Blockfest 2008

Good morning everyone. Spring made a surprise appearance here in Maine this last week. With temps in the 40s these past few days the snow was melting fast and gravel driveways had become something of a “mud run”. The alignment shops are rubbing their hands together with thoughts that these ruts will be freezing solid in another week. Ball joints and tie rods beware! We have been moving quickly to pick up everything that to date has been buried under several feet of snow. Today winter returns with another nor’easter tracking through the Gulf of Maine. We are projected to receive 6+” of snow.

The crew has been hard at it with Blockfest 2008. As you can see the block process has many steps: disassembly, cleaning, sanding, priming, painting, packing the patent bearings with grease, and reassembly.
The crew have asked how old these blocks are and I am certain that many of them date back to the 60s. The Hawkins family experienced a barn fire early in the schooner’s history and I am not sure any blocks were lost then. All of the blocks I have replaced have come with oilite bearings (oilite is oil impregnated bronze that never needs greasing). Pataent bearing have been around for a long time and with an annual overhaul will serve many years. The bearings do wear over time and I fear ours will not last forever. There are a few blocks I know by sound, hearing the familiar clickety click of the larger throat block bearings as as the mainsail is lowered. I guess the ideal would be to have all oilite bearings. That would save us quite a bit of labor but the patent bearings have certainly stood the test of time. How many things are built to last 40+ years these days?

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

One comment

  1. I had read somewhere that many blocks are made from Lignum Vitae, also known as Ironwood or Greenhart. It is the hardest and most dense wood in existence, dense enough that it will not float. Shackleton sheathed the outside of his ship “Endurance” with it so as to resist the ice in his famous Antartica adventure. A review in “Wickipedia” shows it has been used in such various things as police truncheons, submarine shaft bearings, and for the belaying pins on the “Constitution”. I wonder if the Mary Day’s blocks are made from it.

Comments are closed.