It’s no secret that Halloween is my favorite time of year, and this year is no different. Well, it might be a little different, because it is the middle of October and there’s nothing more than the usual stock decorations that we keep for this time of year. About 4 weeks ago I was at the first PTA meeting of the year at my daughter’s school and they were asking for volunteers for the annual Fall Festival. Somehow in short order I went from volunteering to be a actor in the haunted house to building a part of the haunted house. The theme this year revolves around pirates, and I was to build a pirate ship. Given that my previous creations involved two spiders, a turkey and a reindeer, a ship prop was a new challenge.
After a few hang ups with procuring the materials for the ship, I had less than a week to build the prop and get it installed at the school in preparations for the Fall Festival. It took less time than I had imagined it would. Getting the frame up together was the first step, followed by the sidings. My wife accused me of picking the most labor intensive way of putting the sides together, but it actually not that bad. I used sheets of plywood with 2x3s for the frame and for the sidings I used chopped pieces of 1x3s.
In a blind rush I finished as much as I could by Friday night for install the next morning. Saturday was spent rushing back and forth between the school and the house adding some last minute fixtures. Saturday night was spend working on the ship’s wheel. I was not going to hand make the wheel, rather find something quick and easy. But the video on YouTube detailing how ‘easy’ it would be to make one from scratch, was rolling around in my head, so I decided to start it. Cutting the hub and the outer wheel was the easy, if not tedious, part. I bought some dowels and cut them in half for the handles. Drilling the holes for the dowels, the panels of plywood began to split, mostly from not using the right kind, or enough, glue for the application. Pressing forward I did not want to waste the time already spent on the wheel. I assembled the wheel the best I could, clamped the whole thing together, and filled all of the cracks with Gorilla Glue. Next morning, I cut the handles down and applied a few coats of paint. I used cardboard tubes to assemble the mast and after making the stands for both, was finally finished with the pirate ship.
The Fall Festival is this Friday, and I need to get my costume together in short order. While pirate garb is not my first choice to scare people, it’ll work for kids in grade school, right? Oh, and two of my current classes finish this week, so I need to find time for those finals and get caught up with the other homework that I have been putting off so I could finish this thing.