A Lazy Weekend in July
July 3-4, 2015

We had to take a little time off to go adventuring and perform a wedding, but the Boathouse is back in action.

I figured the best home for the Viking helmet was the Boathouse, and while we don't often run around with our shirts off, in David's defense, it was a very hot day.

This is the bottom of the Goose - one of the scarfs for the skeg had failed, so I filled it with a mix of epoxy and sawdust.

Three minutes with the angle grinder and it was smooth and shiny.

I didn't really have any plan for the day, so I thought I'd take one of the Coracles out for a paddle. If you remember, I tried a rubberized coating for the cloth, but it failed miserably. I went back and painted them with good old Rustoleum Gloss Black. Don't it look great?

For what they are, these boats are remarkably stable. The bottom is very flat and while they are twitchy, they aren't nearly as unstable as I thought they'd be. The bad news is that when I stepped in, I heard a mighty CRACK. That's never a good sound.

I paddled out and back 100 yards or so. I'm starting to understand it goes better with long, slow strokes, quickly transitioning to the other side. I can now paddle against wind and tide, but I am not fast.

When I got back to the Boathouse, I saw one of the 1/8" plywood lathes had cracked. This is bad. I try to step where the lathes cross, but visitors won't be nearly as careful.

Whoops, here's one that had broken all the way through. We need a fix.

The easy solution is to spread out the force. I found some 1/4" scrap that would be big enough to cover the area where people's feet will go (~25"x10"). Remember: When dealing with the public, make no assumptions. It will be interesting to see how long the Coracles last.

Cut, trimmed, and stained, the footpad was ready to be secured to the boat. I used zip-ties because that's what I had on hand (just like the Scots of old.) I decided to set it up so the ends of the ties pointed outwards - for no other reason than I figured there should be some uniformity.

Next, I cut off the excess tie and sanded off the sharp edge. I then used an unsharpened pencil (happened to be the right size) to pound the end down into the hole.

A family came by, Tim, Leanna, and Bryan, visiting the coast from Portland. They had been driving, trying to find a place that rents canoes or kayaks. No one does - and we don't either. We let people use them for free (but we do appreciate donations.)

Tim was the only one with any canoeing experience, so watching them pull away from the docks was interesting. They ended up having a great time, seeing osprey, a hummingbird, and kingfishers.

I rigged up the Goose and took her out for a sail in mild and flukey winds. David, Rick, and a friend were out, sailing one of the Teak Ladies. David has been trying to get people interested in sailing these boats - find out more at the Teak Lady Society.

Those are beautiful boats.

After a bit of sailing, I turned to on our new toy: a signal cannon, presumably from a boat called the Selkie. That's the fun thing about getting involved with boats - you can end up with interesting things.

It weighs just under 29lbs (a little over 13kg)

It's right at 16" (just over 400mm)

It's about 3 3/4" (95mm)wide at the breech

I was told the bore was .68cal, but it seems to be 22-3mm at the mouth, which would make it a between .88 and .90cal, roughly. I'm just going to use it as a signal cannon (no solid shot) but data is always beautiful.

I don't know how to tell the difference between bronze and brass, but Brasso is a nice metal cleaner. The finish on the cannon is pretty rough, so I doubt I'm going to try for a mirror polish - clean will be good enough.

I looked up, and a kid named Jake was standing there. "Do you want to see how heavy this is?" "Sure!"

Jake thought our Viking helmet was pretty cool.

Jake was there with Christi, who also liked the hat. It was Christi's 10th birthday and they were headed to the Pavilion and didn't have time for a paddle.

Mark A. showed up and took possession of our little Junk-rigged Ruben's Nymph. Best to you, Mark! Enjoy your new boat.

As we were loading the Ruben's Nymph onto Mark's trailer, I looked down to the docks and thought this was a nice shot: Jake running at full speed while Christi's mom asks Geoff a question as Geoff washes off his kayak.

Enough boats. Time to hit the Twisted Snout for a pint. We had a nice discussion about the cannon: Did we want to go with the original intent of the cannon and make it a signal gun? The carriage is very simple, no wheels, just something to hold the cannon up, really. Or do we go for the cheap thrills and make a battle carriage for it? Wheels, holders for the rammer and swab, real theater.

The answer was "Why not both?"

I started playing around with scraps, trying to get an idea of how everything would work. I'm going for the Signal Carriage first. On this try, I had the cannon mounted too high.

That's better - enough elevation for the powder charge to be easily pushed down the barrel., no unnecessary height.

Visitors! Rainah and her father were out walking the docks so I brought them in for a show and tell.

That's the rough-out for the Signal Carriage. I'm not entirely pleased - I'm going to play with a few more ideas. My biggest concern is the enclosed trunnions - I don't want to have to disassemble the entire carriage to move the cannon to the (as yet to be designed) battle carriage.