28 May 2011

the real steampunks

For the past couple years,
a small crew of guys have been whittling away on this boat,
starting from the salvaged remnants of a half-sunken wreck.

We've been observing from afar until this contraption came into use.

21st century steampunk engine

This propane powered steam engine is powering this thing.

doesn't look like much from here

This is supposedly the largest or longest steam box on the west coast.
Most steam bending projects are alot smaller, like furniture pieces.
In addition,
most bent wood projects nowadays use thin plyable sheets of wood,
glued and clamped to a form, like a skateboard.
Most large architectural curves are made by the clamp and glue method.

long steambox

This project is a restoration of a 150 year old boat.
It had been partially submerged for 10 years.
Designed by Colin Archer, this is a Norwegian ice breaker,
the owner/builder, Thadeus, called it a Lister Skoyte.
(any further or refining info is appreciated!)

Colin Archer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Amazingly enough,
this particular boat has been through the polar ice cap twice.
It takes 3 years to get stuck,
and get pushed out the other side!

Fram - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As usual,
I did a little online investigation,
and found out that this was probably an early version of the Fram,
which had a design that allowed the hull to be frozen in the ice.
Instead of being crushed like a deep vertical hull,
the boat was bowled on the bottom and it would be lifted up by the shrinking ice.

cubic dollars

This steambox allows 2"thick pieces 12" wide, 20 feet long,
of cedar or oak, to be pliable enough to bend.
The hull is already 4" thick,
and the last longitudinal strips will add another 2" on top or 1" on bottom.

Anyway this thing was steaming away,
and I had just seen Thadeus get steamed in the face checking the wood!
(At that time I thought he was just a worker not the owner)

just a little hot

The second time he actually geared up with a welding jacket and mask,
and his crew was ready to go.

3 minute worktime

The piece had already been force clamped into position earlier,
and some positioning holes had been measured,
along with a rough top cut since the wood isn't actually a straight line.

sliding into position

The board is a noodle for about 3 minutes,
so work must be quick.

old techniques

The guys had set up a series of 4x4's and rope,
that are used to clamp the wood to the hull by twisting the rope.

almost there

This is there first thick board,
so the methods hadn't been perfected yet.
There are 22 more to get it right!

checking gaps

I'll try to get some more info on the boat,
as well as updates while we're working in the yard.
There is some amazing wood joinery in the deck and house to show.
Thadeus said there's at least a year to go.


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