Well that was a year I'll be glad to forget.
Who was it said "the scariest words you'll ever hear are: 'Hello, I'm from the government and I'm here to help'." Was it Reagan? Whoever it was nailed it.
Ladles, Gents - with apologies for the extended absence but the situation with my Wife's errant 'care' team has now descended below mere farce, we're far beyond that which can be parodied (never); undying skepticism and distrust came and went 2 yrs ago and I'm left here knocking on the doors of active fulminating contempt for the sheer duplicity and wilful recklessness displayed by this clacque of swing-tagged, sanctimonious snakes in the grass. You hear about such jaw dropping tales of practiced apathetic incompetence all too frequently in the print and broadcast media but until it happens to you it seems too far fetched to believe. You think surely the hacks are embellishing it for the shock effect.
You know the sort of thing, an incident so ineptly handled that you find yourself staring at the screen/radio, mouth open, head slightly inclined, quizzically transfixed by yet another repetition of the same failures they'd been warned about and castigated for in report after report after Select Committee hearings for decades in some cases but here we are again??? You think; how can anybody be that universally obtuse? or perhaps, why the hell didn't they see that coming? or perhaps, "and how much is that going to cost to put right? Or all of the above. inevitably one invariably ends up mentally asking "and how much were they paying this clown???" But then 'they' arrive at your door, insinuate themselves and before you know it the catalogue of no-brainers grows exponentially and what was just 'devastatingly bad' before is turned to utter catastrophe!
But I do take comfort though in the oft repeated assurance that there is indeed a place reserved in hell for all such religiously PeeCee'd, proto-Maoist vandals with room temperature IQs who so lightly misappropriate and assume the title "professional" as though by claim of right. Or rather I used to; but like all public sector service providers Hades is running at beyond capacity and has been for years, the booking and triage systems have crashed and old Nick is even hiring in sub-contract agency vengeance demons! (he just can't get the staff y'see as nowadays its so hard to distinguish their CV of gratuitously malevolent tortuous misdeeds from those of the prospective clientele! But some good news at last...
I hear on the construction trades grapevine that the sealed tenders are in, reviewing is finally complete and contracts are at this moment being allocated for the commencement of Phase 1 of Beelzebub's long awaited 8th Circle Extension Project. I have a particular interest as I tendered to supply, install and commission his suite of state-of-the-art VIVISECTOR 9000s. You know, they're the ones with the high voltage trepanning facility and the CNC guided red hot jacksie pokers. Lovely bits of kit these 9000 models, real quality and super reliable so he can roast these wayward souls till the very ends of time itself, he'll do good work with them I'm sure. I'm pretty certain I've landed this one - I offered to do the whole job gratis purely as a public service to all single Fathers
but I'll more than cover expenses and make a good few bob supplying the spare blades and such! Fuel costs aren't really an issue because as we know the road to hell is a short one! What's left over I can use to find new storage for the boats.
Yup 'Fraid so, the factory premises have been bought out and will soon be an MOT station. Can't imagine where I'll find the equivalent for £15/wk so potential embuggerances ahead. More immediately and importantly ... IT'S FINISHED
The centreboard case that is.
I think I left the thread hanging by a thr... as I pondered how to get 1 1/4" square teak logs to take up the curve of the rocker. They wouldn't, no way, so Plan B was to slit them into 1/4" laths and laminate them up with epoxy. Jig needed then so what remained of the birch ply was stiffened up with some battening and pressed into service.
I basically clamped one of the finished sides down onto it. butted some scrap (hard) pine blocks up tight to the edge every 10" or so then drilled and fixed them with two screws from below, plenty good enough. The table saw made a rough job of the slitting but I wasn't too fussed as you couldn't want for a better key for the epoxy. In fact I had to knock them all back with a rasp. SO here's the jig with the bottom lath on the left and a stack of 3 more waiting to be glooped and clamped.
Can't afford to splash out on twenty odd clamps so resorted to ghetto methods using more screwed blocks and opposing wedges, I do like simple.
Here goes nothing. No going back now...
That went better than I had any right to expect but when freed from the jig it basically had no options but to conform to the rocker perfectly. I was fearing and expecting it to be a bit notchy and 'dodecahedral' because I hadn't created a proper, fully curved former but I can't see any evidence of that at all. As for teak being difficult to glue...? not from what I'm seeing it isn't. I suppose I should have (and still should) glued up a test piece (under bending tension same as the logs) to sit out on the balcony to see how the joints are going to behave long term.
A bit of a clean up needed but that rasp is my go-to for this sort of thing, get the right amount of skew exactly 'sweet-spot' right and it rips off neat shavings of hardened epoxy like it was ice cream!
So time to fix them in place, In the end I did opt to 'belt 'n brace' it using the ring nails as well though I fully accept they were structurally superfluous I thought I'd at least tip the hat to tradition.
More gash timber utilised for yet more improvised wedge clamps. They worked a treat.
A bit of a clean up
...and it's pretty much there. The top cappings are on now (epoxied and ring nailed again), the board for the winches can be fitted in situ and a pad for the mainsheet block needs to be fabricated and affixed.
I decided to go with beefing up the c/board pivot by installing some turned ebony bushings for the bolt to ride in (now upped to a meaty 12mm diameter) as the birch won't take kindly to any wearing away at its epoxy jacket, any water penetration and it'd turn black within a week.
and hyper chuffed that it looks as good as it does given the environment in which it was built but oh boy did it come at a cost...
Contact dermatitis of course. This is two weeks after the prescription for oral anti-histamines and a topical steroid cream and it finally started to heal!
This time it was the teak that bit me, and hard. At first I thought it was a chilblain or suchlike as it was just one finger and during that cold snowfall but uh uh. Within 12 hours both hands were burning, blistering and itching like nothing I've ever experienced before short of sticking my arms in a nettle patch on the hour every hour. It still hurts now if I bang them on anything. Pre-sensitisation? Hoh yuss.
Yeeeeebloodyouch! Damn this hurts. I've put an end to that by getting 3 coats o' Coovars on so now it's safe to handle. Safe yes, easy - no not really, this thing must weigh 40lbs I reckon, where the original was featherweight this is more welterweight, real ice-breaker stuff in fact that gives me an idea for the name...
I like it.
...well if it was easy everybody would have one.