston Teapot Trophy is a trophy that is awarded to the sail ship that covers the greatest distance over the course of 124 hours.
Why they have chosen that time frame I have no idea of, but as it happens, Statsraad Lehmkuhl has won the trophy 8 times.

Our ship is the current holder of the trophy, and due to that, the actual trophy is sitting on a shelf in the CEO's office.

The trophy itself is a copy of a teapot which was made by Paul Revere (yes, that Paul Revere!). Whenever we hold a meeting in the CEO's room, I find myself drawn to the box that holds the trophy.

Today after the meeting, I quickly snapped a few pictures of the box. I tried a little bit to remove the teapot, but I couldn't see a proper way of doing it, so I stopped before breaking something. While writing this, I got to think of that I think the correct way is to lift out the upper part (the teapot itself), and then remove the base.
I tried to pull a bit at the middle shelf surrounding the teapot.

Technically the trophy isn't part of the ship, but this is my blog, so I decide that it is OK anyway.
According to a link I found, the Trophy was established in 1964

You will be able to find some pictures of the teapot itself in the first link, but here are a couple of other pictures of some details of the box.

I can't see how the box itself is constructed, I mean if it is with secondary wood and veneered shell -or solid wood with blind dovetails. But the overall size of the box is something like 16" x 16" and 8" deep and inside it is lined with some dark blue velvet.
Neither of the screws are clocked which I find a bit strange, after all I am certain that the box was made by someone professional.
The original silver plate on the right hand door has nice engravings, whereas the new silver plate inside the lid has got some not so nice machine type engravings. This is to be expected,as engraving is not something that any goldsmith can do anymore as far as I have understood.
The bracket holding the top of the teapot in place is clearly made with a Forstner bit. I think that is the one detail that look the most out of place to me. Using a Forstner bit is OK to remove the material, but it wouldn't have taken much to take a spade bit of a similar size and ground it to a round shape. Then carefully rounded the bottom of the hole.

Now all this may sound as I am ungrateful for the Trophy which is not the case. Instead I would say that I find it intriguing that after having built stuff myself - I am able to see that not everything that was made 50-60 years ago was better than what could be built today.
Maybe the cabinetmaker tasked with the job had to work on a tight budget because the teapot itself had cost more than anticipated, so a bit had to be saved on the box. Or maybe it was someone who had never heard of clocking screws? We will probably never know.

Silver plate on top of the box.

The closed box.

Hinge stay, new silver plate visible inside the lid.

Description of the inspiration for the trophy. 

Teapot lid holding bracket closed.

Let's just use a Forstner drill, no one will ever notice..

Sunday, June 2, 2019

A small barn for the summer house 17, laying tiles on the roof.

Though it might not seem that way, I do occasionally still work on the small barn at our summer house.
I have completed the interior cladding of the walls, and also completed painting the outside.

Last year I wanted to install the tiles on the roof, but I never took the time to do so, instead I built some nice hydroplanes with the boys, and I think that was a great idea.
The month of April this year was fantastic regarding the weather. So I jumped at it and started cleaning mortar of the old tiles from the house. I have been saving all those tiles since 2013, when we installed a new roof at home.

The tiles are as old as our house which means that they were made in 1924. They are of a much better quality than most of the tiles available today since they are burned harder than today's tiles.
A drawback is that they do not comply with any of the available fixation systems. Back then they were secured from the inside of the attic using some heavy gauge iron wire similar to what was used for fencing the fields.
That would still work if I had an accessible attic. But since I have decided to make a sub roof with tarred paper, the tiles are not accessible from the back.

Instead I resorted to drilling a small hole in the top of each tile, and then I fixed them with a screw directly to the lath. That will ensure that they don't blow off in the event of heavy winds.

Laying the tiles was more arduous than really difficult, and I finally found out what the correct spacing should be, so I know that when I start on the second side of the roof.

When I go to the summer house, I usually do so in the morning after tending the horses. Mette and Asger (the only child at home at the moment) have both left for work and school at that time, so after letting the horses out, I put the leash on Bertha and lifts her into the passenger front seat of the green Volvo Valp.
We then drive down to the small shop in the village and I get out and buy a package of sausages or some pork, a loaf of bread and maybe some milk.
As soon as we get to the summer house, I put the groceries in the refrigerator, and then lifts out Bertha and we go for our regular morning walk. It is maybe one and a half mile, so it isn't that long, but there's plenty of deer tracks for Bertha to examine and there's also a canal which she will swim in regardless of the temperature.

Back at the summer house I'll start working and around noon I'll light a fire in an old type grill. I then roast sausages or pork and Bertha and I helps each other eating it while I sip a cold beer.

Around 3 I'll pack up and head home so there's someone to greet Mette and Asger when the workday/school day is over.

It might not sound like a big deal, but to me those days are reinvigorating. The only problems Bertha and I face in the summer house are that the local squirrel population are decidedly unsportsmanlike. They will occasionally appear and then clear off into the treetops - Now that is hard for a Newfoundland dog to understand and accept.

Putting tiles on the roof.

This is the sort of thing that will lower my blood pressure.

Bertha is patiently waiting for the food to get ready.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Ash log Roubo project 5, the completed bench.

The two leg vises each had a parallel guide installed. I made a mortise and tenon joint with lightly tapered run out, so the guide was thoroughly fixed be means of a couple of wedges.
I made two lines of holes, so I can adjust the parallel guide with 1" increments.

A groove was routed in the underside of the top, and a sliding deadman was made and installed. A bunch of holes were drilled in that one too. 

My old bench was never fitted with a shelf, I have often thought that it is one of the few things that could make a good bench better, so for this one I wanted to install one. 
The shelf itself was made out of small ash boards of varying width. I simply milled whatever pieces I could find from the large log, and to avoid live edges, they were all trimmed. 
The shelf lies loose on top of a batten that is screwed to the stretchers. I positioned the shelf so that the ends and the rear was flush with the top of the stretchers. That way it will be easy to sweep debris of the shelf, or push/pull a heavy object in and out of the shelf.
The front stretcher carries the sliding deadman, so that one ends in a triangular shape that raises above the shelf.

The ends of the slab were sawed square and they and the top were planed using a couple of hand planes.

I purchased a really nice Record quick release vise from Brian Eve, and I plan on installing it at some point. But I'll wait a bit because the wood is still moving a lot as a result of it not being completely dry.

I think that I need to run the tap through the threaded holes in the legs too when the bench dries, just in case the wood movement distorts the legs and thereby shrinks the holes.

The bench hasn't received any sort of finishing, but I might give it a coat of linseed oil to protect the surface a bit.

I told Gustav, that I would like him to have the bench, since he will train to become a carpenter. So we have installed it in the shop so he can start using it.

Completed Roubo work bench.

Twin leg vises and sliding deadman.

Rear of the bench (now on a clean floor)

Shelf is flush with the top of the rear stretcher.

The patched up top of the slab.

Spindle with apple hub and ebony pegs for the dowel.

Complete with Roman numerals.

This end will feature a Record quick release vise at some point.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Statsraad Lehmkuhl details 2, braces blocks

This is one of the details that somehow looks incredibly attractive in my eyes.
We have four of those "stations" on the ship. Each consists of 3 blocks of varying sizes, all mounted pivot-able on a common axle.

Each block is for a brace. A brace out here is a line/rope that will pull a yard and thereby altering the angle of a sail in relation to the ships hull. That way you can adjust the sails to perform if you alter the course.

These particular braces blocks are located on the port side on the main deck, and are connected to the three lower sails on the fore mast.

The lower sail is named the "Fore sail", and its brace is "fore brace".
The sail just above is the "Fore lower topsail", and its brace is " fore lower topsail brace"
The third sail from the deck is the "Fore upper topsail", and its brace is "fore upper topsail brace" (what a surprise!)

The block for the fore sail brace is the biggest one, it measures 12" in height, 15.5" in length and it is 4.75" thick.
All three blocks are made out of mahogany.

Port fwd braces blocks station.

After sunset 

The author of this blog 
(we had a pirate cruise for kids today)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Ash log Roubo project 4, leg vise spindles and chops.

During my final trip on the Troms Capella, I used the ships lathe to turn a tap for making wooden threads.
It makes a 2" thread with a pitch of 4.5 modules. Modules is actually just a fancy word for Pi mm, so the thread is 14 mm or pretty close to 9/16"

It seems as though I only took one picture while making the tap, and now it is at home, so I can't really take anymore pictures of it at the moment.

The tap worked really well, despite ash not being the easiest wood to turn a thread in.
After making the internal threads in the legs, I watched an episode of Roy Underhill, where he makes a die for wooden threads.
I basically copied all he did, and though I couldn't do it as fast as him, eventually I ended up with a die that could produce a thread.
The first spindle looked utterly magnificent, with the slight but important part - it didn't fit..
I had to do quite a bit of adjusting to get the die working in a way that produced a spindle that would work. But finally I had two spindles (made out of whitebeam).

I turned a couple of ends for the spindles out of some apple, and glued them on. Then a hole was drilled through, and a couple of sticks were turned and inserted.
Those sticks were retained using small ebony pegs, so technically I can't keep on claiming that the entire bench is made from the same tree.

The chops were made out of the ash log, and I made those a bit tapered to make them look nice.
A square recess was chopped in each of them to receive a garter for the spindle.

Completed spindle.

Close up of cutting action of the die.

Turning a spindle blank on the metal lathe.

Fabricating a 2"/4.5 module tap.

Two pieces of ash for the vise chops.
Recess for the garter.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Statsraad Lehmkuhl details 1, mast centering blocks

As you might have seen from Don Williams' blog post where he visited the ship, there are an incredible amount of details on this ship.
I will try to see if I can make it a habit to blog about one detail of the ship on a regular basis.

Those details are not necessarily the most important ones in respect of keeping the ship afloat, but they are details that have intrigued and impressed me.

All our masts are the original ones from 1914, they are made out of steel plates that have been rolled to shape and then riveted together, They taper all along the length, and I am still horrified thinking of that in order for those mast to be riveted, it means that someone had to hold a bucking iron on the inside of the mast. Clearly those were the days prior to any interference from occupational hazard inspectors!
Using ear protection was not custom at that time, so I am afraid that the building of this ship and others have caused deafness to a lot of ship yard workers who had to endure the noise from riveting and other operations.

The main mast (the middle one) goes through 3 decks. The main deck, the tween deck and the provisions deck before it is finally seated in the ballast deck.

The mast can be dismounted from the ship, and we do this occasionally for inspection purposes.  I haven't participated in this yet, but I hope that I will be on board next time we have to do it.

Where the mast passes through a deck, it does so in an opening that is a bit larger than the mast, something like 6" larger in diameter.
Today's detail are the small blocks of wood that are later on pressed down to fill out that void, and thereby centering the mast in the hole. The blocks are made out of oak and fits neatly around the mast. The uppermost blocks (where the mast passes through the main deck) are covered with sailcloth/canvas that is painted to make the penetration watertight.

The bottom of the main mast of Statsraad Lehmkuhl
Seated firmly in the ballast deck.

Mast centering blocks seen from below (penetrating the provision deck)

The same blocks seen from above (penetrating the provision deck)

Mast and centering blocks and the provision deck.

The blocks in the tween deck penetration seen from below. 

The covered blocks on the main deck (it is raining)
Notice the figure sewn canvas covering.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Ash log Roubo project 3, the undercarriage

With the legs all done and the short and long stretchers ready, I was ready to begin the assembly of the undercarriage of the workbench.

All the joints were drawbored, and I made a bunch of dowels for the project. I can't quite remember what size, but I think they were sort of 3/8" in diameter.

I used my homemade drawbore pins to test the fit of each of the joints, and they worked really well. Having made four of those enabled me to test both ends of a stretcher/leg assembly at the same time.

The long front stretcher was made with a triangular shape at the top, to accommodate a sliding deadman. I even remembered to make a slot in the front legs for the parallel guide for the leg vises before assembling all the parts!

I placed the top upside down on a couple of battens so I wouldn't mar the top in case there was a small stone or any other debris on the workshop floor.
The tenons and the mortises were lubricated with an old candle, as I didn't want things to seize up half way. The undercarriage was brought up to the mortises, and I double checked that the front of the bench top was also aligned with the front of the undercarriage before I began to negotiate the legs into place with the help of a hammer and a block of wood.

Slowly but surely the legs seated themselves in the mortises, and once the sound changed upon hitting a leg, I knew that they were in position.

The assembled undercarriage.

Checking that all parts line up.

Checking both sides.

Half way through.

About an inch to go.