Some Rail
and a wheel
Last updated  2009-09-30
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Sometime in June 2009  I got a call from a Naval Air Station requesting that I give them a quote on doing the proposed "Quarterdeck"
stairwells in some sort of coxcombing to carry on the traditions of the past.

I admit that at first I was a bit nonplussed that they'd have to ask a broken-down old boatswain's mate to do this, assuming that there HAD
to be someone available still IN the Navy who could do it.... However,  I was rapidly and gently disabused of this supposition.

So, as soon as I could manage it, I made up some sample coxcombing on a piece of PVC and took it down to see the extent of the job.  
Nothing enormous: three flights of stairs, top rails to be flemished out and ended with turksheads.  I've done that much in the past with no
effort at all, so I figured about 60 hours (7 days) and quoted them accordingly.  

They chose a coxcomb and we set a date.  

                              Now, Oh Brethern and Cistern, Hear ye me, for I did most Grievously annoy the Sea Gods
                                                                                  with mine Hubris and over-confidence!
                                                                             Yea verily, I say unto thee: I (CENSORED) UP!

The job took nearly 170 hours of work because I forgot some essential things:

  1. I'm not 22 years old any more,
  2. It helps when your rails are either freshly painted or stripped completely: dirty and chipped rails do NOT contribute to speed!
  3. It helps when you DO NOT have a new person coming by every ten minutes asking what you're doing....
  4. It helps when you think things thru in the first place
  5. As I am no longer 22, neither are my legs, eyes, feet or hands, all of which suffered a good deal of insult and strain.

The interest of others was gratifying, but I soon started working at night as much as possible to eliminate the myriad questions from the
"casual" passers-by, many of which had specifically come to see the work in progress.  

I was tempted to put up a sign, "Please Do Not Feed The Retiree".

IF you have any intent on doing this sort of thing,  let this and the subsequent pages guide you:  

P L A N   A H E A  D.  

Take stock of your abilities, strength and stamina and divide by at LEAST five!  

Wear shoes you can stand in for ten hours a day!!!  

Be sure you have adequate lighting!  

Keep the tourist quotient to a minimum!

Either do the prep work yourself or be sure it has been done before you show up to start work!

Little things like that will allow you NOT to look a complete berk.

I'll be modifying these pictures and adding more as time permits...   you can always
EMAIL me for questions, comments or.... ???

AH, yes:  the wheel....

Click on the picture and it'll take you to
the page for wheels.