Monday, February 22, 2010

Building Ribs

Now that we've had our party I suppose it's time to get back to work. The next weekend after the party, winter descended on Truro and a very cold one.We spent days that were fit to be in the boatshed cutting out the notches for the ribs to sit in. The ribs are situated about 12" center to center from each other which leaves about an 8" span between. She is well ribbed. The ribs are made of oak, as is the keel and the deadwood. They are laminated together with 3 oak boards 1 3/8" x 4" (making a rib 4 1/8" x 4"). They are steam bent in a steel jig that we made here and can adjust to fit the different sizes and shapes of the ribs. We had to make a steamer for the oak and cut the oak logs to the sizes need for the ribs.It was really quite a time. By the time we actually got to the steaming of the timbers it was summer. Sheamus helped quite a bit with bending the ribs and putting them in place. We also had a neighbour, Alden McNutt who came up quite often to lend a hand with the work. As we put up ribs we had to keep adding an upper walkway all around the boatshed so that we could reach the upper parts of the ribs and temporarily set them in place before going on to the next one. They had to have spreaders on them to keep them from getting narrower and spacers to keep them at the right distance from each other and then we had to fasten them to the wall of the shed to hold them in place temporarily. We decided to put in every 4th rib using this method so that the vessel would have shape and so that we could put on the lateral supports (harpens- I'm not actually sure how to spell that.)which fairs out the schooner so that when the rest of the ribs go in we can just steam them and have a day when a bunch of interested workers can come and just place them without having to use the steel jig. They can just be held in place and bolted right on the vessel.
All of the harpens are in place now and what we were doing in the fall was adjusting the ribs to sit in the correct places and making sure that the water line was sitting properly on the ribs. If not we had to adjust the ribs to suit- you can't change the water line, right.
Misfortune has a way of rearing its head at the most inopportune times. We were moving a shed from a piece of land to bring it back home when Warren got his feet tangled in some old brambles and blackberry bushes and fell forward. He couldn't get his feet out ahead of himself and so put his arm out to catch himself. An ambulance ride, dislocated elbow and a couple of days later he was home and ready get go again. Unfortunately,his arm had other plans and so he had to hold off for 6 weeks.We had to drain the steam box so that the water wouldn't freeze and split the tank. The healing of the arm took us through to Christmas. In January we started to build blocks for the vessel because it is quite cold in the shed (it's unheated) and Warren's arm needed to have a little time to get back into shape. Winter is a great time to do the things that can be done in the basement where it's warm. All is good.

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