Sunday, December 27, 2009

Scow status, December 27, 2009.

Went up to see the scow mid-afternoon today as I have not been to the construction site in some time. The tarped scow was under a lot of snow. It was -15 C (5 F) when the pictures were taken. The day was characterized by an icy fog the beautiful results of which can be seen on the tree branches in the background.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Perry was unable to do much more work on the scow after about November 10th, mostly due to weather and other priorities. Today (December 7th) it is definately winter here with bitterly cold lows of -33C! So no work will be done on the scow for some time now. We had a big blizzard and Perry says the scow is well and truly buried under a big snow drift but is safe under the big covering tarps. He might be able to do some small scale work in his work shop, but I think we can consider major construction on the scow suspended for at least 3 months. Over this time I will arrangle to have the scow tent constructed, crew tents made, get landowner permission to explore the badlands outcrops on their properties, give some public talks on the trip, buy some last supplies and equipment, and do a thorough census of all the tools and equipment for the trip which have been acquired over the past 6-7 years. These will be sorted by theme (i.e. kitchenware), brought together and boxed for the upcoming trip. Looks like we will leave in June, likely towards the end of the month so we can take advantage of snowmelt from the mountains and foothills. As much as I hate winter, I am hoping for one with lots of snow, so we have lots of water in the river for our trip.

Construction progress, November 6, 2009.

Perry has drilled the holes in the sides of the 4 sections which will hold the bolts that will hold the sections together.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Construction progress, November 1, 2009.

Yesterdays high was +18C (about 67F) so any sealant materials on the scow requiring final curing no doubt had their chance then. Perry is now well on his way installing the floatation foam. This very light white foam is exactly the same stuff used as packing material for stereo equipment, etc. It is also used for floating docks. The foam company erred a bit on the order making a bit more than we needed but making it in slightly smaller blocks than we wanted. So Perry is having to cut it up somewhat. Too much foam is a bonus as now we can fill the entire hull with foam and the top decking will hold it all down. You can see here how the foam stops about 3 inches (7.5 cm) below the top. The extra blocks can be cut into slabs 3 inches thick and placed atop the blocks of foam seen here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Construction progress, October 29, 2009.

The floatation foam was delivered on time and Perry has begun installing same. It is dark early in the evenings now and with Daylight Savings Time ending soon it will be darker even sooner. Perry has to work by floodlight. He had to cut the foam for the angled sections and it breaks apart easily into little crumbs which are full of static and stick to things such as the camera lens as seen here. A trip during daylight is scheduled for November 1st so better pictures will be available then. Very warm weekend + 17C on Saturday!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Construction progress, October 28, 2009.

Perry got the last of the internal waterproofing done last night so now we await the delivery of the foam.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Construction progress, October 27, 2009.

Last night Perry got the caulking all done on the inside seams. It was a relatively warm night and this was curing so well that he started the water sealing of the internal wood, and plans on having that finished tonight. The foam sections are to arrive at the scow's contruction site in a day or two, so Perry wants to be ready to install those.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Construction progress, October 26, 2009.

Today Perry began caulking the internal seams. He now has more water sealant to put on after the caulking has dried. We are starting to get close to the time when we will have to cease construction work, unless the weather holds. Plywood sheets here are just resting on the joists, they will be properly attached once the caulking, waterproofing, tiller supports and foam inserts are all done.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Scow update, October 22, 2009.

At a meeting last night, I got approval to buy the very bouyant but light rigid foam to put in the scow. Pieces will be preordered, cut to specification at the factory, and delivered. The foam will be about 10" thick, which is much higher than the waterline. Perry still needs to caulk all internal seams and waterseal the wood inside.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Construction progress, Oct. 20-21, 2009.

No progress has been made construction wise on the scow. The weather (and whole month for that matter) has been uncooperative with cold, rain, snow, sleet. Perry needs some warm, sunny, and dry days to apply water sealant to the inside of the scow and then caulk all the seams inside. Bolts to hold the four sections together have been ordered and we think we have a good lead on foam sheets to put inside each floatation chamber as an emergency backup system.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Construction progress, October 19, 2009.

No construction work done today on account of rain.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Scow sections flipped! October 18, 2009.

At 6:15 to 6:45 pm tonight the scow sections were successfully turned over. 12 people got together, the weather held, and we had no trouble getting the sections turned over. They were heavy! Thanks to all that helped. The group photo are those who helped. Each section was flipped over onto another scow section, then spun around (quite easy!), and reconnected (pushed back) to the other sections. Now Perry can work on the ice storage compartment, add decking, caulking of internal seams, add large bolts to hold the sections together, measure and cut side planks for installation later, and install some foam floatation system yet determined. The weather forecast is still a bit "iffy" for future work but at least we got it flipped over. It rained over night and was cold and quite windy this morning so I thought we might have to cancel, but the skies cleared and wind died down not long before we did the work.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 14/15, 2009.

The bottom photo shows what I was greeted with the morning of Oct. 14th. Grrrr! (and Brrr!). The other two pictures show the scow Oct. 15th. On the weather news today it was revealed that the first half of October in Calgary (1.5 hour drive to the WSW) was the coldest since they started recording temperatures there, an average temp of +4.2 C; normal is +14C! Cakes of ice were floating down the Red Deer River starting a couple days ago. Still planning on flipping the scow late afternoon this coming Sunday.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Update, October 13, 2009.

The weather still does not cooperate. Have not seen the sun (except for a couple minutes) the past 5 days or so. Cold and snow flurries each day. Calgary had an overnight low of -16C (a new record) over the weekend. Perry was able to finish sealing off the screw heads on the underside of the four sections by heating up each screw head with a heat gun and then applying the sealant. He says now he is totally done the bottom. The weather is to get much better this weekend, but I have a 2 day fossil turtle conference to attend at our museum during that time. The plan now is to leave the conference immediately after it ends late Sunday afternoon and do the flip then while it is still light (and hopefully warm).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Scow flip delayed again

The weather continues to be bad here with temperatures 15C below normal averages for this time of year. We continue to have snow flurries, rain, sleet and subzero temperatures, sometimes with a brisk north wind. Perry needs to do some last minute gluing on the bottom of the scow and needs temperatures above zero to do this properly or the glue won't cure. Also it is difficult to get enough people lined up to help, especially as this is a holiday Thanksgiving weekend. When I mentioned the problem getting everyone organized to be around to help flip the scow sections, a co-worker pointed out that arranging everyone to be at the scow construction site on the same day was "Like herding cats". How true. Check back from time to time to see how the progress is coming. We definately need some warmer weather!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Construction progress, October 7, 2009.

We are still having unsettled or bad weather here, cold and rainy. Work on the scow has been delayed. It actually snowed a bit in and around Drumheller last night. We are aiming for flipping the scow sections over this coming Sunday, October 11th. Perry has been looking into foam (for back up floatation in case of a hull breach) for the inside of the scow. Certainly foam was not used in 1910, but we cannot and will not skimp on safety. Spray foam estimates were $7,000+ CDN- too much. A suggestion of blue high density foam sheets used for house insulation was suggested. As you can see here, it is quite bouyant! Very little of the foam is actually under water. We are thinking of having four stacked layers of foam locked in with wood strips into the bottom of the scows four sections. The foam can quickly and easily be cut to size with a table saw and costs much less than sprayed foam.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Construction update: flipping of scow delayed

Today was to be the day for flipping the scow sections. However it is cold and damp here (high this morning of 36F or 2 C) and we are leaving the scow unflipped in the hopes some warmer weather will reappear at least for a little while and allow some of the tar-like sealant time to fully cure. May even try heating the 4 sections up under the tarp with a heat gun. If winter is upon us (I doubt it) we may be done on construction for this year. All the basic construction and underside are now done, just needs to be flipped over, holes drilled for bolting the 4 sections together, then decking and finally superstructure for the tent. So we are probably 75-80% done the construction phase.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Construction progress, October 1, 2009.

With this posting, this blog is now "caught up". Perry is seen here installing some thin steel plates on the bottom corners of the scow to protect it against accidental collisions with underwater rocks, etc. Any day entries missing for the past 2 weeks or so are due to weather interruptions, carpenter Perry taking some days off, or waiting to flip the scow over. We are presently aiming to flip the scow sections over on the evening of October 5th, weather permitting.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Construction progress, September 27-28, 2009.

Owing to bad weather (rain, wind and cold), no work was done to the scow during this time.

Construction progress, September 24, 2009.

Bottom planks are now installed and the rubberized runny tar-like material squirted between cracks between planks. Water sealant is still added to wood wherever it appears dry.

Construction progress, September 22, 2009.

More water sealant work. The days are getting so short now that Perry works by floodlight after dark; this explains why some pictures appear taken at night- they are!

Construction progress, September 21, 2009.

The first batch of pictures from the backlog from a week and a half or so back. Perry readys the bottom planks fro instalation and adds more water sealant. So places have three coats put on.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Scow build pics to be uploaded soon!


I have been in England last 13 days. I planned on trying to upload pictures for this blog from a remote location but was only able to do so one day. At a hotel in Bristol I could not even open pictures for an unexplained "security reasons". The rest of the time I was simply overwhelmed with work and research related projects or sightseeing. Now that I am back I will begin posting back dated blog entries starting tomorrow. I hope to have everything caught up in about a week. Perry has been busy with scow construction and worked most days and took pictures each day- only a few days were lost to bad weather. Thanks for your patience!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Construction progress, September 23, 2009.

No pictures again but I hope to be able to post all the backlogged ones in a couple days. Raptor Lewis, have no worries regarding lack of pictures, I can explain later.
Perry is still busy working on the scow, sealing all external joints, waterproofing wood, etc. He is assembling a small team of men to flip the scow sections over in early October. Once that is done, then more work on the upper surfaces can progress. The weather continues to be very co-operative and hot for the construction work.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Construction progress, September 22, 2009.

No pictures again today. Perry has finished putting the bottom planks on one of the end sections on the scow and is water sealing the last of the bottom planks which will be screwed on very soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Construction progress, September 21, 2009.

All, I am having some issues posting construction pictures to the blog. I will send them all from yesterday and those for the next week or so once I get the technical issues resolved. The carpenter is busy water proofing the bottom planks, installing same and using the liquid crack-filler material [the stuff that dries like cold tar] to fill in any major gaps in the planks.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Construction, September 20, 2009.

Perry has now got the tarred cloth-like material all done and sealed and now begins installation of the bottom planks. Each of these planks are sealed with water sealant. On the underside of the two end sections, where the wood is angled, a strip of thin but strong sheet metal will be added. This is in case we collide with underwater rocks, etc. The metal will protect the wood.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Construction, September 17, 2009.

A cold and blustery afternoon and evening so not much work done today. Perry has gotten the tarred cloth-like material on the sides now and is sealing all the seams where the sides and bottom of the tarred cloth-like material meet. We are doing two coats of the driveway crack sealant in critical areas. Bottom planks go on next.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Some more of the replicas/antiques we'll use

Some items are not 1910's vintage (such as the typewriter). These are hard to find in working order or in good shape. Many items I would like to use from the 1910's are in museums and they are not likely to let me borrrow them. Therefore for anything we are after, if it is + or - 10 years from 1910-1915, then we are OK to use it on the expedition.

Some of the antique/replica equipment we'll use

The scow will literally be a floating museum with restored and working antiques or replicas of same. Here are a few examples.