About Me

Costa Mesa,, CA, United States
Pattern maker for the fiberglass/composite industries. Experienced in creating shapes from drawings, verbal descriptions, very vague sketches. Well versed in reading styles and feelings into creating shapes. I am very familiar with mold creation and repair. I have been doing this for 35 years. I also enjoy photography, web graphics, animation, and web development. In realizing my need to "move on" I hope to become proficient in these as I have "tooling." Click on any of the pictures to see them full size

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A 5 Year Project Reinventing Bil Laird's 50' Lake Powell Boatl

This is how the 'scow' that egocentric millionaire Bill Laird had acquired looked the first time I saw it. It was pathetic. It had been on the bottom of Powell on three different occasionns. The repairs that had been made to the bottom of the hull were hideous and very poorly done. Calvin Clissold was the Chief Designer at Gulfstream Boats in Salt Lake City, Utah. I had just been laid off from Gulstream after tooling up three new boats for them. Cal and I had worked together for over three years on those projects. I had also worked for Gulfstream a few years before that. He had approached me to inquire if I'd be interested in properly repairing and making some huge modifications to this boat. Totally reinventing it. I didn't commit to the project right away. I was not concerned about being able to do it. I immediately realized the tremendous cost and time involvement it would require. Bill Laird assured both Cal and me that it would not be a problem. Cal was very careful about making Bill realize it would be more cost effective to buy a new boat similar to this one. Bill would not hear of it. Cal and I concluded that Bill was sentimentally attached to the poor thing.

We then adjourned to a coffee shop to further discuss what would be done and come to an agreement. At that time Cal introduced this line drawing of basically what he had in mind. It almost blew me away. I began to have second thoughts. Cal assured Bill Laird that I could do it single-handed and that if I should need any help, Cal could make his son Jim available. Jim and I had worked together at Gulfstream so I was fine with that.

The boat was crammed into the back of a large cabinet shop in an industrial complex where I spent the first year removing and properly repairing the damaged areas on the bottom of the hull. After that I added a quarter of an inch of new fiberglass over the entire bottom from the inside(working inside between the main deck and inside of the bottom). Then the entire bottom got two layers of 1/2" balsa core and fiberglass inside. After that had cured, another 1/8'" of fiberglass completed the hull redo. It was literally bullet-proof on the bottom.

The first restyling modification was the raised shear-line on the bow of the boat. It became apparent early on that Bill Laird fancied himself a boat designer. He insisted on changing what Cal had called out for this modification right off. Bill demanded that I build it the way He (Bill) wanted it. In the three months it took to build, Bill and Cal got into some very heated discussions about the appearance of this first modification. Cal insisted it ruined the sweeping line of the bow and spoiled the overall flow visually.

You can see in this picture the odd, blunt angle of the addition. I personally didn't like it because it looked like it had been added on. Cal (the designer Bill hired to redesign the boat) finally told Bill Laird the he would not allow his name to be associated with the boat if it was left that way. Call demanded that Bill let me cut it off and redo it right. He reminded Bill that the whole premise was to have the finished boat appear that it had been built as it appeared originally. Cal insisted that it not look like it had been redone when finished. He and I had already agreed on that.

Cal and I also agreed that it was only fair to Bill that we "mock-up" any further modifications. What you see in this picture is a framework of 1x2"lumber covered with white poster board. At this point, we were nearing the time when the boat would be moved into one side of the Telemedia Building where Bill housed his business. One-half of this building had been cleared out just to do the boat in. The overhead door on the back of the building had to be enlarged in both width and height to allow room for the boat on the trailer to access the building.

The boat has been moved in and set up to finish in the 'new' shop. It was like going from one extreme to the other. From not nearly enough to more than I needed. This photo also shows the new shear-line. There is masking on the trailer. I have just sprayed white plastic primer on the outside and inside of the shear-line. I have already fabricated the new decks and superstructure. I had to raise the old main deck 6" from stem to stern. The vertical braces from the floor on each side are to support the hull so it won't "tweak" after the deck was cut loose and so the hull would remain where it was while I reattached the deck 6" above where it had been.

The 'windows' are poster-board or flat black paint at this point. This is the way Cal wanted to do it. I agreed It would look great. Cal got a bid to have it done this way and it was astronomical. This was back in the late 70's. Ahead of the time this 'look' became popular. It was decided to go with conventional tinted windows.
You can see the ribs on the top of the bridge. I have to form
fiberglass over them and finish it.
Here I have installed the windows. At this time, Bill Laird got some kind of a 'real deal' on twin 350 cu. in. Chevy engines that had been modified for marine use by OMC for V drive. They had not been in the original plan so Cal and I had to put our heads together to figure out how to make room for them. We decided to lengthen the hull to accommodate them. You'll notice in the bottom right of the picture that I've cut away the entire stern of the hull. Bill was aghast when he walked in the shop that day to check progress .

This is how it turned out. You can also see the wooden ribs that are 'glassed' to the underside of the sundeck so it would support people walking on it. It wouldn't before.

The engine bay with the twin Chevy's and the Kohler Power Generator nestled in between.

This picture shows off the gracful sweep of the bow that Cal fought so har for. It added over 9" to the overall length of the craft. It was still classed as a 50 footer.

This picture shows her nearly finished as far as my part of the project. There is a seat that curves with the walk-way around the bridgeside to side just below the shear-line and just ahead of the three windows. Access to the bow is through the opening in the walk-way in front of the bridge.

We even mocked-up the handrails before having them made.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Great day for a bath !!!

The day started out like any other. Everybody's sitting around shooting the bull. One guy has to be above the rest (there's one in every crowd).

These two guys are looking at that water mighty hard. I can just hear one saying to the other, "That water sure looks inviting !!!"

Sure enough, one has to go in and flap around and have a swell time. Then he climbs out, looks around and sees the perfect spot to dry off.

"Oh man, this is perfect, in the sun with a nice little breeze filtering through the branches of this bush. This is great !!!"

Of course, when the rest of the crowd saw this, it was a free for all. One after another after another. A great time was had by all.

I wonder if some of them weren't thinking that if they got themselves all slicked up real swell, if they couldn't fly like the big guys they see go overhead all the time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lamborgini Countach Replicar

I assembled and finished three of these bodies on three Renault
chassis. Because of the tremendous drop in weight these cars were very much quicker than the stock Renaults which they were based on. They received as much attention on the streets or freeways as a real Lamborghini. Acceleration was exceptional. They were your very "high end" kit car.

The body panels were shipped from England and were very ill-fitting. It took a lot of creativity and determination on my part to make them fit together well. I assembled these cars in Salt Lake City, Utah. They were an outrageous site there at that particular point in time. Real attention grabbers wherever they were seen.

The true Countach vertical opening doors were the most difficult parts of the cars to fit and get working properly. One of the greater challenges I've experienced in my career. At that time I had a small trailer in which I could easily transport any tools and supplies I might need to a site and set up shop on the spot. I was ahead of my time in that I created a "niche" for myself well before the term became popular. I was the only "tooler" who could to into a small shop and set up to do either custom "glass' work or tooling in a shop that did not have an area dedicated just for tooling. It worked very nicely for me until this particular company was broken into and all the tools, welders, company vehicles and my trailer were stolen.

The rear view of the cars was certainly the most dramatic. Of course, if you were following............it was going away from you..............very quickly.

Sliding into the cockpit of one of these felt like putting on a body glove. You became an integral part of the car. The supple glove leather interior was soooo comfortable. The cars were tricked out with excellent stereo systems, but it was more fun to listen to the engine through the special exhaust system and feel the acceleration in relation to it. A real heart-stopping experience.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Ho Hummers.......(a short one)

I decided this morning to try to get back to my ongoing quest to get an amazing sunny shot of one hummer in particular. I spent considerable time trying to do just that this morning. I did get this shot of one of his pals he was playing with.

I took this one (another buddy) at the feeder which is good shot but does not show off the amazing metallic colors the sun highlights so well. I have many feeder shots because that's the only place they aren't going lickety-split.

This is good, but you should see this guy out in the sun. He and his red-headed pal are quite a sight, but man..........are they quick !!! Some day, I'll get my picture of that red-headed one out in the sun hovering.

This shot from a very different angle show off how important the lighting is to capture the magnificent colors on these little guys.

Monday, September 3, 2007

"Bushy"at our door for Breakfast

When Norma opened the door "Bushy" ran back a few feet. Norma talked to her and tossed a few peanuts out near her.

After a lot of coaxing and peanuts, "Bushy" came in closer. Norma kept working with her and finally got her in fairly close to the door.

Still, Norma talked to her and kept the peanuts coming. "Bushy"came in still closer.

Norma traded plaaces with me and I sat on the threshold. Bushy was O.K. with this. At first, she'd come out and grab one peanut.

Then she'd turn tail and scurry behind the door real coy-like.

Then she finally got brazen as all get out and just sat there and ate them in front of me. Of course I loved it and it gave me a great opportunity to get some close-up shots.

Here , she's grabbed a peanut with the skin on. She doesn't like the skins so .................

She takes them off to reveal........

A scrumptious peanut to delight in !!!

Norma and I agreed that "Bushy" would probably be banging on the screen door in the morning !!!

Friday, August 31, 2007

"Bushy's" first afternoon visit

Norma noticed "Bushy" looking around out on the patio this afternoon. She had a few shelled unsalted peanuts in a little plastic container so we decided to risk going out on the patio with"Bushy" to entice him with the peanuts. She came over almost to Norma while she tossed peanuts near him. She liked them of course. After eating a few, Bushy decided she needed a drink.

After climbing the fence, she helped herself to the bird bath and had a nice long drink.

Norma layed some seeds on the top of the fence and coaxed "Bushy" to try one.

"Bushy" would snatch up one nut and dissapear into the bush to eat it.

Then she'd come back out and snatch up another and dissapear back into the bush.

Meanwhile the Hummers are busy engaging in aerial combat .................
and grabbing a swig of Norma's swell go-juice from the feeder.

"Bushy" finally got her fill and left to check out the rest of the neighborhood.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Breakfast Club

When I first got up there was nothing going on outside............. no birds.............. nothing !!! A short while later, Norma stumbled out and when she looked out the window she saw "Bushy" sneaking in on the patio, munching as he went. He was checking out the whole place. He was eating sunflower seed scatterngs of the birds from yesterday.

He loves sunflower seeds. His progression to the dish containing what Norma had put out for the birds was very time consuming.

At first he seemed to be trying to get everone of the seeds. He wasn't missing a thing.

Gradually, and slowly he worked his way toward the dish. Of course Norma and I were anxious to see if he'd get in the dish and really munch out. But he was in to rush so we had to be pationt like all the birds that gradually showed up and waited and waited.

He was in absolutely NO hurry, so he just kept eating his way toward the dish. And Norma, and me, and the birds just watched and waited and waited.

Well, he just kept eating and eating and finally worked his way over to the dish.. He was very cautious about trying it at first.

Then he got a little more aggresive with it and relaxed.

Big mistake !!! It tipped over and scared the liver and lights ou t of him. I wish I could have caught that precise moment. However, if you notice on the far right side of the picture. you can see part of his tail. It was pretty funny.

While most of his shenagians had been going on, All these little guys had been waiting for their turn at the seeds. I guess they got a good laugh out of it too. Poor "Bushy"...........how humiliating !!!

This little guy wasn't amused.....he was just hungary.

These guys were hungery.

Finally, "Bushy" left and thing started getting back to normal.

Then, everybody showed up for Breakfast and a good time was had by all !!!