Back in the Saddle Again

Building a boat may not compare entirely to riding a bronco, but the truth is that you can get bucked off of either one, especially if it’s your first rodeo.  To get from dumb to smart or from rookie to pro, a certain amount of education is needed, in proportion to the complication of the task at hand.

Occasionally this comes from school, but much of life just grows out of the hard knocks that come along the way.  It has been said that to avoid mistakes, you need experience.  But to get experience you have to make mistakes.

Consequently, this reminds me that I will never take a fresh baked cookie from a countable row, throw rocks at a hornet’s nest, fail to mix gas and oil for a two stroke mower, cut toward my hand with a sharp knife, shift my ten speed with a frisbee in my hand, start slalom skiing with one foot out of the boot, or hitch hike on the interstate . . . ever again.

The pain makes those events memorable and instructive. There is a high cost of education, especially if you are inclined to reinvent the wheel.  But since not all interesting roads in life come with directions, sometimes we must just go exploring.

Below is the shelf of many hours of lost efforts, the painful falling off.  There are the front seat support frames that got shortened once too often because you are supposed to sit in a speed boat and not on it.  They became prototypes only to help the next parts.  This made the pretty mahogany curved parts not fit either. This is a small representation of the patterns, practice pieces and scraps that never made it on the boat.

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You can see the two blocks on the upper shelf that had to be cut out of the boat framework to lower the back seat.  Lots of time was spent fitting the parts, dowelling them together, and bonding them with epoxy.  The lost time is a regret, but the story they tell is still a thing of beauty with the white oak, yellow cedar and birch dowels.  Maybe I will finish them up as paper weights.

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So we carry on. The current assignment is to make places for all of the interior hardware and the wires, cables, and tubes to connect them.  Below is the battery box, mounted near the front to help solve the expected weight balance problem.

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Here is the channel carved out to hold the gas fill tube going from the port side deck down to the belly tank.  The tube is fairly rigid and must be allowed to take a long, gentle curve.

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Next is the new layout for the front seat, at the proper height, so I can soon fit the control box and throttle handle at elbow height.

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After abandoning the original support braces, I made these new ones.  They are shorter, stronger, and will allow easy removal for gas tank access and below floor repairs.  They are held down by the stainless steel bolts which go into brass threaded inserts drilled and screwed into the long frames.

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Commitment is what keeps a person successfully moving forward.  Dick and Vel Eiswalt have been inspirational examples of this style of living, as any couple celebrating 65 years of marriage must be.  From California to Indiana, Minnesota and back, they have faithfully followed God and lived the adventure.

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I would love to have taken a ride in the speedboat Dick built fifty years ago.  With a V-8 car engine, it was the fastest on the St. Joe River and capable of spraying a rooster tail from the dock onto the lawn.  Below is his son Don driving in front of the Eiswalt home.

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This last stretch of boat building has seemed like errors and trials, and doing interior work that is slow and will not be seen. But I am not lost anymore and I feel like I am back in the saddle again.

Life is like that too.  God promises to bless a life of faith, making a good path through sometimes difficult circumstances.  This is redemption, described in one of my favorite songs  “And Now My Lifesong Sings” by Casting Crowns.
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