Okay! let’s talk for a minute on other projects going on at the Garage.
Project 1- First, the sailboat mast. I have been slowly restoring a sailboat besides the one I have in the water, and it is nearly finished. Lucky Girl is my current sailboat, and she needs a companion, so we are building a Southcoast 21, and it is turning out beautifully. However, when we painted the boat- I had my boating buddy Joe doe the fiberglass and paint work- we did not paint the mast or boom. Now, I have painted before, and used a paint gun with a compressor- but not very often and someone else set the machine and paint gun and mixed the paint for me while they supervised. This time, I did it myself. A friend of mine came in as a partner on this boat, and he has been pushing me to get it all done because he wants to take it out. So, I thought this would be good preparation for the painting episode. Dan, my flying buddy and owner of Tri-Star Aviation loaned me his spare compressor and a hose and his paint gun- so there I was, all alone and ready to paint. My partner on the boat was there but he did not know how any of this works, so there we were, the blind leading the blind. I mixed the paint- we used Awlgrip- a popular paint for boats. It is expensive, is a 2 part paint, and you cannot go to a normal paint store to buy it. “Professional Use Only” I think it says on the can. So, today we became professionals. I mixed the paint, put it through a paint filter, and put it in the sprayer. Gulp. Here we go. Mind you, I used the safety gear- especially a respirator and it went very well! I found that working with a proper spray gun is much easier then working with a spray can. Beside the fact that you finger gets sore holding the button down on the spray can, I think it is because the can has a very small nozzle, and you have to go over the area a million times and it is hard to get it to look right. By the time it looks right, you blink and the whole mess starts to run and drip. The 2 part paint seems to hang a flash off (start drying) before it drips- but also it doesn’t dry all the way, so it seems to level itself out. Let me see if I can get our paint supply company to get in here and give us a better explanation. Also, the paint gun is easy to paint with. Besides the trigger being easy to pull, the spry pattern is much bigger, so you can lay light coats on and build up the paint nicely with just enough dry time on between to make it dry enough to not drip, but not so much that the new coat can now merge with it making the surface smoother and glossier. It was really fun to see it come together. Good tools and paint made it so much easier than I expected, but I am not ready to go painting cars and airplanes- not just yet anyway! So, I feel much more comfortable taking on the painting of the DB tractor, and showing it to you on air. Not all went according to plan though. I did not put quite enough hardener in the paint, and it took about 4 days to dry enough to handle it. During those 4 days a few bugs and some dirt got into it- very frustrating. But is was not so much as to warrant a re-do, and a little polish will take care of that.
Project 2- Gardening! In Texas, it is time to start the vegetable garden. We may have a few frosts, so my brother Miles the horticulturist says to start the seeds indoors now, and by the time they are ready to go outside it should be fine- any time after Feb 20 or so is good for us on the Gulf coast. Now, you may be thinking- Steve, the tractor is not ready, how are you going to plant? Very observant, Grasshopper. Well, 2 things- 1. I already planted a test plot of barley and rye grains on 1/1/12. I turned over a small area with my shovel, about 6′ by 12′. They are growing very nicely. 2, I have a friend that wants a garden so I went to her house and helped her plan the garden, and get the seeds started. She borrowed a rototiller from a friend, and is going to try it that way. It is one of those weed whacker attachment jobbers we were not at all impressed with, but I will let her wrestle a little with it. (In reality, once she sees how hard it is to handle, I will probably be over there doing it for her, but don’t tell her just yet.) I hope we don’t wear the thing out trying to get the garden tilled. Ultimately, this is why we are doing the David Bradley garden tractor project. I better get it done and soon! Stay tuned and go through the whole process with us.
Project 3- My aunt gave me a wood lathe that belonged to my late uncle. It is a huge, heavy antique thing that is just wonderful and made in America. I am repainting it and tuning it up while the weather is cold and we are waiting for DB parts to come in.
Project 4- A friend of mine Monica was out riding bikes with her girlfriends and came across an abandoned derelict Glastron motor boat. She had visions of speeding around on the lake with her friends, water-skiing and fishing. She started to take pictures of it and one of her friends said ‘hey, call Steve and see if he will help you fix it up! He will know what to do.’ Fuel on the fire, folks- fuel on the fire. So, what do you think? Should we rebuild a motorboat on The American Garage? This past weekend, I went out there with her and looked it over. As any derelict, it is in rough shape. But, the fiberglass of the hull and deck are solid and have no blistering- a good sign. it is full of water, telling me that it does not leak, also a good sign. But everything else is gone. Inside floor ribs will have to be replaced, the floorboards too. upholstery, and all the hardware. Plus we will need a motor and a trailer. But, as I was telling her- the nice thing about it is that if you decide to go forward with it, you get to pick the colors, materials, and equipment that you want. In essence, we would be building a new boat. She is thinking it over, and I am trying to determine what it will take to get it done. But folks, this is exactly the kind of can-do attitude we are looking for. I have been asking people to come up with project ideas, and this one has a lot of potential. Come on now, dear reader, get into the mix and put your comments in. What do you think?