Thursday, March 17, 2022

Marine life

 Today just when lunch was over for my shift, someone came down to the messroom and said that there were a couple of whales really close by. So I took my cup of coffee, fetched a jacket and went up to see if it was possible to get a glimpse of them.

There were two humpback whales and a playful sealion maybe 25 yards away from the ship. 

I managed to get a picture and a decent video of one of the whales and the sealion sort of photobombed all the videos I tried to take. :-)

It is awe-inspiring to see such a huge animal so close by. And almost equally impressive to watch a sealion scoot around like a happy kid in a water park.

Humpback whale in the South Atlantic Ocean

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Drain grates

 During the hurricane we had last time I was on board, we lost a couple of drain grates. 

The drain grates help to keep large objects out of the drain pipes from the gutter on the main deck. Large objects could be stuff like an apple or an orange or a water bottle. If they would fall into a drain pipe it would take quite some job to get them free again, so it is much better for us to prevent the blocking from happening. 

The first time I was on board this ship, I made 4 drain grates, so I took upon myself to make a couple of replacements this time also. But instead of following the same procedure as last time, I decided to see if I could make them without soldering them together.

My idea was to make a brass pipe using rivets, and hammer one end so it would flare out. Then finally I would ad some pieces of copper pipe on top as the regular grate part.

I marked and cut a strip of brass sheet (1 mm / approx 3/64" thick). On one end I formed something like a rabbet, and then I bent the piece over a piece of pipe, so it ended up being round and of the correct outer diameter. 

Using a piece of bronze welding rod, I made some small rivets. I would have used ready made rivets if I had some, but making them yourself is also fast.

Holes were drilled in the ends of the brass strip, and the cylinder shape was riveted together.

Using a piece of sturdy pipe as an anvil, I started hammering along one of the ends of the cylinder. The idea is to thin and thereby stretch the material so it will eventually curve out. Machines exist that can help you with that, but it is not equipment that we have on board, so the trusty hammer was the choice.

After a couple of rounds of hammering, the brass hardens. to keep it from cracking and also to make it easier to continue the forming, I annealed it using an oxygen/acetylene torch. 

At a certain point the flared end almost naturally starts to bend over in a 90 degree angle to the cylinder, and that means that the forming is almost done. The only thing left is to use a flat anvil and level out the flared part.

My last design used two pieces of copper pipe bent to a 90 degree bend, and this design would also work very well with a riveted construction. So I found an old piece of copper pipe and made a couple of bends that were separated from the pipe using a pipe cutter. The ends of each bend were hammered flat and they were then riveted to the flared part of the cylinder.

The strange thing is that this way of making drain grates actually seemed faster than my previous design, and I hadn't expected that. My main reason for not soldering was actually that I wanted to see if I could use a bit less oxygen and acetylene. That was also accomplished, but the speed surprised me.

Brass plate with strip cut of (enough for two drain grates)

A riveted cylinder marked before starting the hammering.

Flared out end of the drain grate.

The two copper bends are riveted in place

Side view of the drain grate showing the rivets.

Drain grate in place in the drain pipe.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Started a business today

 After thinking about it for many years, I started a business today together with Gustav.

The business is called Hest & Hus ApS, meaning Horse & House ltd.

Our major plan is to invest in a house that we can refurbish and then rent it out. But given that we are now officially a company also means that we can legitimately sell labour such as in carpentry jobs or woodwork projects or leatherwork projects. 

The idea is that since we both have a regular income, we are planning on letting all the money we make in the company stay there for further development of the company.

The hardest thing for me is to accept that I am helping financing the Danish society with all its flaws. But so be it..

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Gerstner inspired tool chest, completion

 I have been doing a bit of organizing and clearing out in the workshop, mostly still to accommodate lots of stuff from my dads shop. On one of the shelves in the shop I found the remnants of the Gerstner inspired tool chest that I started 8 years ago. I took a close look at it and decided that either I should throw it out, or I should invest the needed few hours and complete the project. 

After a bit of discussion with myself I decided that even if the project wasn't super good looking, it still deserved to be completed, and I could potentially use the tool chest for small stuff.

A couple of years ago I had made some stock ready for the fronts and sides of the drawers. I laid out some dovetails and started sawing and chopping away. I managed to mess up the design of the dovetails for the back of the drawers since I forgot to take into account that it should only be as high as down to the groove for the bottom. Nevertheless I decided that I could live with it and I proceeded.

When the drawers were complete I drilled a hole for mounting a small knob on the front. 
I then mortised in a lock on the fall front and made a small mortise for the lock to catch on in the carcase.

Then I assembled the tool chest with the self made fall front mechanism - only to discover that the knobs were a bit too long, so the fall front couldn't close. I took the easy and ugly route and gouged a small indent where each of the knobs touched the fall front. 

Finally I gave the drawers and the carcase some dark wipe on oil and let it dry for the night. It sits pretty on the shelf now, but I still haven't started to put stuff into it. 

I have to admit that the small tool chest doesn't look as elegant as I remembered. The wood wasn't perfect, and if I had to remake it again, I would probably reduce the thickness of the carcase, but as far as I remember, my main reason for starting the project back then was because I wanted to see if I could make a fall front mechanism out of wood.

The completed Gerstner inspired tool chest.

Drawers ready.

Getting ready to install a lock.

Oil on the drawers.

Messed up the length of the knobs..

Fall front almost closed.

Closed and locked.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Marlinspike with a leather sheath

 I have helped a lot of my colleagues turning marlinspikes out here, and I have made some myself as well, but those have either been for the ship's bosun shop, or as gifts to other colleagues. I have however never made one for myself. 

Probably since I don't need a marlinspike, but this time I decided to make one for myself anyway.

I found an old steel bolt for the cylinder heads of the main engine, and I deemed that it would be perfect for the purpose.
The shape is the one I usually help the trainees to achieve, a long sleek body with a mushroom shaped head. The conical body gradually turns from round to oval the nearer to the tip of the tool it gets. the tip itself is ground or filed flat and gets and edge of approximately 60 degrees.

The dimensions for my marlinspike is a length just shy of  12", the head is 1.25" in diameter, the upper part of the body is 19/32" which tapers to a width of 1/4" at the very tip. Just above the ground part, the width is 3/8" and the thickness is 9/32" (due to the oval shape).

A hole was drilled in the upper part and I made a small D-ring of bronze that I silver soldered in place, this is so that the marlinspike can be secured with a lanyard when working aloft. I made an extra D-ring that I could mount on the sheath, so that the securing line has a place to be secured to.

For the sheath I decided to test myself a bit, and make it as small as possible.
A wedge shaped piece of leather was sewn to the backpiece. this would form a rabbet that the rounded part of the sheath could register to. 
During the sewing of the wedge, I mounted the D-ring on the sheath. The wedge also moves the marlinspike a bit forward of the back piece, so that it will in theory stay a bit more clear of the hip when worn in the belt.

The rounded part was first made wedge shaped, so that the sheath would also taper in its length, both in width and height. I sewed it on using angled stitches that would enter the side of the rounded piece and pierce through to the back of the leather. 

Finally the edges were trimmed and polished a bit.

Monday, January 17, 2022

A bit of pounded brass

 A couple of days ago we had a regular storm out here. We had gusts of hurricane strength and waves that corresponded to the rest of the weather.

We ended up blowing out 3 of our stay sails, and we still did 12 knots on just two square sails. So apart from it being a bit difficult to sleep, it was great fun, and awe inspiring as always to see the full force of the sea.

When one of the stay sails had to be taken down, it hit the brass top of one of the old magnetic compasses. The sergeant quickly saved it and brought it inside. But the small top lid was missing.

We all take great pride in that the ship is looking its best when we go into port, and polished brass looks best if all the part are present. So I found our last piece of brass sheet metal, and set to work.

The first step was to determine more or less the size I wanted to lid to be, and then it was just a matter of cutting a disc out of the sheet and finding a hammer.

In a perfect world I would have had a nice little rounded anvil and a polished face hammer for working sheet metal, but a small ball peen hammer and a bit of pipe had to do the trick. 
The perimeter of the disc was going to be furled back, so I'd gently knock on it with the hammer and the after two rounds, I would heat it all up to anneal it so the brass once again became reasonably pliable. 

Before giving the outer edge the final hammering, I domed the disc a bit, and when it looked fair, I folded over the edge the rest of the way.

I tested the lid on the compass top, but I had made it a bit too small. I decided that I could fix it by machining the inner edge on the lathe. Which was not my original plan, but never the less it worked.

The lower rim was made up of a couple of strips of the brass sheet. I would have preferred a long continuous piece, but I didn't have enough brass to do that, so I had to improvise a bit.

Finally the lower rim was soft soldered to the domed disc. The completed lid was then cleaned up in the lathe and mounted on the compass top. 
Truth be told, my lid is just a smidge too tight for my liking, but it will stay put even in rough weather and it looks OK.

The completed top with its new lid

Thursday, December 30, 2021

16000 woodworking plans, almost too good to be true... (It probably is too good to be true)

 It is nice to find out that someone apparently have noticed that I have started to blog again, though I much prefer regular readers and comments from those instead of all those fake comments that once in a while seem to flood in.

Today I had 37 comments, all pretty much using the same words, and all completely irrelevant to the blog post where the comment was posted.

It seems that Ted McGraths 16000 woodworking plans have changed its name to woodbex. I guess it is the same scam, and I sincerely doubt that all the plans are some that he made himself.

Here's an earlier warning about the site from woodworkweb

I guess I'm not alone in once in a while seeing something nice and wondering, wow, I'd like to know if there is a plan available for that.  But I think there's a much better chance of finding that out if people ask in the comments field about it - rather than forking out 67 $ to a scammer and risk that maybe that plan isn't part of the 16000.

If you want to make chairs there are several well respected chairmakers out there who has got plans for sale, heck I think some of them even wrote a book about making chairs. Get those plan in a legal way instead of being part of a scam.

The same goes with a bunch of other stuff. Popular Woodworking and Fine Woodworking all have made great plans, if you haven't got the issue and can't borrow it at the library, well, then pay the amount of money the publisher would like for a back issue, and then go on and build a set of barristers bookcases with a good conscience. 

Truth be told, I didn't read all those 37 comments today, I kind of stopped after reading the comment that was posted on my post about building a coffin for my dad. 

That comment read something like: I built something similar with help from ... 
Hmmm, I bet you did! 

Stay safe for New Years Eve, don't drink and drive, use safety glasses and DONT support the scam sites 

All ready for Christmas Eve in Brooklyn
(Would you buy a used woodworking plan from this person??)