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. 




Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Environmentally friendly or just a green car?

There is going to be an election in Denmark, and like most other places on the earth, politicians are competing with lies and grand plans of what they will do if they are elected.
One of the buzz-words of politicians is environment and all derivatives of this word.

I normally don't pay much attention to what they're saying, since it sort of gets old after a while, but people will often try to chat about all the good stuff they do if you are at a social gathering, and in those cases it is nice to have collected a few thoughts about what I do.

Some time ago I read that a study showed that the most environmentally friendly thing regarding cars was to drive an older car.
The new cars might use less fuel, but a lot of energy goes into producing the car, and a lot of raw materials as well. The funny thing is that I had actually used that reasoning earlier on but without the back up of an international study.

So this suddenly elevated me into being green and environmentally friendly.

Most of the time while at home I drive one of the Volvo Valps, and since they are both vintage cars, they are only required to go through MOT every 8 years.
This year I need to get the black one though MOT, so I started by assessing the state of the bodywork.

Not surprisingly, there is a bit of rust. Those of you who live in Arizona or California might never have heard about it, but rust it what happens to old cars to all of us that lives in a climate where the authorities sprinkle salt on the roads during the winter months.

The black Valp is a 1963 model, and was first abused in the Swedish Army by various hamfisted conscripts. Then by civilian rednecks and now finally by me.
After replacing a lot of rusted parts of the fenders, and a few other pieces of the body, I repaired a part of the frame and had the MOT inspection.

I don't really enjoy repairing rust on old cars, but it is still a satisfying thing to repair something and ensure that it can run for many more years.
In a couple of years, the green Volvo Valp will have to go through the MOT as well. That one still needs some welding, but both sides are OK, so basically it is only the front and the rear that still needs some work. I have earlier dedicated a couple of days in a home period for working on it, that way I don't feel like I am spending all my time welding and doing bodywork.

I saw on the news one day, that repair cafes were starting to gain popularity in Denmark, so perhaps there is a chance that it will again be normal to repair stuff instead of just mindlessly throwing it out and buying something new.
They can call that "environmentally friendly" or whatever they please, I just think it is perfectly normal to take care of the stuff that you have. (But I am as you know pretty old fashioned)

As you can see on the picture, the green Volvo Valp is still a hit with Gustav and his friends.
And I like to have a car that can handle having teenagers sitting on the roof without having to worry about scratches in the paint etc.



Ready to be driven to a party!

Monday, May 20, 2019

Ash log Roubo project 2, legs and mortises

It is with a slight embarrassment that I discovered that I forgot to blog further about the build of the Ash log Roubo bench, so I'll try to spread the rest of the pictures and information over a few blog posts to make up for that.

I had read in the Roubo book, that the legs should be rectangular, which puzzled me a bit, since they are square on all the drawings. But I decided to follow the written instructions. So I made the legs 4x6".
I made a little shoulder on the inside of the legs, and then sawed out for the large double tenon with the angled front.

I used the chain mortiser to make the mortises in the top. I had to make a new attachment to get it to work that way, but a bit of plywood and a few small strips of wood was all that was required.
The machine took care of the bulk of the work, and there was just a little bit of cleaning up in the corners of the front mortises that had the corners defined by a saw cut.

Once I had made all the mortises in the top, I remounted the chain mortiser in its stand and made the mortises in the legs for the stretchers.

Making the tenons on the stretchers was easy, basically a bit of sawing and chopping.
Prior to making the tenons though, I had drilled a hole in the two legs destined to become the front legs of the workbench. And I had threaded those holes with my homemade tap.
My plan was to make sure that the bench could be used for boat building (just in case), so I wanted to make two leg vises on the front.

I had decided to use as much ash from the same tree as possible, so the legs and stretchers were all from the same trunk as the top itself. It was far from bone dry, and in the end one of the stretchers had twisted a bit - but not enough to stop me.


Making a double tenon on a leg. Notice the shoulder.

Marked up and ready for sawing.

Portable chain mortiser attachment.

Drawbored stretchers.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

A fid for a friend

I am back on the ship, and this time our sailing schedule is to do evening cruises in and out of Bergen, so I have the rare pleasure of a functioning Internet connection that comes with being alongside in our home port.

Some might think that evening cruises are a bit dull, but just like all woodworking can't be ebony inlay, once in a while you need to build the casework that will house the inlay.

These cruises with paying guests are part of our bread and butter, and in addition to providing the ship's foundation with some needed cash to run the ship and keep her well maintained, these cruises actually give the residents of Bergen a sense of ownership of the Statsraad Lehmkuhl.
So it is part of our strategy to be active visible and accessible in our home port for two months of the summer every year. That way people feel proud of the ship and recognizes it and feels that it is "their ship."

The incredible support that we have from the local community can not be overestimated, so it is only fair that we do our part in giving back to the community by doing these small evening cruises.
And just like in woodwork, it is difficult to say that one operation is more important than the other.

Since there are comparatively few tall ships on a world wide basis, often young people who wants to work in this field have a difficult time finding a ship to do it on, we usually have 6-8 volunteers sailing with us, who have completed their basic training on a training ship.
One of these volunteers told me last time I was on board that his birthday was tomorrow, (we discussed it because it was close to the date where I was signing on again).
Now these volunteers get room and board and that is it, but they do an incredible job on board, so I thought that I would make him a small birthday gift.

So a week ago I took the time to head into the shop and I turned a fid for him. It is made out of some dark exotic wood that I once purchased, and I think it might be mahogany, though I am not sure.
Turning a fid was pretty straight forward, and in the end I tried to polish it with some Carnauba wax. I have never tried this before and I was so impressed with the look of the surface that I ended up making yet another fid for him. This time a bit smaller.
He doesn't read this blog, so it will be safe for me to post a picture of the large fid here. I forgot to take pictures of the smaller one.

The large fid has a length of almost 12", and the thickness at the fat end is something like 1.5"
I can't remember the size of the smaller one, and it is already gift wrapped.



Saturday, April 27, 2019

Protect the whales

Before leaving to sea last time, I cast two more drafting whales, so I had a full dozen. Once I had done that I painted all of them. First a coat of primer and then followed up by a classic tractor colour: Massey Ferguson light grey.
That made the whales look nice and grey, but I was aiming higher!
I found a bit of white and painted eyes on all of them, and finally a little black made the pupils. I made a couple of whales that were "concentrating" on the task, and I also made a couple of whales who were rolling their eyes.

Since I wasn't going to use the drafting whales a lot, (and because I like making boxes), I decided on making a dedicated storage box so the whales could be protected between the jobs.

I dovetailed a little chest, and glued in a couple of strips to hold up the bottom.
The bottom was fitted with pie shaped compartments, to keep the whales apart to protect them from rubbing against each other.
A loose upper part was made the same way, but not glued in, now the chest could hold all 12 drafting whales.

A set of handles were mortised into the ends of the chest.

I also found a piece of larch wide enough to form the lid, but that was as far as I got that time, so I still need to make a lid and mount it.
Originally my plan was to paint the chest in some sort of marine inspired theme, but so far I would be happy if I just got the project completed.

There are as usual a lot of different projects requiring my attention, and this box is not very high up on the list. Instead stuff like getting the old Volvo Valp through MOT and installing tiles on the roof of the barn near the summer house are top priority. In addition to this there are a couple of confirmations (one of them is Asgers), and two limousine "jobs" with the Volvo Valp for my nephew and for Laura's prom dance.
But at least the whales are all done now :-)


Drafting whales in action.

This little fellow just about had enough.

Holding a batten in place  

Drafting whale storage box.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Top 50 woodworking blogs!

As you might have guessed I have returned home, and have taken the time to fire up a computer once again.

I'd like to thank Brian Eve for doing a guest post in my absence, and it sadly looks like the days of Atlantic woodworking blogging are over for now. Our Internet connection on board the ship is really limited, and it also has to be shared with a large crew, so it wouldn't be fair to slow everything down in order to blog.
However.. This time it was special since a lot of the time was spent crossing the Atlantic from Norfolk VA to Bergen in Norway. Normally we'll be in port a bit more frequently, and I can probably blog from there. I just need to get my act together and get down to it.

While I was out travelling in the old fashioned way, I got an email from a gentleman called Anuj.
He runs something called feedspot, and he informed me that my blog had been elected as one of the top 50 woodworking blogs on his site.
I just checked, and actually my blog is No 44.  There are some woodworking blogs on the list that I know, and some that are new to me.

I hope that being on that list will generator some sort of traffic, from people that otherwise wouldn't have visited my blog. And if those people then further click on one of the blogs that I list - maybe one day someone will find a topic that will be of interest, and that person might build something.

Once again I would like to thank people that either run a blog aggregator like Norse Woodsmith, Unplugged ShopTop 75 woodworking blogs or keep a list of blogs on the side bar of their own blog.
The more places it is possible to find a blog the better the chances of someone finding just what they never knew the wanted to try out building.



Sunday, March 31, 2019

Guest Blog by Toolerable - Update on Jonas' Whereabouts

I think Jonas is up in the main skysail.
You just can't see him because 
the sail is in the way.
Yes, this blog has been hijacked by me. Brian Eve, aka Toolerable because Jonas has been away far too long, I'm sure you are all worried sick about him.

Fear not. The Statsraad Lehmkuhl has the latest in internet technology considering what you would expect in a vessel of this vintage.

In other words, his connection is so slow, he can hardly websurf, let alone post. Jonas has been able to send me a few emails, however.

In preparation for this guest post, I have been learning some Danish:

Hun har heste. Ænder drikker vand. Vi læser aviser. Elefanter og skildpadder er vegetarer. Elefanter spiser ikke svinekød, og drikker ikke vin. Jeg drikker øllene. Kvinder spiser ikke kartofler.

Danish is a very serious language, and should be used sparingly.

Jonas joined the ship this time in Norfolk, Virginia. He was there long enough to host Don Williams for an evening, which sounded like great fun.

Shortly after Don's visit, there was some kind of fancy cocktail party that he wrote to me about:
We had a cocktail party on Board, and there were several admirals, one 4 star and a 3 star plus a bunch of regular ones. Some generals and the likes too. I talked to a Danish Brigadeer general, and sone of the very high ranking US admirals.
The admiral was actually a bit of an accident. Because I was talking and joking about horses with a Portugese colonel who was the chief commanding officer of the Portugese Cavalry officers School. And suddenly this senior admiral was trying to get past us and the Portugese almost jumped to attention and excused so much that we didn't get out of the way immediately. 

So I felt that I had to explain that it was my fault since I had started talking about horses, but the admiral was OK with it all. 

But damnit there was a lot of brass!
About a week ago I got this update:
We have passed the Newfoundland banks, and are now well underway towards Norway. Yesterday we saw icebergs, but luckily we didn't crash into any of them.
That's always good to know. Sadly the ships bingo tournament was postponed for a day due to the weather.

Yesterday I got this update:
Things are going well out here.

We are constantly heeling 20ish degrees to one side except for the occasional dip to 30 degrees. The speed is around 12 knots, and we hope to reach Norway in 3 days.
I suppose this means everything on board is as normal as could be on such a ship.

Woodworking related, he has told me that on his plans for things to make are finishing up a box he is working on to hold his home-made collection of drafting whales. Also, last time he was home he milled a giant beech log and got several huge slabs for table tops, and also a single, six inch thick slab for another Roubo bench. We all look forward to seeing pictures of these.

Jonas, do us all a favor and ask your son to take some pictures.  :)

I'm not exactly sure when Jonas will return from this rotation on his ship, but I'm looking forward to reading on this blog about how his new job is going.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

One man's trash is another man's treasure.

For some inexplicable reason we have a bit of teak on board this vessel.
The former captain who was on the ship when it was delivered from the yard in India thinks that it came on board at the yard.

So far it has escaped being thrown out as garbage due to its sheer size that makes it a bit awkward to move around.

I would like to bring it to Denmark and mill it on the sawmill, but my luggage allowances aren't that high.

So in a rare moment of sensible brain activity from my side, I offered it to my new ship, since I figured that they would have more use for it than an industrial garbage facility.

I haven't measured the actual length of the pieces, but a quick guesstimate is that there are two short pieces of 3' each, and the one long piece is 6'. All the pieces are solid 12x12", so technically it is something like 144 bf of teak.

Someone out here for some strange reason decided to crosscut about one foot of the length of one of the pieces. I have no idea why (and no for once it wasn't me who did it).

Is this trash?

Or is it a treasure?


Thursday, January 3, 2019

Ash log Roubo project 1, preparing stock.

As you might remember, I bought an ash log just at the termination of the DCBE. I didn't have any specific plans for it, but I had to get it processed, since I have a beech log waiting in line for being milled, and since beech is not very rot resistant, I thought that I'd better get moving.

I have plenty of 2.25" slabs, so I thought that the best way of getting the log reduced to some useful stuff was to make a 6" slab and start a workbench build.

Ash isn't the most classic workbench material, but I still think that it will hold up just fine for regular use. If not I can always glue and tack a piece of plywood on top of it..

With my usual luck, the sawblade for the mulesaw suddenly detonated in the middle of the milling operation. I found my spare blade, and got back in business in fairly short time. I am going to weld the regular blade again, and I have even considered perhaps buying a new blade for the saw. But I am still not sure about that.

The trunk was Y-shaped, and there was quite a bit of tension in one side which became visible as the saw blade slowly progressed through the log.
Once the slab was milled, I trimmed the ends with a chainsaw, and it became apparent that there was a bit of rot where the crotch of the tree was. So I ended up getting a slab that was a little shorter than I had hoped for.

The benchtop slab was edge sawn on the mulesaw as well, since it was too wide to balance on the circular saw. The rest of the 6" thick piece was milled to legs and stretchers on the circular sawmill. It is so much faster than the mulesaw after all.

I started out making the legs 6x6", but they looked really clumsy, so I studied Roubo's book, and the text suggests that the legs are made 6x3 or 6x4" which I thought was kind of funny since all the images of workbenches had square legs. Anyway, I decided to go for 3.5 x 6" legs and I still think that they'll be up to the task of holding the top.

The material was still wet, but I started working on the top nevertheless.
First task was to rout a recess where there was ingrown bark from the two parts of the upper trunk. This was done on both sides of the slab, and a piece of dry whitebeam was glued in.
Next up was to install some butterfly keys to reduce any chance of splitting, and also to practice making those. So 4 butterflies went on each side of the slab.

I flattened the underside of the slab and then the two sides, and the lesson learned was that it really is a lot easier to plane if the height of the workpiece is correct.

The legs and the stretchers were squared up and brought to size using my jointer/planer.

Once I get back from the sea, I hope to be able to get the frame completed and install the top on it.

Slowly a slab emerges.

6" x 20" x 80" ash slab.

Recess milled and trimmed.

Butterfly practice.

Flattening the underside.

Planing the side (too low a working position).

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Positive list

Once again I got inspired to a blog post by Bob the Valley woodworker.

He is listing up all the stuff that he has made during the year and compared it to what his plans had been.

Years ago I would often feel that I never got anything done, and when I went to sea, I was frustrated and irritated that I hadn't completed anything while at home.

I discussed it with my mom, and she told med that she once had the same feeling after a long summer holiday, but her way out of it had been to make a "positive list". This list contained all the things that she had done, some big and some small, but writing them all down had helped her remember that she had done things during the summer, though not all of them were visible.

One of the drawbacks of being a seaman is that about a week or so after joining the ship, it is easy to suddenly feel sorry for yourself because you miss your family. If you immerse yourself in that sorry feeling, it is really difficult to get the mood back up again.
I think that the same might be true for a lot of other professions/people, maybe people have great ideas and expectations to a summer holiday or a long weekend, and then come Monday - not all that was dreamed of was actually completed.

My solution to this has been to write a "positive list".
I generally write it one week after coming on board, because that makes me remember the time at home.

There are no limits to how small or big a project that can enter the list. If I deem that it was a positive thing - it will go on the list.

In the beginning it is easy to think that "nah - this is too silly, I can't write this", but it is your list, so if eating a hotdog on a Friday afternoon make you happy - it can go on that list.

Once all those little things are written down, there is suddenly a long list of stuff that you have completed - and you wonder how on earth you had the time to do all that. And then you might forget that you were feeling sorry for not completing one specific part of another project.

As an example, my list for July - August 2018 looks like this: (It is the actual list, not something I have made up)

  • Washed Bent (horse) with a water hose.
  • Riding in the forest with Mette.
  • Sold the Lambretta scooter.
  • Made MiniMax hydroplanes with the boys.
  • Processed a little bit of firewood from the treeline next to the field.
  • Distributed rodent poison.
  • Installed new hinges on a door in the stable.
  • Attended Vildbjerg Cup with Asger and Mette (4 day soccer tournament).
  • Attended two FCM games with Asger (pro soccer games).
  • Attended Danmarks Cup Kallehavegaard with Gustav (3 day horse tournament).
  • Picked Up Laura in Viborg upon her returning from Interrail.
  • Driven Laura back to her dormitory after the summer holiday.
  • Visit from Jens in Japan (my younger brother).
  • Driven a lot in the green Volvo Valp.
  • Went to the beach with Bertha numerous times at Sillerslevøre (near our summer house).
  • Visited mom and dad.
  • Had mom and dad visit us.
  • "Delivered" Gustav to his boarding school.
  • Driven Asger and his soccer team to Lemvig for a match.
  • Made apple cider.
  • Changed the battery on the Wheelhorse and the ATV.
  • Helped Asger to change a tire on his moped.
  • Had a visit from my coworker and his family.
Often there will feature bullet points about food that I have made, or had morning coffee with one of my friends in his garage. 
The general idea is that all this is something that I feel have contributed in a positive way to me.

So if you ever feel just a bit down and sorry for yourself for not reaching all your goals, it might be worth trying to make a list like this. 
Just remember that nothing is too small to go on the list. If it meant something positive to you, write it down.  By keeping those lists, you can later look back at them and remember specific positive moments. Some of them might have been positive to others as well, like giving your wife a bouquet of flowers, or walking the dog etc.

Positive moment from November 2018.

Positive moment from November 2018.


Very positive moment from December 2018.
(Asger is taking the picture)