Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tumblehome sea chest 5, the bottom

We had some semi bad weather yesterday, so I was glad that I had decided to try tackling the bottom of the chest. That is a  little more coarse woodworking than dovetailing and making a complex glue up.

For those pallet wood builds, the following approach is working fine for me:

First; I'll flatten the boards on one flat side, and maybe touch up the sides as well if they need it. The back is left coarse, and the boards don't necessarily have the same thickness.

Second; is making either a rabbet for ship lapping or a tongue and groove. On this chest I made 2 tongues on the centre board and one groove in each of the other boards.
I use my Stanley grooving plane for making tongues and grooves (and rabbets if needed). It is surprisingly effective, When you have only got one flat side, this side will be the reference side to all work done. This is possible as long as you remember to start with the widest setting on the tool, that way there will still be some wood for the fence to touch when you need to make the groove closest to the reference side of the board.

For this particular chest, I just had enough wood left over from the initial board (6m in length) to make a complete bottom. 3 pieces covered the width and I had an additional 1 cm on each side.
Making the bottom a bit too large and then sawing of the excess is an easy way to do it with canted sides.

Third;  I attach the bottom to the chest. The bottom is mounted with the nice looking side (the reference side) on the inside of the chest. The rough side becomes the lower bottom of the chest.
I would prefer to use nails to stay a little classic, but we haven't got any on board, so I used some screws instead.
The wood is so soft that I didn't have any problems with setting the head of the screws about 1/8" below the surface. This low setting is crucial for the next step.

Fourth; with the bottom attached I use my scrub iron in the plane and level out the underside of the bottom. I usually work across the grain as it is easier to remove more material that way. Since the screws are set really deep in the wood, I can plane away without being afraid of nicking the iron.

Making a groove.

Bottom mounted.

Planing the bottom, note the cupping of the boards.


  1. Jonas,

    I can't imagine working out on the water. Kudos to you my friend! I've known many "sea chests" but this takes "sea chest" to another whole level!

  2. Thank you for the nice comment.
    Actually working on the water isn't so bad, once you get used to it. When the weather turns bad it can be a bit complicated though.
    making sea chests seems very fitting as a leisure thing on a ship.

  3. I get a kick out of the weatherman when they say " That Storm is Safely out to Sea"
    Are you going the Paint a picture of your ship on the Inside of the Lid?
    By the way those 'Bunkers' use too smell like "Bacon and Egg's "

  4. Hi Suzanne, that is a classic comment :-)
    I am sadly really bad at painting, but I have a daughter who can paint almost everything, so maybe I'l let her have a go at decorating the lid on the inside.
    Orginally my idea was to carve or paint "the seamans prayer" on the inside of the lid, and if there was room for it, I would also write the prayer "in peril at the sea" but I think the ship would look better.

    I must admit that I have never bunkered fuel that smelled like bacon and eggs. We run on clean MGO (marine gas oil) on this ship, so it ust smells like regular diesel from a gas station. I used to be on a tanker that ran on HFO (Heavy Fuel Oil), that stuff smelled like asphalt and generally handled like it as well.
    Thanks for commenting

  5. My husband use to do the HFO bunkering the 'Bacon & Eggs' where bought with that pay-check and everything else ..Thus they smelled like 'Bacon & Eggs' to him he even says that Pine Tar was the elixir of the gods ..

  6. Ah now I get it :-)
    I have never used pine tar, but I know it is considered just what your husband describes in e.g. Sweden.
    Bunkering is one of the jobs that have become easier since I started sailing. Partly because I have moved up in the ranks and partly because of remote sounding of tanks, remote controlled valves etc.
    One bunkering I remember very clearly was in early February 1996 in Wilmington North Carolina, We had to bunker some 1200 cubic metre of IFO 380 HFO on an old reefer vessel. We did manual ullage of the tanks, but the HFO froze almost solid, so we had to pour petroleum into the sounding pipes to enable the plumb on the sounding tape to slide down the pipe. If we didn't, it would stick to the side.

    Before it turned illegal and immoral to have beer on board ships, it was custom in most of Europe to always send over a plastic bag with a round of beers for the bunker barge upon completion of a bunkering. But I don't know of anyone who still practises this.
    Have a nice weekend

  7. Eternal Father, strong to save,Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deepIts own appointed limits keep;Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,For those in peril on the sea..
    One of my favorite hymns. Though I wasn't in the Navy but the Army.
    It would be really cool to see that on your chest!

    1. That is a powerful hymn. I think it would look good on the inside of the lid of the chest.

      The Danish prayers that I was considering are a bit longer. They were sadly left out of the newest edition of the Danish psalm book.

      The first prayer is "the seaman's prayer", the second prayer is "In peril at the sea"
      I am starting to pack up the chest and I'll try to finish it at home, I didn't bring any fitting hinges with me this time, only some small brass hinges.

      En sømands bøn: Den Danske Salmebog, 1987, s. 327, stk. 76:

      ”Almægtige Gud! Du har skabt og regerer himmel og jord og hav og alt, hvad det rummer, med din almægtige hånd.
      Vi takker dig, fordi du hidtil har skærmet dette skib og os, der er her om bord. Bevar os imod storm og uvejr,
      tåge, påsejling, grundstødning og alle farer.
      Lad vor rejse lykkeligt fortsættes; vær også med os, når vi kommer i havn, og vogt os for landjordens farer og fristelser.
      Herre, hvis ikke du skærmede os, hvor snart ville det da være ude med os. Forlad os vore synder,
      hvormed vi har krænket din hellige vilje. Bevar os fra synd, fra strid og trætte og al dårlig tale, og lad dit ord råde iblandt os.
      Giv os at gøre vor pligt som kristne sømænd, om vi end skulle sætte livet til derved. Hjælp os at våge og bede,
      så at vi kan være rede til at møde velfærd, skib og gods i dine hænder. Send dine hellige engle til at værne os, som er på havet,
      og alle vore kære derhjemme.
      Velsign vor kirke og vort land. Hør os for Jesu skyld! Amen.”

      I livsfare på havet: Den Danske Salmebog, 1987, s. 328, stk.. 77:

      ”Hellige Fader, alle tings skaber og Herre! Nu er vi i nød, og vi bønfalder dig, at du ikke vil gå i rette med os for vore synder,
      men efter din faderlige godhed være os nådig og barmhjertig og ved din almagt føre os ud af al denne fare.
      Hjælp os, ligesom din Søn, vor Herre Jesus Kristus, hjalp sine disciple, da de var i havsnød.
      Før os vel i havn. Bevar alt redningsmandskab. Men er det din faderlige vilje, at vor sidste time nu er kommet,
      da beder vi, at du for din Søns skyld vil bevare og styrke os i en fast tro på din kærlighed indtil vort sidste åndedræt,
      og at du vil føre os igennem dødens trængsel ind til evigt liv og salighed. Vi betror os med skib og gods, legeme og sjæl,
      alt, hvad vi er, og alt, hvad vi har, vore kære og alle ting i dine hænder.
      Hvad enten vi lever eller dør, hører vi dig til. Din er æren i al evighed. Amen.”