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??)


Monday, December 27, 2021

Keepsake box of birch

We had made a draft of who should give who Christmas presents on board. And my recipient had earlier on wished for a belt, so I made a nice wide belt that would fit in a set of jeans for her. I decided that I could make a keepsake box for her as well. That way it would also be easier to make a decent gift wrapping. :-)

I found a piece of birch that I had milled a couple of years ago, and I decided that it would be a fine material. I have never really worked birch before, other than for firewood, so I thought that it would be interesting to do a nice little project with it.

I settled on some measurements that looked fine to me and would enable me to make the panels for the lid and bottom without gluing anything up. 
the board was first crosscut into some manageable lengths and then planed to the desired thickness. 

The sides were ripped to the correct width and I made a groove on for the lid and the bottom, so that I could assemble the box completely and later on divide it on the table saw. 

I laid out some dovetails and took into account that 1/8" would be removed from one of the sets when I reopened the box. I just made regular through dovetails, and after dry assembling the sides I measured for the lid and bottom and made those too. those received a rabbet going all the way around, so they could seat in the grooves of the sides once assembled. 

After the glue had dried, I planed the protruding parts of the dovetails flush with the rest, and sanded the box lightly. I adjusted the table saw to nearly the depth of the material, so that when I separated the box I would not risk any movement or binding. I could just as well have glued in some small blocks of wood on the inside prior to assembly, but I chose the other route this time. The final separation was done with a Japanese pull saw.

I made some dust seal strips that would be mounted inside the bottom of the box. These all received an angled cut near the upper part. The depth of the cut was close to 1/32", just the same as the thickness of the fabric that I would use to line the box with.

The dust seals were glued in place, and I installed some small brass hinges that I once got from my brother in japan. I decided that I didn't want to ad a lock to the box, so from that point on it was just downhill smooth sailing. (The Danish expression downhill apparently means something different in English :-) )

I gave the box three coats of shellac with a rubbing of steel wool in between each layer. After the final layer I lightly rubbed with steel wool again, and then gave the surface a coat of wax. 

Some years ago I ordered a length of baize from Hainsworth in England. This is the fabric that was originally used in gun cases and such. Due to various reasons I never have gotten around to test it before now, and I have to say that it is an incredibly nice material! 

It looks way better than any of my earlier attempts using hobby felt which is actually a synthetic instead of real wool. The baize has a beautiful dark holly colour and it is much more firm so it is easier to cut and position inside the box.

Based on information that I once read on the "pegs and tails blog", baize was traditionally glued using glue made from wheat flour. 
So armed with this information I found a recipe for wheat flour and started. the recipe called for 1 part of flour to 4 parts of cold water. The flour is mixed thoroughly with the cold water and the mixture is then brought to boil and left to boil while stirred until it thickens.
The glue worked a lot better than I had anticipated, and in a short time the keepsake box was complete. 

Assembled box

Almost separated

Just separated

The new puppy resting its tired little head on the soft cushion of our lovely Newfoundland dog

Getting ready to glue using wheat flour glue

Baize glue up in progress.

The keepsake box has been lined

Completed box ready for Christmas wrapping


Monday, October 11, 2021

A halter for Mette's horse

Last time I was out here, I ordered a reprint of an old German book on leatherwork. It is written in 1908 by a master saddler and covers everything you could wish to know about leatherwork including how to set up your own business with suggestions for various types of letters that you could be interested in sending out to e.g. customers, people who owe you money, newspapers etc. 

In that book there are some suggestions on how to make halters. And I thought that t would be interesting to make something from a set of plans instead of just copying one of the old halters like I have done previously. 

The measurements are pretty close to what I have made before (I guess the size of a horse's head hasn't changed much) but these plans also suggest that you make a head band. And that is new to me. I have only seen that on regular bridles. So before leaving for sea, I cut some leather straps and loaded my small box of leatherworking tools with me determined to try to make such a halter. I also ordered some hardware so I could make something that looked nice, instead of simply cannibalizing an old halter for cheap steel parts. So this time it is new cast brass parts.

It is funny that I can easily feel that I am not that accustomed to working in leather compared to working in wood. So my initial rough calculations on how much leather I would need is off. I had brought enough leather with me to be able to make two halters (I thought), but I only have material for one and a half. 
Also despite trying to think ahead, I make small mistakes. It is not that these are deal breakers, but I am pretty sure that they are avoidable if I had more experience. The good thing is that I am able to recognize some of them, and I have corrected a few along the way, so I still try to only make the same mistake once or twice.

At the moment we are sailing across the Atlantic, following the north east trade winds (Passat). We passed Cap Verde the other day, and the temperature of the sea water is 28 dgC, and the air temperature is the same during the night, but a lot higher during the day due to the sun. So it is nice to have a project that I can do outside instead of having to work in a super hot shop. At the moment I am working on the headband itself, so that is not yet in the pictures.

My work station on the poop deck.

The view is quite nice.

Halter hanging on the emergency steering wheel. (also on the poop deck)


Thursday, September 23, 2021

Anatomic breastplate for Caj (Gustav's horse) glamour shots

 In February when I had to sign on the ship, the Covid 19 restrictions required that I had to go to Norway and sit for 10 days in a quarantine hotel before flying with the rest of the crew down to Tenerife to meet the ship.  As you might remember, I made a breastplate of leather instead of sitting idle all the time.

When I came back, Gustav tested it and found that a few of the pieces were a bit too long. This time while at home I found the time to fix those small things, and I snapped a couple of glamour shots of the breastplate mounted on Caj.

For some reason my inadequate camera skills have made it look like Caj is a small horse. That is not the case! He measures 1.72 m above the shoulders (17 hands).


Gustav and Caj

Anatomic breastplate 


Could I come outside please?






Wednesday, September 15, 2021

New gable on the barn completed

After a long period with fantastic weather, I decided that I'd better pull my act together and complete the gable before I would have to do it in rain and wind. 
I am not sure why I didn't really feel so excited about this job since normally I like to do carpentry jobs such as this one. 

Nevertheless I got the last boards installed, and managed to make a decent closure of the upper part of the gable too. That one had to be a bit different due to some of the original framing of the barn extending farther out than the rest. 

I applied some zinc drip edges on top of the doors and on top of the lower part of the opening for the sawmill, to prevent water from entering the end grain of the wood.

Since the boards were planed and not just rough sawn as they would have been if I had milled them myself, I found some oil based paint in the standard Swedish red colour. Painting didn't take much time, and it all suddenly looked a whole lot better. I have to admit that it could use a second coat, but I can do that some other time.

I still need to install some plywood on the inside, as Gustav and I had decided when we started the project. The idea is that we can each paint our logo on the plywood, and that should hopefully look good.


Completed gable at the North end of the barn