Monday, August 16, 2010

Out of bed ‘L’

new potatoes out the L bed

New Yukon and Red potatoes out of the bed ‘L’

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Finding Oneself at sea by the Stars

I’ve not yet sailed in the Ocean.   The idea of it is daunting, and yet the draw is greater than ever.  There is lots of time apparently to spend doing something other than exhausting paperback novels and possibly my mother’s Suduko.  One option is to have a backup Sextant and to actually use it.  GPS should it fail [sic], would then neccisitate finding one’s way quickly away from whatever it is one needs to get away from, fast!

Firstly said it is complicated.  Secondly accuracy.  Seasoned and professional mariners, like Bob’s father would get within a mile of two of knowing exactly where the Wanderer, his schooner was in the pacific ocean.  Bob learned this as a child, he would take three or four sights a day and have to calculate the position and then compare them with his fathers observations.  If he was wrong, he was to recalculate.  If still wrong, then it indicated his sightings were wrong.  Well it’s easy to understand how this could be possible. 

The sextant the instrument that evolved from the yardarm, itself may have some internal error, that needs to be subtracted from the reading itself. [see sextant errors ]

The atmosphere may be cloudy, the celestial orb not visible or poorly so, and early morning or late afternoon sightings of the sun could be difficult to read due to errors of parallax and refraction.

Your clock may be off, the radio broadcast of time-ticks may be  unreachable so syncing your chronometer to GMT or Universal Time may not be possible.  Who knows what if you don’t know what day it is or what hemisphere you think you are in, well this is admittedly a rare scenario of ocean shipwreck survival, unlikely.

Nearby planets, the moon, and sun are physically closer to earth, so their orbits and significantly changing.  These are recorded in the sighting tables, and do make the calculations more complex.  Not good when under pressure in rough seas.  It’s better to use the stars to Navigate as they are further away and require no corrections. 

Understanding the calculation is fairly repeatable and with a good form to fill out and having the correct almanacs I'm sure with practice I’ll be able to work out my relationship with the heavenly bodies. 

Extremely thought provoking stuff, not immediately practical, but something to keep the old brain lubricated.  I’ll write more once we go do a sighting on Rodeo Beach one clear Sunday, hopefully soon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lines - to tweak or not to tweak?

Tweaking battens beyond end points can in some cases produce a more fair curve.

There is one restriction though, ask yourself is there a physical structural entity in the end object to support such a curve?

In the case of waterlines, sure, these are hypothetical and have nothing to do with structure, so tweaking if required, is good in this case.

Buttocks and diagonals do however have something to do with the structure ( ie frames and planking ) so never tweak the battens beyond these lines.  There is nothing structural beyond the edge other than air/water that can support this shape.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Re-sawing White Cedar

About a month ago we went milling again with the Saturday class and were able to mill up a white cedar tree in San Anselmo.  We brought the flitches back to Sausalito and here we are last weekend working on the large ship saw with Bob and Roxy.  No body makes these saws anymore and there are probably less than six operational  in the USA.  It is quite a deal to operate the saw and requires much attention and care!  The use of pipe rollers make the task much easier as the flitch weighs in at about 300lbs!  Bob is wearing a mask as about 50% of people have or develop allergies to cedar, despite it’s wonderful ‘incense’ aroma.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Images from the shed


Looks like my Bailey #4

Monday, March 29, 2010

Milling with Bob round two

We went milling again this past weekend.  This time it was a white cedar that Jim my good arborist friend had recently felled.

Important lesson about the rpm’s keep them high, otherwise engine bogs down and the cut is not as fine.  Also keeping the pull lines parallel to the cut also can cause ‘skipping’ which causes a wrinkle cut that would be harder to square up later.

Good stuff!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Load water human line

While swimming today, I kept my body long and my waterline length maximized by keeping one hand out in front of me during the crawl stroke.  The longer the hull, the faster the body moving through water.  Given my 5’ 10” height that’s about 3.12 knots, but by increasing my overall length with an arm, say 1.5 feet more means another 1.64 knots, given the formula

Maximum Hull Speed = 1.34 * LWL1/2

It’s a good thing, given the necessary ramp up for South End’s September Alcatraz Challenge

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Memento Mori

Walking under the golden gate bridge, saw the coast guard unload a dead body, that was eventually loaded into a brown undertakers van.  The body was on a gurney and covered in a maroon blanket.

Water in lungs, not great. 

Possibly a Golden Gate jumper, or some unlucky fellow who went unseen overboard and succumbed to hypothermia?  What ever, it was shocking and a certain reminder of our mortality.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Thinking about a blue-water analog

I’m thinking about building a ocean going yacht , and have been very interested in Colin Archers “Stavanger” a rescue boat that saw service in Norway, here is a nice video of her in action

I also like Bob’s Elanor is also part of the analog.

33 – 43 feet and medium displacement 5-8 thousand pounds, internal ballast, comfortable safe and relatively fast for long distance ocean capable  sailing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Early morning Sausalito Walk

Headed out for a walk with Delta this morning, we went down Cooper Lane, turned left on San Carlos, Then took Exclesior Lane down to Harrison and then on down to Cafe Trieste for great freshly squeezed OJ and croissant.  There was this cool army boat, that had been turned into a house boat.


  IMG_0021 IMG_0022


Further down the warf was the Henry Rusk.IMG_0037IMG_0027

Bob had helped frame this boat about twenty years ago.  There were about a dozen professional builders under strict supervision and the eucalyptus frames were steam bent and installed in only one day!

IMG_0031 IMG_0032

The boat is a nice wooden boat, however one can see the aesthetic advantages of a curved raked transom.  The existing transom is just too boxy for my liking


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mallard – new motions

Rodeo beach, sunset, awesome almost unreal.  Next thing there are these ducks, real green heads and all, perfect vehicles for water, and air.  Would it not be cool if kitesurfing met high performance sailing … fanciful for sure, but the thought of rising out a trough, then taking air would be a fun ride, Mallards rock!



Here is Delta Dog, growing up everyday …


Sunday, January 10, 2010

x.y.z. points and why?

Layout and rough carvings for the beginnings of a pepperwood or bay laurel rounding plane



It’s hard to keep within the lines, I went over, but was able to save the piece by adding a filler tenon in the throat and mouth.

The fascination I have with wooden boat craft, as seen in current writings:

From Oren Kredo an, interesting article in today's New York Times
Finding an Answer to Rough Seas 

From Maria Moyer another interesting article on the non-digital
The Case for working with your hands

Of Course two books further help explain the Joy of building, studios and boats - Michael Pollen’s  “A Place Of My Own” and Michael Ruhlman’s “ Wooden Boats”

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Milling Nicasio Valley, The Video …

NO SOUND?  Yes this is tekkie, please click HQ  button ( image ) on the Video Player after playing, for high definition TV.  Note, Video starts 36 seconds into clip for now.

This is the footage from an earlier post made more or less exactly a year ago …

Sorry it took a while, at last, after a long while of fiddling with an old video format*, I’m able to get the footage up from Julie and Steve, I mixed it up to give the basic sequencing when Milling a Tree, in this case a black locust, an extremely strong lumber choice for sawn/grown frames. 

* AVI v1 ( file format no longer, supported by Adobe Premier Elements ( Really nice product btw, well worth the $79  ) Was able to convert it to a MPEG-4 with videoX so please … excuse the watermark in the video … Alaskan milling is fun!  … dusty + loud … tho’ so take a good facemask and noise protection … and above all keep your wits about you, Awareness is Key!  Alaskan Chainsaw Milling is potentially Dangerous Or Lethal do not attempt without extensive preparation and education.   Always operate mill with a remote throttle and rope pulling system in the event of the saw chain breaking and wound operator(s)