I am a “Tweaker”, meaning I like to see how systems function and how I can make things run more smoothly or better or just plain nurdier, or how can I “tweak” the system, nudging it towards perfection!
Spare us the rhetoric, Ross. What did you do now?
Spare time No.1:
The COLUMBIA III travels the rich waters of the BC coast and we often see cool things (whales, bears, fish, birds, other classic wooden heritage vessels not quite as beautiful as the COLUMBIA III . . . and generally cool things look even cooler when viewed through binoculars. So you guessed it, there are lots of binoculars on the ship. To date they have all lived in the wheelhouse and many times a day there is a scramble as guests and crew reach for binoculars . . . a Pacific Loon is so worth it! But when the amazing occurrence has, well, occurred, then the binoculars get put down . . . somewhere: the aft deck, the salon table, the front deck, the galley counter!!! (gasps of “No!”) . . . So I thought I should make a couple of shelves for binocular storage (not in the wheelhouse) to help curb this slovenly behavior and make it easier for guests to find the binoculars when the next Event occurs.
So a little R&D with some scraps of wood to determine basic proportions . . .
then dress rehearsal with the mahogany and brass bits to test drive the concept . . .
then some gluing and sanding and routing and rounding . . . .
and then staining and a first coat of varnish and fitting the brass rail . . .
Its amazing how big a mess I can make and how many tools I can employ making two small shelves . . .
And temporary installment to test drive the concept . . .
Spare time No. 2:
Storage is always a problem on a boat. I never had enough room on my 35′ tugboat and I never have enough room on this 68′ boat. So I spend a lot time trying to figure out cool new storage solutions for the ship, from mug racks to tool holders and a hidden computer keyboard. So for years I have been eyeing up the aft companionway ladder and its egregious waste of space. See next photo . . . really its enough to make anyone’s blood boil with rage . . . .
So after about 9000 trips between shop and ship as I tacked together prototypes for each stair. . . they are all different of course . . .
I created 3 individual, removable drawer cases . . . These will need to be easily removable for maintenance tasks in the area of the aft ladder.
And then 3 slightly quirky drawers . . . If reading about someone else’s mistakes makes you feel better about yourself you will love this next tale . . . After a long day working on something (Parks permits???) I headed down to my shop to get some tangible progress made on a real project . . . so I worked quite late and cut and glued together 3 unique drawers using my predetermined measurements that I had written on a scrap of paper with the 12 different dimensions (HxWxDx 3 drawers).
The next morning I removed the clamps and sanded the first drawer and routed the edges and gave it a test fit into its respective case . . . it didn’t fit. It was an inch too wide . . . and the other two drawers didn’t fit either . . . .
Somehow, at 9pm at night in a cold shop in the winter, my tired brain completely mixed up all the 12 dimensions and I had 3 completely useless drawers that fit nothing!
I decided it must be time to go back to mindless computer red-tape for a while and I made a new set of drawers a few days later . . .
Now. . . I am so swamped with other tasks I am waiting for my “sand and paint” crews to show up to assist with the final painting and varnishing before I install them.