Tuesday, May 7, 2013


... Kintala doesn't hate me after all, though I'm starting to wonder if Tartan does. The drawers came back to the city to get 3/32s of an inch shaved from each side, a quick clean-up and they would be presentable. I had me a new router loaded up with a shiny sharp blade and settled the first one onto the workbench nice and comfy, hot towel, music playing ... six quick passes and the shop would be closed for the day. But the customer didn't look so good. All the wood was dry and brittle, bits chipped out here and there, and a long crack radiated from one of the nail holes. Nail holes? The bottom rattled around loose in its routed out track and the front lacked even that much mechanical support. It was held to to each side with three little brass brads. Are you kidding me? A more thorough exam showed all three to be in equally sad shape. These things were slapped together like a shack in a third world ghetto, a total of 12 little nails holding each together. Clearly a quick a shave would not be enough to get these customers ready for the party. Exit the barber analogy, let more serious work commence yet again.

A few gentle taps with a soft hammer and the first one fell apart on the bench. I was glad to see a trace of some kind of a glue like substance had been used to help support the front piece, though it had long dried into nothing but filler. It was the only place as back, sides and bottom fell away clean. Well, almost clean. The other two drawers crumbled just as easily, though one had a side that was split through, front to back; it fell off in pieces. A few other bits broke off as well, but that one side was the only part requiring replacement.

With the drawers reduced to piles of parts it seemed silly to shave the sides. Several careful passes along a saw blade, a few moments on the belt sander, and each was shrunk the required itty bitty bit. Reassembly with all joints firmly glued and clamped, then all surfaces treated to a healthy dose of wood oil, took the better part of two days. They still need to be fit into the boat, a task that is sure to be a lot more involved than it looks. In the end though, the back cabin / storage space on Kintala will be much improved, better than factory even.

In the aviation world repairing something "better than factory" is a bit of a boast - and pretty hard to do. Matching factory work is difficult enough. In the boat world, "better than factory" looks to be within the reach of pretty much anyone with half a brain, some small talent with basic hand tools, and a willingness to take a few extra minutes to do something even half right. I kind of hope Kintala is warming up to my efforts to make her the boat Tartan pretended her to be. And I really hope Tartan did a better job on hull and rigging than they did on interior and systems. Its enough to keep a person up at night wondering just how many corners got cut in places that can't be seen.

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