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by Dan Rogers - Diamond Lake, Washington - USA

I think it's a little like digging a hole with a hand shovel. No. Wait. It's exactly like digging a hole! You know, how when you get a ways down in the ground-about waist deep, maybe and need to make your hole still deeper, you have to basically FILL THE HOLE BACK UP. That's exactly what it looks like to the innocent bystander, anyway. You have to dig away from the sides of the hole. But, if you keep digging more dirt away from the sides of the hole, and piling it up in the middle; after a while it's hard to remember what the original mission was about. Time, to clean out the hole.

And so, there I seem to be. Awash with boat projects. The ones that have minds of their own. And, I ask you. Is there any other kind of boat project?

A really-smart guy once said to me. "If you find yourself in a hole. Stop digging!" A not-quite-as-smart guy answered him (that, would be me), "That's great advice. How come most all of the great advice around is gained AFTER IT COULD BE OF ANY USE?"

And, so it goes.

Unlike how The Lucas would portray our climate here in the Frozen Tundra of Almost Canada; there is only so much winter to go around. There's a lot of work to do, before I can be launching boats again. And, only just a few months available for that.

One of my favorite movie lines, turned aphorism, goes like this, "The latest from the [Roman] Coliseum: Lions-3. Christians-nothing." Thus, we embark on a basically metaphysical question. Is a worthy effort, "good enough?" Or, as another smart guy told me once, "If we don't fly by night. We don't fly at all." So there you have it

And, I'll bet you know somebody like that. I can't be the only closet-schitz out there, when it comes to being swayed by a lovely forefoot, let alone a sweet sheer. Certainly, the fellow who decides upon the ideal-boat, purchases plans and materials, sets up and follows the directions, and then launches his creation has much to offer. It must be really nice to be that well-ordered. It must be nice to be rich, and talented, and beautiful too.

So, first an admission. Yes, I do have too many boats. There, I said it. And, no. I don't feel any better for it. Besides, I already knew that. I knew that, long BEFORE I ended up with the latest "But, it followed me home. Can't I keep it?" project. I was just gonna' take the engine out of this old hulk, put it into another member of the fleet who has been waiting for a heart transplant, and send the carcass off to the landfill. Sure, I was.

So, how did that morph into a quarter-ton of Detroit Iron hanging on an engine stand awaiting a ring job, and another half-ton of fiberglass sitting on the building cart with piles of discarded chunks of rotted plywood stacked up for a dump run? How did the boat(s) who had moved to the top of the winter-projects-list find themselves back on their trailers and back in storage without any new holes drilled, fiberglass applied, or paint sloshed around? Now, you're sure you know somebody like that.

Well, that's pretty simple. A nice forefoot. ow di How can you euthanize a boat with a pretty bow? Besides, that engine is just too heavy, and long, and tall for the "original" purpose. But, it served the boat it was born with-apparently-quite well for the past half-century. Soooooooo.

All the rubble is out. There's a new engine mount/bilge pan and floor in. Made it out of ¾" MDO plywood stuck down with PL Premium and screws. All the crappy and crinkled padded vinyl stuff is pulled and peeled and scraped off the hull. There's a temporary coat of latex paint over the hull sides. The rusty gas tank is still occupying the bow-but there's always something waiting for inspiration.

The old floor was pretty crumbly and sagging. The ¼" thick steel angle iron will augment the new plywood substrate under that really-heavy Chevy six.

Today's job is to figure a way to both prop up the sagging side decks and create mounting points for hull ceiling strips.

No, of course not, the manufacturer did not "do" ceilings. But, I find that a boat becomes instantly "shippy" with the application of ceilings. This is what a prior patient looked like while on the operating table. The ceiling strips are ripped out of a pile of spruce 2x4's (for the cabin) and cedar 2x4's (for the cockpit), shaped on the router table, and "planed" with an orbital sander. The overhead is more of the cedar stuff. The cabin was built in-place, and by-eye out of plain old ACX. Then, the outside got covered with both tigerwood strips and a spruce overlay that got its yellow-ish tint from colored shellac. Somehow, the inside has been on-hold for about two years now. And, that floor overlay is a home brew combo of bamboo and spruce held together with TBII.

So, I still don't know if the current patient will leave the OR with a look and mission similar to the one she has had for 45 years. Like I was saying, it would be nice to be well-ordered; but certainly not quite as interesting. We could end up with a decked-over (and very "impractical") runabout resembling the ones the rich folks had way-back-when. OR. We could even end up with that Hankinson-derivative workboat profile that keeps me awake nights. Or, something else altogether. First, gotta go and get the side decks propped up. A girl's gotta' look her best. Even, when she's not really "dressed." Know what I mean?

A rather fetching forefoot stopped the sawzall, and started the here-we-go-again process.

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