The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men

The title of this blog comes from the pen of the famous Scottish poet, Rabbie Burns.  The actual line from his poem “To a Mouse” is “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft agley”, or, in slightly more modern English, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”.  Which is what is going to happen this weekend.  We had laid plans for a weekend of sailing starting on Friday with a flex day off work, however, I am typing this in the middle of a thunder storm and the weather forecast for the weekend doesn’t show much improvement.  Time for Plan B – which is the old standby of boatwork at home.  Which in this case is a bit of varnishing, more work on the saloon cushions and cut out the lower washboard.

The last blog described how my woodworking skills are woefully lacking and this is the opportunity to try and improve them.  In a recent discussion about woodworking, I was advised to buy high quality tools.  Not the cheap $100 jigsaws from Korea that you get at Bunnings or similar places, but high quality tools that last a lifetime.  I have a jigsaw at home that was given to me, and I think it was a real cheapie.  Past experiences with it have demonstrated that it can cut a wavy line very well.  In fact, it won’t go anywhere near the straight pencil line drawn onto the piece of plywood.

Taking this excellent advice on board, I have purchased a new jigsaw and a circular saw along with one of those folding work benches.  In another blog that I have recently read, the author was actually doing reviews on pieces of equipment that they had purchased for their boat.  In an effort to make my own blogs more frequent, I thought I might do the same.  As I buy bits and pieces, I will do a review and describe my experiences with them and whether or not the handing over of my hard earned cash was worthwhile, or whether it was a waste.

The bits of woodworking kit that I purchased was a Makita 4350FCT orbital jigsaw and a Makita 5007NK 185 mm circular saw.  $339 and $229 respectively.  There weren’t in the cheap handyman category by any stretch of the imagination.  Therefore, any woodworking projects that gang agley will not be able to be blamed on bad tools.


Once I have had a go at cutting out the bottom washboard I will duly report back via this blog.  Other woodworking projects in the pipeline are to make a wooden frame for a new VHF radio, a shelf in the dinette well as well as covering up the anchor chain locker with a piece of stained and varnished plywood and the trickiest one of all, a cover for the engine in the starboard quarter berth locker.  Because the YSE8 Yanmar engine is of a horizontal configuration, there is a big hole cut out in the locker so that the cylinder head can poke through.  Putting a cover over the hole, will allow the locker to be utilised for storage, as well as improving the sound proofing of the engine.  At the moment it is just wasted space.  It’s going to be tricky because I have to take the shape of the hull into account and try and cut out pieces of wood that will fit to the curvature of the hull.  Not sure how this is done but will cross that bridge when I come to it.

I have been watching the Youtube channel, The Sampson Boat Company, where Leo is restoring a 100 year old schooner called Tally-Ho.  Leo’s woodworking skills are just amazing, cutting out and fitting the intricate shapes of a wooden boat is no mean feat, and of course, he makes it look so easy.  I can only ever dream of getting to this level of skill with woodworking.  After we have caught up with his latest episode, I might explore Youtube for some lessons on cutting out shapes in plywood.  I daresay there will be stuff there relevant to boating projects.  We have found the Sailrite Channel quite invaluable, even though they are basically advertisements for their stuff.

When Monday morning dawns, will I have a new bottom washboard ready and waiting for La Mouette, or will I have to make another trip to Bunnings to buy more marine ply so that another attempt at the washboard can be undertaken?  The same guy that gave me the advice on buying quality tools also said that if you make a mess out of your job, just have another go, or another until you get it right.  The practice will be good for you.  Fortunately, I will be using plywood and not some expensive and exotic hardwood.  But more on that next time.

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