Monthly Archives: November 2015

Refurbished Wood Block

Apropos has 7 teak blocks that are used on the main and mizzen sheets. Somewhere between French Polynesia and Tonga, one of these blocks started coming apart. It was a teak double block with becket, used between the main boom and traveler.  When sailing downwind with the boom way out, the sheet running through this block puts pressure on the side of the block, and after 30 years of use, the teak began to split.  I found bits on the deck and was able to clamp it back together using 5200 marine adhesive, a short-term fix that lasted to Fiji. I carted the block with us back to Seattle to get it repaired since nowadays you can’t buy teak blocks like this at chandleries. I found a woodworker near Seattle and knew I had the right man when I went into his shop and there was a 23′ rowing sailboat that he was building. Although he never rebuilt a wooden block before, he had the woodworking skills and shop equipment to do it. Together we figured out how to disassemble the block into its components–a pin, 2 sheaves, 3 cheeks, inner and outer straps, and 4 swallows. As we took it apart, the teak cheeks and swallows broke apart and we realized they would all have to be replaced–a complete re-build.  We were able to salvage enough to use as patterns for shaping the new parts. When I returned a few days later, Mark had all the teak pieces shaped and ready for assembly. I brought with me a bronze welding rod that we used for the 4 pins that, along with the main pin, help hold the 3 cheeks together. After assembling and driving in the 4 bronze pins, I gave it a quick coat of teak oil and it was finished–good as new!

Partially disassembled block
Teak was weathered and brittle
The master woodcrafter with rebuilt block in hand
Finished block with all new teak. The ends of the 4 bronze pins can be seen on the top.

Ukulele Case

I built a case for my Tahitian ukulele to protect it when I travel and when it’s on the boat. I got the idea on the internet ( and followed most of the steps for the cardboard case, then tailored the inside to fit my particular uke.

It’s a basic cardboard shaped box. I used heavy duty 3-ply cardboard which I got for free at an appliance store. After building the box and coating it with wood hardener, I filled the voids with wood putty Next I used a table saw to cut off the lid, then I cut some patterned material we had bought in Fiji, and glued it to the outside of the case using a spray adhesive cheap viagra generic. Next I brushed 4 coats of mod podge onto the material to protect it. I found all the hardware (hinges, latches, handle) at Home Depot and put wood backings on the inside of the case for the screws to bite into. I lined the inside with 1″ foam, then cut some creme colored fleece from an old blanket and glued it onto the foam.  Total cost was about $75 and now my uke will be protected when I travel and when it’s on the boat.

Heavy-duty 3-ply cardboard
Completed “rough” box
Covering outside case with a patterned material
Material was bought in Fiji
After several coats of mod podge
Inside lined with foam and fleece
Completed ukulele case