Thursday, August 11, 2011

Who is that masked man?

Please welcome new contributor Bob of m/v Brave Spirit!  Bob is a wood worker.  One of the things I have noticed about wood workers is that they seldom like to build one-offs.  It seems that the first step in many wood working projects is the construction of templates and jigs - so you can do it again.  In fact, wood workers are tool makers - a high profession.

So how does that tie in here?  Well, Bob had stripped the teak caprails on Brave Spirit down to bare wood, and was faced with masking off 34 stanchion bases, first for polysulphide sealant, and then for varnish.  But unlike you and I, Bob set about this the way a wood worker would.

He made templates for cutting the masking tape.  First he cut holes in a sheet of 3/16" Plexiglas that were slightly larger than the stanchion bases.  And then in a second sheet of Plexiglas, he cut holes of a size to accommodate the stanchion pipes. 

It works like this:  stretch a couple or three pieces of masking tape over one of the large holes.  Using a sharp knife, cut out the masking tape circle against the edge of the Plexiglas.  Now, what you have still on the Plexiglas is a perfect form for masking off the caprail for application of the polysulphide.  The masking tape circle that you cut out?  Well, that gets centered over one of the small holes and gets its center cut out, making a donut perfectly suitable for masking off the stanchion base itself.  Like this (only in this picture, Bob has already applied the polysulphide and pulled the tape off the caprail):

But there's more.  Bob bought some cheap plastic scrapers and re-contoured them to make the polysulphide fillets clean, even, and identical:

Now that's what I mean when I say that wood workers are tool makers!

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