We have been making storage spaces for the boat that are small, handmade by us, and unique in the world. Just like a jar of artisanal small-batch pickles. So even though the spell checker on this computer does not think that “artisanal” is a word, it is! Artisans are alive and kicking, and things that they make are artisanal.
Getting on with it. Here is a run down of two recently installed projects that I have been working on for a while.
First project: Radio Box II.
We have two radios on the boat: a shortwave radio, for which I made a box that I described in an earlier post, and a handheld VHF radio. Of course, both need special places to live. So I made a little box for this radio as well. The design echoes the binocular box that Kasy made last year. As much as we like diversity, we thought that the similar design would lend some continuity to the scene.
So to start from square one, here are the pieces for the extremely simple box, cut out of a long piece of mahogany. The box just has two sides, a bottom, and two front bars, with no back. The picture on the right shows the side pieces being cut out and shaped. I did this with a jigsaw first to remove most of the material, followed by a hand file and sandpaper.
I shaped the side pieces together so that they would be as identical as possible, only separating them to slightly break the sharp edges. For the two front pieces, I beveled the edges with a hand file and smoothed them down with sandpaper. When all the pieces were roughly shaped, I clamped the sides and the bottom together and balanced the front pieces on top to preview the piece.
Then it was time to drill all the holes to attach things together. Since this box is so simple, there were only eight holes to drill: four to attach the side pieces to the bottom piece, and four to attach the front pieces onto the sides. Here it is screwed into place, ready to be dry fitted.
After dry fitting, it was time to countersink the screw holes. For readers with limited woodworking vocabulary, this means creating a cylindrical space so that the screw head is hidden inside the wood instead of sitting on the surface. Since the screw is allowed to go further down, it also can penetrate further into whatever piece it is being attached to. The cylindrical hole created can then be filled with wood plugs. The whole process thus strengthens the joint and hides the metal hardware from sight. Below you can see the drillbits and the countersink bit I used for this piece.
Here you can see the box with the wood plugs all glued in. After the glue was dry I sawed and chiseled the plugs until they were flat with the surface.
Here’s what she looks like after sanding the plugs flat so they blend with the wood. I used a fine wood file and sandpaper to put the final bevels on the edges and blend everything together.
After 3 coats of varnish, here is the finished box on our extremely messy work bench. Note the Solo cup.
So now it’s time for the second project… hanging gear nets! Gear nets on boats usually look kind of like these pictures below. They are catch-all storage spaces that could easily end up looking really lumpy and weird (we think.) Also they rock all over the place.
We wanted to make something better that would last longer and blend in with the aesthetic of the rest of the boat. So I made wall-mounted gear nets, one large one and one small. They have a rope drawstring to tie everything in place.
I didn’t do a great job documenting all of the steps of this one. But basically it’s also very simple. I made the back of the bag first, out of the same green marine canvas. Then I cut out the net and sewed it into a strip of canvas.
Then I cut out two lengths of rope for the drawstring and sewed the ends into the side seams. I tucked the mesh into the side seams, allowing for some give so that we could fit more things in the pocket. Then I added grommets to all the edges of the piece, which had the bonus effect of reinforcing the seams that hold the net. I also added grommets to the front canvas strip and wove the ropes through the holes until they met in the middle.
And thats a wrap! Here are more plant and boat photos for you. Now we are off to enjoy the sunshine.