Last major step in the process of renovating my garage : create a proper workbench.
The specifications were simple : sturdy enough so I can hammer on it, or put a couple of complete engines on it; higher than standard benches since I'm tall and the usual benches just kill my back; precisely adjusted to the space available in the garage (I ain't got much space, so I can't afford to lose any); and obviously... As cheap as possible.
So, this has to be DIY, tailor-made... Moreover, the floor isn't perfectly flat, so every single foot rest of my workbench has a different length...
I've started with the two left and right end stands (made of of 62x75mm lumber), in order to have a proper level reference ; both are carefully aligned using this tool (basically a long piece of plastic tubing), works perfectly, and very accurate even with the long distance .
Once both of these stands are fixed into the walls, I could, using a long aluminium rule (actually, it was two 2 meter rules clamped together) in order to measure the exact length of each stand. Well, have a look at the pictures, you'll understand what I mean.
Stands are assembled using dowels and wood glue. I glue everything up clamping the whole assembly against a spare chipboard : pressing the assembly is done using a ratchet strap, while clamps make sure everything remains square and in the same plan.
The drawers are just wood boxes I found at Castorama (our french version of Home Depot, see these boxes here). Once you've removed the small wooden strip on their bottom (used to line'em up when you stack'em up), they slide perfectly on the bottom board (melamine chipboard 19mm).
On top of it all, a 58mm thick (maximum I could find) melamine chipboard kitchen countertop, and here you go!
I'd prefer a proper counter top made of an assembly of lerge lumber pieces, planed all together... But I don't have the room, nor the time, to go into such a project. That'll wait till I have a real workshop!
I've modified the lights above the workbench, compared to the original plan : the halogen lights tended to dazzle more than actually light up the bench. Plus, they would have been in the way if I want to store lrge stuff above (and since I have a project for that...).
The 4 bottom metal cases I found in the trash bin (seriously, there were 50 of them, brand new!), and luckily they just fit below the drawers. Below the vice, you can see the VW engine support, fixed on the side of the wooden stand.
Phew, good thing it's done, I started to have enough with that renovation!
I know, my garage looks more like a lab now, it's quite far from what it looked like in the beginning (Click here the "workbench" before : ), but I like to work in a clean, well ordered environment. Yeah, probably some OCD as well, hmm. And now finally I'll be able to work on some real projects...
I can't remember how many times I've been asked for the plans of my RC submarine... But the trick is, I never made any plans!
But I finally decided to make some, so after some efforts with a caliper on one hand, andSketchup in the other, here is the result!(and it was a good challenge for my Sketchup skills! )
The synthetic plan is available as pictures below, you can as well download it as PDF, or even download the complete Sketchup model, everything is designed down to the 1/10th of millimeter!
Quite a big update about the Albatross today : it's going forward, finally!
To begin with, in early June I moved her to my workshop (which I recently refurbished) : I had to install a tow ball on Blue Toad, my VW Rabbit, with which I really have moved everything.
Anyway, the Pacha is finally in a place where I can take care of her, with light, room... Me likey!
I've started working on the engine; not that many surprises for now : cylinders look clean, valves aren't seized.
In the other hand, the water inlet tube tube at the bottom of the block crumbled in pieces in my hand, rusted out. Same thing for the brass water tube that diverts part of the water water flow from main gallery towards valve chambers, totally destroyed by oxidization. Well, I'm not too concerned, these parts are available at Small Ford Spares...
But it looks like bits of metal went through the cooling circuit, which the water pump did not appreciate : its impeller lost several teeth in the battle. I'll have to take care of it, but again it shouldn't be an issue, all parts are available : impeller only, repair kit, or full pump exchange, everything's possible. I will also need a new flywheel, this one suffered from the extended stay in water.
I also got my hands on the spare engine Fred kept for me (thanks for your patience buddy!), I'm pretty sure I can make one good engine out of these two.
Getting the engine out of the hull was easier than I thought. The small 100E block isn't that heavy... With the help of a friend (thanks David), it came out pretty easily.
The tricky part was to take the prop shaft out of the engine. A wedged assembly, corrosion, concretions on the shaft, et a big brass nut (which you must handle with care because fragile!), and you've got the perfect recipe for a headache.
Finally, by following BN's advices (from the OldSpeedBoats forum), a couple of clamps, a heavy hammer and some patience were enough to free the engine from the shaft.
The next challenge will be to take the rudder out, since its nut is not only rusted but as well pretty much inaccessible... And it must go, unless the prop shaft won't leave either.
I think I'll take the hull to sandblasting, but to prevent the blaster from using excessive air pressure (which would buckle the aluminium panels), I want to bring the boat already scraped from most of the bondo+paint layers currently covering it. It's a slow process ; the heat gun is a great tool for that.
In order to sandblast the hull, it also needs to be totally bare from any accessories. Everything must go! So I keep unscrewing stuff... Which is far from easy, since the 100 stainless steel screws had a galvanic reaction with the aluminium hull!
Each one of them is like "welded", and it's a renewed challenge every time to take them out. Any method is good : WD40, impact screwdriver, heat gun, hammer, pneumatic grinder... But at the end of the day, the one that gave the best results is using vise-grips, very tightly tighten on the inside part of the screw (once the nut is removed). Then, with a small back-and-fort movement, the screw gives in... But it take a solid 10mn per screw, and I count 60 of'em just from the aluminium rail around the hull!
And you'd better not be claustrophobic : to get access to the front compartment, you need to crawl under the dashboard (being 6ft tall doesn't help, believe me), then slide head first into a 35cm (13.7") hole all the way to the waist ; my shoulders don't even fit in that hole, I need to pass one after the other, with razor-sharp edges all around, no room for my arms, no breathable air... Even though I'm not claustrophobic, I must admit that one night, alone at 1AM, stuck into that compartment, I wasn't feeling that comfortable.
By the way, I made a funny discovery : a series of numbers, handwritten with a lead pencil right below the rivets of the front compartment. I guess these are the riveting order, as written there by an Albatross Marine employee in 1957. And when I see how "easy" it is to get there, I wouldn't be surprised if I was the very first to see that since the boat was built. Touching, no?
So, that's where I've arrived! I often spend my evenings there ("I'm doing my Jethro", kudos to the one who gets the reference), therefore there's actual progress. I hope I'll get it bare by the end of the month, to get it sandblasted. To be continued soon!
Hey, it's been a while since I posted a pin-up here!...
I use the occasion to post you this great link on the website The Atlantic : a fantastic series of pictures from WWII, in color and hi-def, from which I took the one on the right (a girl working on a B17 bomber's nose).
As usual, many thanks to you all for your loyalty and kind messages... See you soon on ShamWerks!
OK, first thing, if you've never tried before, painting concrete blocks is Hell on Earth. Specially after 50 years of dust encrusted in...
I've painted the walls using a paint which actually is a primer... But it's way white enough for a garage. Plus, it was on a special offer.
So, white acrylic paint Jullien "Multifond 2" it will be.
I sprayed the first coat using an HVLP gun, diluting by 50% (that's border-line for the cohesion of the paint, be it works). The spray-gun is quite handy for the first coat, it gets the paint in every hole/asperity of the blocks, it blows away the dust (still remains lots of it even I thoroughly brushed the wall before - wear a dust mask!) and removes the small loose grit from the surface (these gravels would f*ck up your paint roller in 2 sec. if your try it directly...).
The second coat is applied with a paint roller end blocks the concrete from sucking in more paint. Finally, a third coat to make it shiny white, with the roller loaded to the max with paint (almost like a plaster coating!).
Eventually, 2 and a half 10L paint container will be necessary to cover the surface of 45m² (484 sq ft : walls + ceiling), while each paint pot was supposed to cover 96m² (1033 sq ft)! Didn't I tell you concrete blocks suck paint? (...and suck at painting!)
It's long, very long to paint that bloody thing if you want a bright, pristine white result...
Act 2 : floor...
My floor was covered with greasy/oily dirt (see previous article), and I decided to clean it using a concrete grinder. The idea behind this is to remove the top 1mm from the concrete surface to get rid of any oil stuck in... I've rented the machine at "Loxam" (picture below).
To be perfectly honest, it was probably not the best solution. You can not imagine the amount of dust that beast will generate : after less than a minute of use, I couldn't see past my elbows! I couldn't even see my hands! Plus, that very fine dust goes everywhere, including the whole building basement and my neighbours garages... Hence heavy complains from them, it was Armageddon!
And, I discovered that the floor of my garage wasn't perfectly flat, and the grinder can not get into these shallow areas... At the end of the day, I managed to clean 90% of the whole surface. Fair enough, but I'm still unsure it was worth the hassle.
After that, treatment was :
Acid cleaning ("Shampooing sol ciment/béton V33"), using a floor-cloth.
Rinsing with floor-cloth too (twice).
One coat of special primer : "primaire d'adhérence spécial ciment/béton V33".
Finally, two coats of V33 floor paint : "peinture sol V33 trafic extrême gris clair U133/A".
And here is the result :
Act 3 : electricity...
I am not an electrician, but I believe I managed not too bad...
4 fluorescent lights on the ceiling, 3 halogens above the workbench, the whole circuit wired with rigid 2.5mm² wire in PVC conduits (with helluvalotta bends and "T"'s!), 3 outlets, 2 switches, and a real electric cabinet with circuit breakers to make it safe.
Phew! Voilà the current status : that's day and night compared to what it was before! Bright, clean, with plenty of storage space. Still looks a bit messy on the pictures, I didn't have the opportunity to organize everything!
Compared to the original Sketchup plan (see previous article), I've moved the tools panel to the side wall : it's more practical, access is easier this way than if it was above the workbench as originally planned.