I’ve been meaning to introduce the new shop tool I got last fall. I got mighty sick and tired of trying to get some sort of accurate adjustment out of my flimsy router table and ancient Sears router. So I went ahead and invested in a Grizzly shaper. Wow, what a great tool. Very easy to adjust precisely, a rich whir instead of an ear-splitting scream, and quite affordable. I think the additional money that I will spend on big bits will be more than saved on their strength and longevity. Not to mention saving me from more tantrums. I put a few featherboards on it to keep things running tight and true without having to resort to a big feeder apparatus.
This evening I mixed up a big batch of my latest rendition of boat soup / LTV / oil-stain: A very nice varnish (Pettit Flagship), a good boiled linseed oil, a nice–if expensive–aromatic balsam turpentine, and some really nice kiln-burnt pine tar. The latter two ingredients are from American Rope and Tar, and oh my god do they smell nice. Definitely worth the price if you like that kind of shit. And I got to thinking as I saturated the the understory of the boat, that these boats I so enjoy building should not just perform nicely and look lovely–they should also feel nice to the touch, sound sweet and solid when you thump them, and… they should even smell delicious. Those of us that had the joy of rowing original Briggs dories in Grand Canyon in the ’70s and ’80s are still brought nearly to tears by the nostalgic smell of the Port Orford Cedar that the boats were framed in and which permeated their hatches. And which I use today not only for its fine woodworking qualities, limberness, and decay resistance, but for its wonderful odor.
The hatches of the Rio Rojo will start out with a distinct odor of turp and pine tar, and as years go by, come to be more dominated by the Port Orford. What fun to think about.
Now… how to make the boat taste good.