Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mud Season

So here in Northern New England we have a dreaded 5th season known as mud season.  It's the time just after the snow melts and just before the black flies start biting.  Mud season is a sub-season of spring and in my case it means that I can't go near the boat until things dry out and the ground stabilizes. Of course there is a lot to do, but mud season gives me an excuse to find other things to do.

I have been picking away at finishing the forward hatch though, and I decided to get all artsy and see if I could do an inlay.  I've never really done inlays before so I cracked open the interwebs one night and found some good youtube videos by 'The Apprentice and The Journeyman'.  Seemed easy enough so I gave it a shot.  I didn't take any photos of the process because I never thought it would come out as nice as it did, but you can see the whole process on the link above.

In any event, I decided on a compass rose with an alternating wood pattern, and I had some leftover teak from the top deck and a chunk of ash from the firewood pile. The ash is significant because it was a beautiful tree next to our house and my wife and daughter's favorite tree.  Unfortunately, it came down during one of the snowstorms this winter and I had to cut it up.  I saved a few pieces and cut them up on the bandsaw for use later on.   The ash will live on.

So with the help of the youtube videos I did some basic math and cut out a bunch of 22.5 degree wedges with a little jig I made for the bandsaw and glued them all up.  The result was surprisingly good, so I took then next step and traced the pattern on a piece of sapele and chiseled out the relief before dropping the glued up compass rose.

I sanded it all down and then embedded it along with a bunch of mahogany strips that I had left over on the underside of the hatch with epoxy.  After a good sanding, I applied the first of several coats of varnish.   Next, once the ground hardens up and I can get on the boat again, I'll get the hardware mounted and adjusted and then it's just a matter of more varnish and I'll be done.

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