Breaking a Few Eggs (with Friends)

You know the old adage, "You've got to break a few eggs if you want to make an omelet."  Well the same is true if you want to enjoy the other great half of sailing...building stuff yourself.
An essential ingredient with every project is a group of good friends.
I have several that I consult with because...well...two or three heads are better than one and, more importantly, it's a whole lot more fun.
My friend, Mark, is long on experience with things going bad.  As he likes to put it, "If things can go wrong, they will go me!"
My friend, Bob, captain of the Sir Elidor, is great with ideas but as he likes to put it, "You spend all the money and let me know how it works out!"
My friend, Rich, is...a great crewman.  He ground me by saying things like, "You are crazy man!  Whatever made you think that would work?"
And, of coarse, there is my dear wife, Mrs. Mumphy. She is always friends encouraging, optimistic, and my sole mate. You can read about her in The Rum Barrel.
From left to right: Bob S, Jamie G, Rich F, and MOMM (Me Olde Mate Mark!).  Jamie is the Skipper of the Anna Maria Sophia II.
To the left is the Olde Skipper sitting back and letting the Auto Pilot do the work!
So armed with a great idea and a willing group of friends you can do just about anything! 
  ...where do you go next?
Well, let me tell you a little story first.
I was the systems design engineer at the NBC affiliate in Detroit for 25 years.  During my tenure I learned a few tricks along the way.  I was responsible for most of the new installation projects at the station, from Control Room redesigns, to Master Control room layouts to News Room and Production Room Editing Systems.  My last project at the Station was to design the High Definition installation.  I completed the paper work but retired at about the half-way point in the actual installation.
I say all this because you might think that all this experience would make me fearless but, I assure you, every time I point a drill bit at the Christopher-Jin, I say to myself...and sometimes out loud, "I hope I don't screw this up!!!"
So...take a deep breath, shake it all out, or scream at the top of your lungs...whatever it is that you do to loosen up...and let's get started.
Before You Begin a Project


If you decide to take on any of the projects listed on this site or one of your own, I have a few suggestions.


1.    Plan, plan, plan.

A.    Make a list on paper of every step you will have to take in order to complete the project.

B.    It doesn't matter if it's the correct order to start, just get every step down on paper.  Write down everything you can think of.  Why?  Because I guarantee you that there is something you will forget.  So the more you put down on paper the more likely the forgotten item will be small.

C.    Organize your plan.  Now you can get every step in the correct order.

2.    Make a materials list...of everything you will need to complete the project.

A.     Everything!!!  And don't forget the little things

1)    like sandpaper

2)    Plywood

3)    Glue

4)    Epoxy

5)    screws

6)    Keep vinegar and paper towels handy.  Vinegar will clean up epoxy before it has set.

3.    Have a bag of regular tools standing by.  See Tools Aboard Ship.

A.    I have several bags of tools for various projects.

1)    Electrical tool box – for working around the boat or house

2)    Electronics tool box – for working on electronic projects at home or on the boat.

3)    Boat tool bag.  Always on the Christopher-Jin.

4)    General tool bag.

5)    Woodworkers tool tote

6)    Special tools bag.  This is a simple empty tool bag large enough to carry stuff like a palm sander, the Dremel tool, tap and die set…whatever is needed for a specific job.

4.    Make a list of any special tools you will need for the project.

A.    Small sander

B.   Dremel tool

C.   Palm sander

D.   Drill bits

E.   Pencil

F.   Tape

G.   Mixing cup

H.   Work gloves

I.    Stir stick.  There is nothing like pouring a batch of 5 minute epoxy and then realize you do not have a stick around to mix the batch.  Believe me I've been there!  There is nothing worse than to sacrifice your favorite screwdriver because you didn't plan. 
J. Vinegar.  Always, when you are working with epoxy, have a jug of vinegar and paper towels handy.  Vinegar will dissolve and cleanup wet epoxy.
Now, head on over to the Project Gallery and take a look around.  It's a good posibility that what you are thinking of doing, is all ready there.