Visit by John Homer

John Homer commented on the beautiful straps that were on my latest guideboat.  Indeed, when I looked at all the guideboats on exhibit at the Adirondack Museum I could find none that came even close to them in attractiveness.  Below is one of mine.

Guideboat strap used on my latest boat.

Guideboat strap used on my latest boat.

John wanted to find out where I got these great accessories for my boat.  I told him I had no idea since they were given to me by my neighbor, Diane, here in Long Lake.  Her husband, Dayton, was very fond of guideboats and planned to build two of them.  He started to acquire the things to do so, the fasteners, spruce roots, and horns and straps.  Sadly, before he could start building, cancer overtook him and his dream was never realized.  Diane, knowing I build this splendid craft, graciously gave me his trove of guideboat items.

John was disappointed that there was no known way to purchase the straps.  But that didn’t deter him. He said “I’ll cast my own if you lend me one of your straps”.  I thought “Wow, this is impressive.  Someone who can cast something like that”.

It turns out that John is a quite a creative guy who doesn’t shy away from a challenge like this.  He makes own hand tools like the ones below.

John's hand tools.

John’s hand tools.

John lives in Watertown, which enables him to spend a lot of time in the Adirondacks.  He built his own guideboat which he races in the fall 90 miler.  He makes paddles including a custom paddle for the 90 miler.  We will talk about that another time.

So John researched the process for making a pattern of my strap that could then be used into cast a replica of it.  So here is what is involved.  First you need material to make a mold of the original strap.  You then use the mold to make a pattern that, in turn is used for making the actual casting.

Here is the silicon rubber molding material.

Material to cast a pattern.

Material to make a mold of my strap.

It comes in two parts that are mixed together.  Here is John mixing the molding material.

John mixing the molding material.

John mixing the molding material.

The strap is then securely fastened into a box that will contain the molding material.  Before doing that the holes in the strap that receive the pins are sealed with clay.

Sealing the holes for the pins with clay.

Sealing the holes for the pins with clay.

Strap secured in the box.

Strap secured in the box.

The next step is to pour the molding material into the box to cover the strap by at least an inch or so.

Pouring the molding material into the box to cover the strap.

Pouring the molding material into the box to cover the strap.

The molding material needs to cure for at least six hours.  John took the setup with him so that could cast some patterns during the coming week.  Here is the material he used to make the strap pattern.

Resin for making a pattern.

Resin for making a pattern.

Here is one of the patterns he gave me when he returned.  it is truly an exact reproduction of my strap.

A strap pattern cast from the mold.

A strap pattern cast from the mold.

John made these patterns of horns used with pinned oars using the same process.

Patterns of horns used with guideboat pinned oars.

Patterns of horns used with guideboat pinned oars.

The next step is construct a foundry to cast the straps using the proper alloy.  John has researched that as well.  In his travels he found that a mini-foundry could be made from a 5 gallon metal pail.  So perhaps by next summer that will be a reality and we can cast some straps.

In the meantime, I will be at the Adirondack Museum from this coming Wednesday, August 24th to Saturday, August 27th as an Artist-in-Residence.  I will be demonstrating making guideboat paddles and talking about the history of using them to hunt and for just cruising around.  Come and see me if you are around.

Next time: guideboat for sale.

 

 

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