Friday, August 5, 2011

Captain hook

I have tagged this with the 'carpentry' tag, but given the quality of the other projects with this tag, it hardly qualifies.  Nevertheless, it did involve wood working.  Wood butchery, actually.

If you follow our sister blog, you might recall that a year ago we broke our boathook in an attempt to moor at Flagler State Park on Marrowstone Island.

Yes, I know that an entire year has elapsed.  I have no (believable) excuse for the delay.  So I am not going to try to make one.  I am a slacker.

The end of the mahogany pole had been formed to fit the inside of the old bronze casting (the actual hook).  However it was soft (Huh.  Maybe that's part of the reason it broke...), and didn't really fit the inside of the new casting, so I cut it off and got a fresh start on sound wood.

Shaping the end to fit the inside of the casting was not complicated, and no fancy tools were used - I did this on the dock using a wood chisel.  It took a while and raised some blisters on my fingers, but in the end I got a nice snug fit.  People have a tendency to presume that power tools are required for this kind of thing.  Not so - remember all the wonderful wood work that was done before real power tools were invented.  But I freely admit that having some kind of giant pencil sharpener would have been a great boon to my fingers, and to the clock.

The casting is retained on the wood pole by means of a single screw, inserted into the side of the casting.  In order to make the attachment a little stronger, when I drilled the pilot hole into the wood for the screw, I allowed the drill bit to pass part way into the bronze (but not thru it) on the far side of the countersunk hole.  Then I chose a screw long enough to pass thru the wood and engage that hole on the far side of the casting.  In this way, the screw is supported on both ends against a pull on the casting.

Since there was rot on the old end, I decided to seal this one off tightly using epoxy.  I mixed up some and applied it to not only the wood end, but I also pushed some into the screw pilot hole.  I didn't want this to be an entry point for water, and thus a starting point for rot.

In the picture, you see things just after assembly with the uncured epoxy;  the tape is there to keep epoxy off of the outside of the casting.  A fresh coat of Interlux Brightsides white completed the job.

Now that I have a boat hook again, I will finally have the means to try out the Happy Hooker!

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