First planting

by Chuck March 22, 2009

We planted the first plants of the year today. We put two large packages of sweet peas seeds in the mound next to the patio. Last year we put sweet peas there, they were impressive.



More work on Odyssey's hatch

by Chuck March 5, 2009

Sorry, no catchy title. I did try...

I've continued working on the hatch over the last week and a half, I just haven't got around to writing about. It hasn't been too exciting actually. Most of the time I've been waiting for glue to dry.

On the 26th I made it out to the barn to epoxy the inner hatch together. I mixed up a pot of epoxy from the same cans of resin and hardener that I used to repair the transom -- they've been sitting around for a couple, three years but I figured they still be good. Anyway, I spread the glue, stuck in the biscuits, and after a little jiggering, I clamped the whole works together. And started waiting for the epoxy to kick.

Two hours later, still nothing. Great, I thought. Now I have to clean all that mess off and start over. Yuck. I couldn't take it. I walked away.

On the 27th I stopped a Schuck's while I was out running errands and picked up a new syringe of 5-minute epoxy. That way when I got around to cleaning up and starting over I'd have epoxy to play with. While I was putting the epoxy on my workbench I eased the clamps on the hatch -- still gooey. I tightened them back down (hey, it could still kick I thought) and went away.

Until Sunday.

Sunday (the 1st.) Almost a week later. I eased the clamps and the wood didn't split apart. The epoxy had finally gone off and stuck the pieces together. Yay! I got out my belt sander and my palm sander and spent some time sanding off the squeeze-out and generally cleaning and smoothing the frame. It looked great. Life was good.

Until I test fit the frame in the hatch. The *%$)@ thing didn't fit. The bottom was fine, the top was a quarter in on both sides from the frame. Looks like it's really 3 degrees, not 4. I'm not sure if I'm gonna to to the trouble of starting over, but before I do I'm gonna get one of those bevel gauges that other people have so I can take an accurate angle off the hatch. This is good enough for now though.

With one thing (baseball practice) and another (being lazy) I didn't get out to work on the hatch again until last night (the 4th). I used a router and my router table to cut a rabbet for the plexiglass window to fit in. I cut biscuit slots, mixed some epoxy, glued it up and clamped the whole thing together. Now I just have to wait a few days for the epoxy to kick and I'll be ready to cut and fit the window and bolt the whole thing together.

While I was out in the barn I picked up a scrap piece of hemlock and tried out a different way of milling the hatch frame. I cut what is essentially a long tenon on one side and then turned the piece over and cut a slot. Two quick milling operations and I had a piece that would have worked perfectly. Next time I'll know...



Site updates

by Chuck February 25, 2009

If you visit our site often (and how many of you do, really?) you may notice it's got a new look. I've switched to using BlogEngine.NET to manage the content. Hopefully using BlogEngine will make it easier for me to keep the site up-to-date since I'll be able to edit from any Internet connected PC. For example, I've already fixed a couple of typos on the front page that were just too much trouble to clean up with the old way of working with the site.

Over the next few days (weeks) the site will keep changing as I work on getting BlogEngine to display it the way I want it to look.



Starting a gallery

by Chuck February 22, 2009

I've wanted to start a gallery of images that I took with my little bitty digital camera. Here's one of the pictures that I took. Linking to photos on Flickr will have to do for now, but hopefully I'll get a Silverlight gallery running eventually.

Flowing Fountain



Project weekend

by Chuck February 22, 2009

It was a beautiful day on the Hill this weekend, so Dana and I took advantage of the weather to get out and get some stuff done.


On Saturday we finished taking the old chicken coop down. Last weekend we stopped when we had trouble getting the bottom boards out of the ground; this weekend I fired up the tractor and used the bucket to hork the whole works up. Once the boards were out I shoved the whole mess out onto the grass nearby so we could cut the wire off the boards.

Cutting the wire was, literally, a pain. My hands are cut up pretty good by the wire. I really must learn to wear gloves when I'm doing this kind of thing. Dana used a pair of bolt cutters to remove the field fence, then I whacked away with an old axe to remove the chicken wire. Once the wire was done I bundled it up and tossed it onto the pile we made last week.

Once I was done with the coop, Dana suggested that I turn the compost bin with the tractor, as long as it was there. Turning a compost bin would have taken me a week the last time I did it (with a shovel and a wheel barrow). With the tractor it only took about half an hour. I love the composters -- we put weeds and grass clippings and leftovers from the garden in, and then we pull black humus out. It's like magic, only not.

Dana loaded the junk wood into the truck while I turned the compost. When I was done we drove it down to the pasture and tossed it onto the burn pile. That's getting pretty big, I'll need to light it pretty soon, probably late in the spring when it has had time to dry.


I wasn't real motivated to go out and work on Sunday, but I wanted to get the rest of the old coop off the place. I loaded up the truck with the wire and hauled it to the solid waste drop-off in Sultan. They let you drop off recyclable material for free, so that's something anyway.

In the afternoon Dana headed out to weed the front gardens. Not sure what she was thinking... She weeded the bed by the front window while I cleaned up the front yard, then we weeded on the mound on the side of the house together. We ran out of time (and energy) so we only did the side facing the house, but it looks a lot better.

When we were walking between the garden and the compost bin with buckets of weeds we noticed that the strawberries in the strawberry jar mostly survived the winter. We're surprised, what with as cold as it was, but pleased -- we won't need to buy as many to restock this year.



Finishing finishing

by Chuck February 18, 2009

Put the second coat of teak oil on tonight.

Most of the wood looked good, but there were a couple of spots on one hand rail and one hatch slide where the teak had absorbed all the oil and left the surface looking like I hadn't put anything on. Not surprised, after 30 years I suppose the wood was pretty thirsty.

I waited 20 minutes again then rubbed the oil off. The wood is pretty dark now, so I think it's about done. Now I just need to re-attach them.



Logged out

by Chuck February 16, 2009

I found out today that my old Web site,, is getting closed down.

Quick like a bunny I downloaded the contents of the Web site to my hard drive so I wouldn't loose any of my old logs. I'll be re-entering them here over the next few days, which means a few oddities in the logs, like a 2009 creation date on a 2002 log entry.



Finishing teak

by Chuck February 15, 2009

Made some time to go out to the barn tonight after work to put the first coat of oil on my teak.

Went smooth as... greased teak?

Well, not quite that smooth. As soon as I started using the foam brush I bought the plastic inside the foam shattered so I had to use it like a rag to apply the oil. Then I knocked over the bottle of oil, spilling it across my work bench. That wasn't so bad, actually, I used the foam brush to pick up a blob of oil that I then applied liberally to the teak. I probably used more oil on the teak this way, 'cause I'd already used it, so to speak, and that worked out better for the teak.

While I waited the requisite 20 minutes to rub the wood down I climbed up on Odyssey and finished cleaning under the hatch slides on the poptop. It was really warm up there, now I know where the heat from the propane heater I use in the barn actually ends up.

Anyway, I rubbed the teak down with a towel. It looks fabulous. Well at least compared to the way it looked before.



Out for supplies

by Chuck February 13, 2009

I've been needing to make a trip to West Marine for supplies. Today I got to make it.

And I got to ride my motorcycle for the first time this year. As usual I was loathe to start riding, but Dana insisted and as usual she was right. I had a beautiful ride, and I'm looking forward to my next opportunity.

Anyway, I get to West Marine. It must have been a slow day because as soon as I walked through the door an employee was right there asking if he could help. As a matter of fact, I replied, he could.

He listed three options for re-finishing my teak: Oil, Cetol, and varnish. Oil is the easiest, he said, but varnish done right makes the teak look like fine furniture. The rest of the conversation went like this:

"I'm not sure I need to use varnish. My sailboat is like a Catalina 22..."

"Use teak oil."

No hesitation. Pretty much means that's what I need to use. So I picked up a bottle of teak oil and a sponge brush to put it on with.

While I was there I also picked up a '09 tide book, a West Marine catalog (Yay! Toys!) and a new wind fly. I broke the old one working on something or other this winter. It was a little spendy, but I figured I should pick it up while I was there and West Marine had one in stock.

Next -- putting the oil on the old teak and admiring my handiwork.




by Chuck February 13, 2009

I've been listening to Furled Sails, a sailing podcast produced in Florida. Listening to the podcasts has inspired me to go back to work on Odyssey, so tonight after dinner I headed out to the barn to get back to work.

The first thing I need to do now that I have the new winch installed is put the bulkhead back in under the bridge deck. This piece of 3/4-inch plywood is the only support the front of the cockpit has. The bridge deck has the main sheet pulling up on it and the keel winch pulling down; there's a lot of stress in this location. Most of the weight of the 900-lb keel is supported by this bulkhead when winching keel up and down.

And of course something this important doesn't go in easily. Oh no, it takes time and thought and my 14-year-old daughter coming out and saying "What you need is a crow bar."

So I grabbed a crow bar.

And popped the bulkhead right in.

After that it was a simple matter to put in the screws and brackets that hold the bulkhead in place. While I worked on the inside of the boat Katie was on the outside with a scrub brush cleaning up the worst of the algae around the lip of the poptop. A couple more sessions like that and the boat might be close to clean...

Next up is getting something to put on the teak I've been cleaning and putting the wood back on the boat.

(While I was writing this entry I couldn't get "Fish Heads" out of my head. Except it was "bulk heads, bulk heads, laughing happy bulkheads... I'm a sick, sick man.)



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