Sunday, September 21, 2014

Project Progress Week 5: And the Boom Times Continue

We were so demoralized by the rain that stopped our progress, and looking forward to a weekend of gazing wistfully at the settee that should have been finished, that we asked the carpenter Ken if he'd give us the pieces of wood so that we could dry-fit them, see how the rebuilt settee was going to look, and cut and pin the upholstery cushions in their new size.  So just at 5 PM as the rain was letting up a little bit, he handed us a bundle of beautiful teak pieces.  If we'd had a tablesaw, and if we'd had a supply of good wood, and most of all if Dan's hand wasn't still healing from the surgery, this would be the kind of project we could do ourselves over the weekend, relying on old expertise from our kitchen design/remodel business.  But we didn't, and we hadn't, and it was, so we were reliant on others.  Turned out just as well; Ken's work was exacting and the wood he supplied was gorgeous.

Before we got to that, though, there was some playing to do.  Remember I described this place as a "front-porch kind of town?" Well, it seems the town event planners think so too. They called it an "Ol' Front Porch Music Festival" -- local musicians of all genres set up on the front porches of the historic houses in town and gave free concerts.  Historic homes walking tour with a soundtrack, and there was no way we were going to miss this novel concept.

Country music on the porch of one local shop.

There's a group in town who get together to play the ukulele, purely for fun. 

Bluegrass at the old hotel.  The guy in the black shirt (2nd from left) is our carpenter Ken. Man of many talents -- and as I commented before, half the fun is seeing people in their alternate context.

Small-town America, children and puppies -- just as wholesome as it gets. And I don't mean that in a snarky way; this town really is just that sweet.
Sunday we did dry-fit the pieces into the modified settee and were glad to have the extra time to fidget with the fit.  Between the time we had given them our measurements to cut the wood, and the time we received the pieces, we had misplaced our copy of the pattern in all the construction chaos, and couldn't remember the details of how we'd envisioned them going together!  We figured them out fairly quickly, though, which was fortunate, since we never did find our notes that weekend.

The "Boom Times" in this post describe not thunderstorms, but the intense pace of work this week.  Starting Monday morning, we had someone working on the boat 8-5.  Ken final-fit, nailed, screwed and bunged the settee, and while he was at it, attached and bunged the fiddles on the table.  We had taken them off to refinish them just before Dan got sick and higher priorities prevailed, then more-or-less forgot about them.  Once we left Annapolis we no longer had the tools to reinstall them even if we had remembered.  But fiddles are handy for keeping dishes from sliding off flat surfaces while in rough conditions, so we were glad to have them back.  Then the relocated diesel heater was re-plumbed and after a few tense moments with Eric, Dan, and me all poring over the error codes listed in the user guide, primed and running.  Finally, now that we had good engine access, we were ready to tackle the guts of the job, the thing that had brought us here in the first place, changing the engine mounts to reduce vibration.  That job is being done by Tim, Ken's brother.  Yeah, small town and all that, I find it cool.  I think almost everyone who works in this yard has done at least something on our boat.
Ken again, showing the insulated ducting he's using to route the cold air from our relocated a/c. There are other improvements too -- instead of gravity-draining the water that has condensed onto the coils into the bilge, there is now a clever device that uses the Venturi effect to suck the condensation water out of the pan and discharge it overboard.  

The engine hoisted up a bit, suspended while the old mounts are replaced with new vibration-dampening ones.  Why do we need to do this?  Long ugly story, the short version is that when we replaced the old Westerbeke engine that was original to our boat with the present Yanmar about 10 years ago, the installer asked Dan to cut down the stringers so there would be enough height for the mounts.  Dan did so, laboriously, in the unheated engine room, in January, with hammer and chisel.  But when they then went to install the engine, the installer said, "Oops, never mind, I measured wrong, it won't fit after all, fill it back in and we'll just use regular mounts.  It'll just be a little more vibration, that's all." Well, of course it was more than a little vibration, and all that vibration equals more wear and tear on everything.  The change-out was going to be expensive, and in the meantime the boat was running okay, so we delayed.  Until now, when we had both money and time to do the job.  Plus, we would get to redesign the stairs to a more ergonomic style as a side benefit.  This year I had a decade birthday (the big 6-0) and we're both thinking ahead to be able to continue to live on the boat for many more years.

We think (hope?) next week the project will be finalized and we'll begin our trip south.  The engine mounts were half-finished by Friday afternoon, they should be complete Monday.  Then it's alignment, a regular engine service, some tweaks to the rudder, a few more details, a sea trial (or river trial, in this case) and we head south.  Just in time, too -- the sticky steamy still air that has been sitting over the town is gone, replaced this week with perfect temps and lively winds from the north.  Beautiful, but also reminders that in a month, those winds will feel chill and blustery instead of warm and lively.


  1. Congrats on your Liebster award!

  2. Thanx! I was wondering what I was going to write this week.

  3. Plus, I hope you will fill us in on your remodeled settee and the new stairs. That may be a good post to include in that Monkey's Fist topic I'm supposed to be moderating. Also, I want to remodel our settee, so I want to see yours.

  4. Little Cunning Plan, thanx for asking, but the remodeling was just a case of shortening the cushion by 7 inches to accommodate the air conditioning vent. The actual reupholstery before and after photos are here: and here: