Old Sound, New Wood

Perhaps it is nostalgia or maybe a tight wallet, but I’ve taken a small interest in “vintage” stereo equipment. It is surprising how fast we cast off technology. “But it doesn’t have WiFi, Bluetooth, etc”.  I know, and I do like the depth of music Spotify has given me (I trust the artists are justly compensation. They signed on, so I assume so). However, I do feel I’m somewhat of a hold out. I remain unconvinced that digital sounds better. There is a harshness to my ear. As evidence, I offer Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Despite the occasional hiss or pop, vinyl simply sounds fuller on vinyl than CD. While playing Rock, this may be a difference without distinction.

Anyway, a couple weeks ago I picked up some vintage Fisher XP-55B speakers. They were packaged with a Harman Kardon “One Thirty” receiver which had a hum in the left speaker channel, but not the headphones. Nonetheless, I wanted the speakers and $15 seemed more than fair. Maybe the stereo can be easily fixed. I’m guessing it is a ground problem.

Back in the ’60’s, before the mass production of stereo equipment, Fisher produced quality speakers in line with KLH or Wharefdale. The company was sold to Emerson in 1969 and later to Sanyo.

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This pair was made in Long Island City, NY and in good mechanical condition, nothing blown and good woofer foam. Some use was evident in the roughed up faux wood veneer edges. I liked their easy clear midrange sound and decided to dress them up. The “veneer” was readily peeled off to reveal the particle board cabinets. Easing the cabinet edges with a rounding over bit removed barked up corners. Four coats of polyurethane, brass finish washers to hold on the grilles and I had “new” retro speakers. Wood pegs made good speaker stand offs. In combination with some Baby Advents for the highs, these speakers are a joy to listen to. Pat Metheney’s Watercolors and Bright Size Life rotated in the CD player (now more old school) and these speakers have proved themselves. Now I just need to get a fire going and kick back.

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The Gloucester Light Dory

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My daughter has notions of building a rowboat. I wonder where she got that idea? In an effort to help her find a simple and effective build, “Dynamite” Payson’s Gloucester Light Dory came to mind. I’ve seen the design several times in Maine and have been impressed with its docile qualities, simple construction, functional details and elegance. My daughter read the Payson’s “How to Build …” booklet yesterday. However, she didn’t know I’d decided to make her a model as a gift. No push is intended, but maybe it will remind the girl to follow her dream compass.

 

 

Doug Hylan’s Chesapeake Crab Skiff

Doug Hylan has a number of beautiful designs. Not the smallest, but certainly one of the prettiest, is this little 15′ plywood constructed skiff. Off Center Harbor featured the boat awhile back here. I built a 1/2 model … Go figure. This would be an excellent boat for teaching how to “simply mess about in boats”. I think I will. Get it?

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In the meantime, we have some more wall art.

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Now, back to work!! Slacker!

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Mikey Floyd’s “Salty Heaven”

This 17′ boat is one of several boats I mulled over before building UNA. Floyd really got some beautiful lines set here. She looks so workmanlike.

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Mikey Floyd in his “Salty Heaven”, the original boat.

No laps in the intended clinker construction in this 1/2 hull, but the grace still shines through. Could still be a project down the road. In the meantime I’ve some more wall art.

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Dare I Err?

When will it stop? The symptoms are consistent and persistent, indicating a severe case of “next boat” psychosis: a beautiful design catches the eye, offers a possible solution for some niche of boating I’d like to do or perfect. From there an infatuation develops quickly. Much studying and “rationalizing” time is spent. Once past those tests, I jump wholeheartedly … until, the next one comes along. How I’ve finished the boats I have built surprises me. Thank God there are far fewer lovely designs compared to the loads of uglies never to steal my time.

I was set on the Gartsides’ Lugger, had cut staves for the spars and shaped the boomkin. All was fine until I found he had posted a new design, the Ditch Witch, interesting in concept, but too small. However, it led me to taking another look at his Spartan II, a trailer capable cutter whose dimensions approximate those of the Lugger. Why me?!

To add fuel to the fire, Boat Design Quarterly reviewed the original Spartan. I ordered that issue, read and re-read the feature. Curiosity took hold. I then purchased study plans for Spartan II to which Mr. Gartside graciously added the lines plan allowing me to build another half hull matching the scale of the  Lugger for close comparison. A nice enough 2×6 pine board was found for the model’s lifts which were cut, glued, carved, and sanded fair. Details and rig were added.

 

 

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Here are some final model pics.

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This design is a beauty too. For a whole host of reasons, I’m torn between these 2 boats. As luck would have it the staves already cut for the Lugger can be used for the Spartan. I suspect the cutter is another 25% time investment to build. That wineglass Lugger transom is nice. The cutter has a group of sails that would be fun to play with and I bet she’ll plane. The simple Lugger is one I know and love. Her cockpit is more generous and no compression post in the cabin.

Geez! See what I mean?

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Framing Nailer Fun

About a month ago I spent a few days helping a friend resurrect his backyard shed that had burned to the ground. One day we used the tried and true 24 oz hammer to raise 3 of 4 walls. The following day the right “wing” was quite sore. On the next visit, a framing nailer was available for use. I knew it would be more efficient, but experiencing the difference was an enlightenment. The tool moved to the top of the wishlist. I searched for a deal. Got an Hitachi.

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We were quick with Project #1: more sawhorses. Made from 2×3’s, they’re sturdy and relatively light.

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Project #2: Mothers Day Adirondack chairs. Got tired of buying “disposable” plastic ones each year.

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Adirondack chairs. 2×4’s and 1x’s

With galvanized ring shank nails, these projects are darn near impossible to pull apart. How do I know? I measured twice, but should have thrice. Had to pry off one of the curved back horizontals. Tore it up. Wood dough is good. Primed and 2 coats of Rustoleum should keep these in service for years.

I now see all kinds of use for wood cut offs. Awesome tool!