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  • The Prop Stop!!

    I have a collection of old props aka wheels around my house. And just about every one of them, if they could talk, would have an interesting story to tell. Take for instance the prop in the picture was at one time on an old 29 foot wooden boat. Now, you are not going to believe this one! This boat was stolen from our dock, used for something, and then it was sunk. The boat wasnít located for quite a while. After locating the boat it, he raised it. The under gear as well as most of the wooden hull was covered in barnacles and green slim. After taking a better look he noticed that all three blades on the prop were all bent back as if whatever the prop did hit, it did so in cadence. After my father took a better look at the raised vessel he decided that there wasnít much left to save. However, as we crawled around in the old wooden boat I started remembering all the fun I had sitting at the helm. My father always let me drive. And heck even when the boat was tied to the dock I loved turning the wheel and going into to my personal driving imagination mode. Heck, I could blow the horn and winding the old siren up a few times was a lot of fun at least until daddy made me stop!

    My father found that the prop was basically loose on the shaft! So therefore Daddy removed the prop the old standard way, brought it home, and added it too the big pile of assorted parts. According, to my father, you really never know when you might need a part that you have savaged from another boat. About forty years later, I found it while cleaning up the black house, which is now painted gray. As soon as I saw it, I recognized it as being the wheel off the wooden boat that was stolen in the late fifties. And it brought back some great memories! So forgive me, if you will, I be heading back to the fifties!

    Doing a Job the hard way or not!

    Hereís a story that some of you wonít long forget. My father had a special way of removing his prop from his boat. The removal technique was used when the wheel was unusually stuck on the shaft. After pounding on the prop excessively and having several one on one conversation with the wheel, daddy would begin to start giving in. I of course was considered the watcher. It was my job to watch and hand any tools that daddy might need. He always used lots of different weight hammers and many selected blocks of wood when trying to accomplish the wheel removal job. I was also supposed to stand far enough away so as not to hear my fatherís loud screaming. After the pounding stopped along with the screaming it was clear to all within listening range that the darn thing just wasnít going to budge.

    I know what you might be thinking. Why not just used a simple-minded wheel puller? Well, that would have been nice, but back in the old days Iím not sure they were even invented as of yet at least not for smaller boats.

    When the time came for the backup plan my father would crawl out from under the boat. His used to be white t-shirt would be soaked with sweat and dirt/mud. If we were on the railway it would be dirt, mud, and grease. If daddy had beached the boat on a sand bar it would be mud and dirty sand. At any rate he always looked a wreck, but his cigar never seem to leave his mouth. The madder he got the more puffing he did causing multiple rings of smoke to surround his head.

    As he started getting up he would be screaming stand clear, which meant get the ďheckĒ out of the way. He then would jump up in the boat, crank it up, slam it in reverse, and the wheel would always just fly off to designations unknown. I always watched so that I could tell daddy or basically point out where it landed. We let it fly a few times. Then daddy decided flying spinning props might not be such a great idea. So he then sets up a few saw horses up and throws a sheet over them. And this did work. When the wheel was free from the shaft it became entangled in the sheet. And this brought the flying wheel to parts unknown to a complete stop.

    After all of the fussing/cussing, (that I wasnít suppose to hear) breaking of his tools, turning great wooden blocks into the splinters, ruining his t-shirt, two King Edward cigars, and raising his blood pressure you would have thought that he would have just did the latter first. I always wondered why, so one day I finally asked. The answer was a simple one. ďThatís just not the way itís supposed to be done and itís a process.Ē At this point I wanted to shake my head, but I didnít.
    Thanks for reading! Captain Judy Helmey Miss Judy Charters