Mopelia, day nine, wood shop class
26 October 2020
Mopelia day 9, September 27.
Lisa mentioned to Magali that I would teach the girls to make dovetail boxes. We got a call on the radio this morning asking if I was ready for the lesson. Fortunately, I had prepared the stock for their boxes the night before. I have some rough planks of Pis Pis wood on board. Pis Pis is really the Polynesian name for this light weight wood. The closest North American species would be basswood or butternut. It would be easy for the girls to work with. But first I had to saw the rough pieces to width and resaw to the correct thickness. Resawing by hand is a lot of work. The saw cut must be accurate or the planks are quite uneven. They are always come out far less than perfect. My hand planes did a good job of making the planks flat and uniform thickness. It filled the cockpit with shavings too.
Anouk and Alize arrived at nine. First, we had a discussion about the Golden Ratio. This is a ratio of about 1 : 0.6 that is commonly found in nature. Early builders found using this ratio when designing structures or furniture was pleasing to the eye. The girls had to perform an algebra problem to determine the dimensions of their box, using the golden ratio and ½ meter of wood they had at their disposal.
They eagerly attacked the wood with my router plane to cut the grooves for the top and bottom plywood. Then they sawed the plank to lengths for the front, back and sides. These were squared up on the shooting board with a block plane. Finally, the dovetail cuts could begin. We examined completed boxes and determined how the dovetails would be cut. Three hours later, the dovetails were cut. That was quite a lot of work so we decided to end the lesson for the day.
Lisa returned from a beach walk with the ladies with of all things, more shells! She is loading Uproar for the shipment back to the US. She hopes to make some concrete sculptures, using the shells for accent and decorations. We will pack Uproar with hundreds of pounds of shells. After all, the shipping is not going to cost us any additional. I'm going to shop back some local lumber as well.
A previous visit to Norma brought up discussions of ships that had wrecked on Mopelia. Norma had a bottle full of ballast stones from an ancient Spanish ship. These were small, smooth stones that had been polishing in the surf for over 100 years. They appear to be granite or marble, certainly not a local stone which is either volcanic or sedimentary, limestone. Lisa found the beach at the south end littered with these stones. There can be no mistaking that these are ballast stones from a wreck. She collected a dozen more. She also found some iron parts encrusted with coral that appear quite old. We will research this further. It would be interesting to learn more about this hapless Spanish ship.
We had a quiet dinner of duck magaret with vanilla sauce and fried potatoes with onions and tumeric. We fell asleep halfway through the hilarious movie, Pricilla.