Have any of you ever made one of these old ships?
Maybe your dad built one in the basement and you helped him work on it.
Geez….. I just remembered this,
One time, we were remodeling a basement for a nice elderly couple.
He had a hobby work area in the utility room with a work bench covered with all kinds of dusty stuff :
hardware, tools, glue and paint, little jars of screws and nails …. you name it.
The peg board behind the bench was packed with hand tools and misc. stuff hanging in no particular order.
There was a 4 ft. shop light above which was always on because he couldn’t reach the outlet.
And, right in the middle of the bench sat this incredible handmade wooden ship.
The elderly man had been working on it for years, making each piece by hand.
He was just finishing the ropes and sails when we arrived to tear everything out and rework the floor plan, including his work bench and wall of tools.
It was his wife’s idea to remodel the basement.
He wore the same clothes he had in the 60s and said, ”I thought the basement was fine the way it was.”
I assured him we would take care of moving the bench and peg board and he would end up with a bigger hobby room with better lighting.
A win, win for everyone!
.... so you would think.
But he hadn’t moved or boxed anything to prepare for the demolition. He seemed depressed and overwhelmed by the task and didn’t know where to start.
So, me and my apprentice grabbed some boxes and slowly packed everything with him while I described the new room and talked about my grandfather’s inventions.
He perked up and started telling me about his grandfather who also built handmade ships and before you knew it, we had everything boxed and his bench relocated and set up so he could continue working on the ship.
We even hooked up the 4 ft. light on a switch so he can see.
What a day!
We came in and finished gutting the basement, moved everything in the hobby room, got his work area set up, saved the elderly gentleman from freaking out and even got him to smile.
The wife didn’t even notice him – she was too busy picking out wall colors already …. ”Oh, he’ll be fine.”
The next day we came in and started framing the new walls. One of them butted in to an existing wall and when we nailed them together, ...... all of a sudden we heard a loud crash!
We ran around the corner to see what it was and there, upside down on the floor,
..... was his handmade wooden ship.
The night before, he was so excited with his new work area, he stayed up all night and finished the ship. Then, he set it on a crappy shelf he mounted, on the wall, we just nailed.
omg …. I thought the guy was gonna cry! ..... what a disaster.
He left the room and disappeared. The wife came down and I told her I could fix it.
She looked at me with doubt, like it was beyond repair but I assured her, I was a model ship builder too!
...... I CAN FIX IT!
She said, Go ahead, can’t hurt to try …... big sigh.
So, I sat up all night, stringing fishing line from my drawing table light fixture to the masts to hold them while they dried. I reworked the ropes, repaired the busted railing, touched up the varnish and had it ready for delivery by day break.
The next morning,
We had to beg him to come down and help us with a decision on the new floor plan. He dragged his feet and pretended to care as we took him around the room, discussing the details.
Then, we took him into his hobby room, and ….. you’d think we were going into a funeral home.
He didn’t want to see it.
I took him by the shoulders and slowly turned him to see his repaired handmade ship,
sitting on a bigger shelf with a light above it, .... looking like a million bucks.
He had such a big smile. I thought his false teeth were going to pop out! .... HA!
He loved it! ............... I did good.
Afterwards, we took the ship and put it upstairs so it wouldn’t get damaged again.
..... and I went home and took a long, well deserved nap!