A Boat on the Side
9Feb/120

Cutting a Dash

I’ve done some pretty unusual jobs in my time, but this one was quite unexpected. A local wedding car businessman wafted into the yard with a gleaming black Bentley Mulsanne. The dashboard had de-laminated and was looking a bit sad – could I re-veneer and re-polish? Yes I could, I’ve done a bit of antique restoration work and while the thought of working on automotive royalty was a bit daunting, I set to work.

But first, in the privacy of my own bathroom later that evening, I practised some forelock touching and general bowing and scraping. I’ve got form on this – way back in the seventies I was fitting out a hotel in Doha when a panicked diplomatic person from the British Embassy asked me if I could urgently build a full-length hinged mirror for Her Majesty’s imminent arrival. The embassy people hadn’t read their instructions properly and while Phillip could make do with a hand-held mirror, the Queen could not. I worked night and day for a few days and delivered the job, jolly well done I might add, to the Britannic premises. With a flourish, I presented my exorbitant bill and departed hastily with a hot regal cheque in my hands. Days later I was duly summoned to the opening of a new English school where I had the pleasure of meeting the Queen and the Prince, I have to say they were charming and unpretentious. I momentarily thought of inviting them back to my hotel room for a few brandies but thought the better of it as I had to do some overtime that night.

So working on the (almost) Rolls Royce brought back some fond memories.

The dashboard was actually quite tricky, requiring sanding back, repairing de-laminated bits, veneering twice in burr walnut and painstakingly sanding, arrising and spraying (all twelve coats.) Finally I cut it back carefully with 2000-grit wet-and-dry and polished with 3M Imperial Compound. None of your ordinary compound on this job.

Here’s a photo and it was surprisingly difficult to show the richness of the walnut and the mirror finish of the lacquer but it will have to do. I must admit that it wasn’t 100% as good as the Rolls craftsmen could achieve, but close enough.

3Feb/120

Crate Expectations!

I was unpacking one of our recycled kit crates the other day, middle son Chris had used it to ship up some surplus boat bits for us. I remembered some of the uses to which our customers had put them over the years. Once all the kit parts had been used up, of course.

Stood on end and shelves added, the favourite was the shed storage unit.

Next up was the they can carry me out in this one – assuming the proper certification procedures were followed. In my case I’d like it to slide off the deck of a hard pressed schooner bound for the Society Islands. The Captain would be required to utter the words “Crate Scott, did anyone remember to add the lead weights?”

For those who fancy a Viking send off, it could be a case of “Goodness Gracious, Crate Balls of Fire!”

But the crates have a multitude of post-kit possibilities. Their fashionable “distressed” appearance, rough sawn battens and rusty screws – no stainless here, pal - all add up to an interesting and stylish interior ensemble. Perfect for the newly decorated bedroom, your wife will love it for her new wardrobe. Better still, add some oiled cardboard boxes and it’s a shoe-inn for those special heels. Then there’s the blanket box, bulk underwear storage unit and, suitably wired, perfect for that home entertainment centre.

So, you’re not buying a kit, you’re buying a new lifestyle – an interior makeover!

Now for our special competition – the best photo of a crate reincarnated will win a bottle of bubbly and a nicely framed certificate. So send in your photos and we’ll post the best on the blog. It doesn’t matter what they’re for – that old stack of Crateful Dead Albums, your collection of antique cheese craters and so on.

So lets see some of your best crative camerawork!

Two kits, two crates, one ute, and a man on a mission!

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