Thursday, July 31, 2014

Time and space and The Floating Bear ...

Today was day 18 of working on resurrecting The Floating Bear. She is going together slowly, as one would expect from this kind of project. There is hardly a straight line or square corner anywhere to be found. A new age Feng Shui type would say it is all organic and flowing, a space befitting the spiritual alignment of ocean and wind. For all I know they might even be right. For a craftsman trying to puzzle it all back in place though, would an occasional clean fit be too much to ask?

The budget restraint adds to the fun. The working hardware stash is literally the bucket full of bolts (and nuts, screws, and washers) that came out when The Bear was gutted. One paws through it looking for, say, a matched set of screws and nuts to rehang the head door. And no, before you ask, it wasn't a matched set when it came down. It will take a sharp eye to see the difference in the set of 6 nuts, and a Dremel tool will even up the screw lengths perfectly, thank you very much.

Too much new wood would be a budget buster as well, though some just had to be. A sheet of marine ply went into the floor. A length of new 4 x 4 was cut and fit to replace the corroded chunk of pipe that was the compression post. True, The Bear no longer sports a mast, but one must still hold the cabin roof up as little ones tramp over it. In addition a few small gel coat failures in the cabin roof revealed the glass underneath to be completely dry – no resin soak at all. I wouldn't bet 10 cents on the structural integrity of the cabin top without some kind of support, but it will keep the rain out. (Four of the six chain plates were bolted directly to the cabin as well. It is amazing that this thing survived sailing loads at all.) The new post not only looks much better, it also bolts solidly to the main bulkhead, stiffening it up and probably making the boat stronger than it was when it came from the factory.  Though, in this case, "better than factory" isn't much to boast about.

There are some bits of other new wood here and there but, like the hardware, the working stash for what goes back in is what came out.  That means a lot of repair, sanding, and filling is going on.  A chunk of teak that once held a chain plate gets reworked into a bulkhead support.  An old bit of trim becomes a fillet for a new bit of floor.  It may not get the interior looking shipshape and Bristol fashioned, but at least it will not appear to be hacked out of raw lumber by a Neanderthal using a stone ax.

Some things just can't be done "right" with the budget and time restraints. The hole for the starboard side port (the one rain delayed) was so badly butchered that no amount of Dow Corning 795 could be counted on to seal it. Honestly, it looked like that same Neanderthal chopped it out while suffering a hang-over. (Actually, maybe a hung over Neanderthal with a stone ax might have done a better job.)  I tack screwed the port in place and glassed it in.  If there is a hint of justice in the Universe the low rent, soulless bit of pig dung that sold the kids this boat will – somehow – be the person who has to get that port out next. He is about the only person I can think of who actually deserves such a fate.

Other things are just a mystery. There is a place where the compression post, bulkhead, head insert, door jam, floor, and a support board should all, more or less, end up in the same general location of space and time. Instead its like some kind of Fifth dimension has warped euclidean space all out of whack, where length, width, and breadth are only half of the things needing to be measured. A clean spatula and a fresh can of fairing compound will force things back into the normal, three dimensional, universe.

There is a reasonable chance that plumbing runs for the new head and holding tank have been plotted. "Ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag" is the actual task at hand. (Where did that Fifth dimension get off to?)

Hope right now is that the kids can move back aboard early next week.  After we get The Bear dock side livable the DC electrical system will be the arena of interest with, it looks like, some AC gremlins to be exterminated as well.  Then the REAL fun will begin.


Alex Rooker said...

bizzar as it may at first appear, but perhaps there are usable parts available thru Habitat for Humanity for zero cost given the circumstances.

Jeffrey Michals-Brown said...

I don't recall your mentioning the make and model of The Floating Bear. I think you should. In fact, I think it should be added to your subject words for related posts, so it shows up in potential buyers' searches!