Boatbuilding Humor

John Fleming of the Bartender Boat mailing list passed along this gem… we’ve all been there, I think.

TOOLS and their actual uses:

DRILL PRESS : A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, splattering it against that freshly-stained heirloom piece you were drying.

WIRE WHEEL : Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned guitar calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, "YEOWW!"

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL : Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their holes until you die of old age.

SKIL SAW : A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS : Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters. The most often tool used by amatuers.

BELT SANDER : An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

HACKSAW : One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.

VISE-GRIPS : Generally used after pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

WELDING GLOVES : Heavy-duty leather gloves used to prolong the conduction of intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.

OXYACETYLENE TORCH : Used almost entirely for lighting various flammable objects in your shop on fire. Also handy for igniting the grease inside the wheel hub you want the bearing race out of.

WHITWORTH SOCKETS : Once used for working on older British cars and motorcycles, they are now used mainly for impersonating that 9/16 or 1/2 inch socket you’ve been searching for the last 45 minutes.

TABLE SAW : A large stationary power tool commonly used to launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.

HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK : Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.

EIGHT-FOOT LONG YELLOW PINE 2X4 : Used for levering an automobile upward off of a trapped hydraulic jack handle.

TWEEZERS : A tool for removing wood splinters and wire wheel wires.

RADIAL ARM SAW : A large stationary power saw primarily used by most shops to scare neophytes into choosing another line of work.

TWO-TON ENGINE HOIST : A tool for testing the maximum tensile strength of everything you forgot to disconnect.

CRAFTSMAN 1/2 x 24-INCH SCREWDRIVER : A very large pry bar that inexplicably has an accurately machined screwdriver tip on the end opposite the handle.


PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER : Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids and for opening old-style paper-and-tin oil cans and splashing oil on your shirt; but can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads. Novices excel at using this tool.

STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER : A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws.

HOSE CUTTER : A tool used to make hoses too short.

HAMMER : Originally employed as a weapon of war, the hammer nowadays is used as a kind of divining rod to locate the most expensive parts adjacent the object we are trying to hit. Rookies primarily use it to make gaping holes in walls when hanging pictures. Also used as replacement for screwdriver.

MECHANIC’S KNIFE : Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use.

DARNIT TOOL : Any handy tool that you grab and throw across the garage while yelling "DARNIT" at the top of your lungs. It is also, most often, the next tool that you will need.

Watching a steam engine

The complexity and simplicity and beauty of these old steam engines (and newly made versions) is just fascinating to me… and some argue that they are still a good and viable powerplant.

This is certainly a nice looking installation on a pretty boat.

Found the link on the Backyard Boatbuilding mailing list. Quite a bit of discussion pointed out the danger to the child/by standers for the engine to run unshielded. I would agree that I would be concerned that a wave or whatever could cause the child to fall into the moving machinery, and hope that precautions are normally used. Anyway, pretty install and attractive craft.

Death in the family

Sorry for the absence… my dear Grandmother, age 98 1/2 (you wouldn’t believe that from the picture, would you) passed away Saturday morning and I’ve been dealing with the family and funeral arrangements, etc.

I’ll be getting back into the regular flow shortly.


The Handy Mariner

>>> The Handy Mariner

A site with articles, forums and various resources… I’ll let them describe themselves:

This website has a simple objective – to help develop the skill and confidence boatowners need to select appropriate gear, materials and techniques required to undertake many of the maintenance and repair jobs on board. You do not have to be a tradesperson, or a skilled handyperson and you may not want to do the work yourself. This site will help you make sensible decisions, whether you choose to do it yourself, or deal with industry professionals.

Whatever kind of boating you do, we hope you will be encouraged by the experiences of others including old-hands and industry experts. We attempt to bring into one convenient place information on products, materials, techniques and resourses. When sourced from other websites, appropriate credits and links are provided.

Don’t try to do it all yourself

This is something we probably all fight with from time to time… I know I certainly do. I want to do it all myself… everything. Part of this comes from being a perfectionist (a goal I’ll certainly never obtain on this earth). You know the old line… if you want it done right, do it yourself. Well, often that’s not true.

So, where do we draw the line? I want to build a boat… That desire is contradictory to hiring out a lot of the work (not to mention I don’t have that kind of money). On the flip side, there are some things I may just not be able to do.

I don’t have a sawmill, and it’s not in the cards to have a field of trees that I own, thus cutting trees and milling my own wood probably isn’t practical. Could I learn that? Sure. Does it make sense? No.

(Of course you could ask if building a boat makes sense at all… no, but…)

For a simple boat the list of items you can’t do yourself may be small, but it may exist. I may need help turning it over. It makes a lot more sense to ask a few friends for help flipping it instead of spending days building frames and hoist points.

For a larger craft, not getting help on the right things/systems can mean big safety issues. Do I know marine wiring? No, I may do the work, but I’ll need to get some advice and assistance. I can probably find most of it in the texts, but sometimes its better to talk to a knowledgeable person, or get them to look your plans over, or something.

Do I know marine design? No… would I like to learn? Yes, and maybe someday I will, but if I’m trusting my families (and my own) neck in this thing, having a marine engineer or the like check the figures would be a good idea (assuming I’m not using professionally drawn plans, which we will assume are correct).

When I’m doing web design or turning up web sites, should I provide ever function from my own system? Sometimes, yes, but often, no… other companies provide email, hosting, advertising, whatever much better than I ever could. I need to remember that and use them when appropriate (and deciding when is appropriate is my job as designer).

Where am I going with this? I don’t really know, but just trying to throw some thoughts out there and remind myself that sometimes I need to ask for help 🙂

Chine bLog

>>> Chine bLog

Tim Shaw has another nice little boating blog going… lots of links, some good posts, coverage of things boating and boat related (including some boat art, even)… check it out.

And its a GREAT name… sure wish I had thought of it 🙂

His description:

Chine bLog is a collection of thoughts and opinions on the greatest of boats – the small, the tradition-inspired, the wooden, and the naturally powered – brought to you by lifelong boater and dabbling designer / builder Tim Shaw. Enjoy!


>>> Mastervolt

I added this to the previous posting on Small Generators, but I decided to point this one out specially. The main reason is that Mastervolt seems to carry quite an array of electric power products… controllers, generators, motors, batteries, you name it. If you’re looking about electric power needs on a mobile platform (or off the grid), you may want to check them out.

Well done web page with useful information.

Welcome to Mastervolt!

Mastervolt is a world leader in the supply of electrical power system solutions to a wide variety of markets. Our mission is to make dependable AC or DC available to all those who require power at locations where no public utility is available.

Yulah/Scull – single oar – alternative propulsion

Well, its not quite fusion powered high-technology, but its been used for centuries and is sworn to by many. Often seen in the Orient and elsewhere, but not much in the States… check out the Yulah (single oar) type rowing.

There are actually quite a few resources to learn about this propulsion method:

Simplicity Boats has a Yulah Page. There is also a link from there to a Wooden Boat article that is quite detailed.

Why use auxiliary propulsion for your sailboat if you can propel it by hand???