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About Cathead

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  • Birthday 09/08/1979

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    Missouri, USA
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    Ecology, history, science, cooking, baseball, soccer, travel

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  1. John, While I can't speak to whether or not lead-based paints were used, it wouldn't have been to protect from rot or decay. First, only the wheels, and sometimes decks and other parts of the superstructure, were painted red. Hulls were generally white. Rot and decay also wouldn't have been the major concern, both as freshwater is more forgiving and because the lifespan and dangers faced by these boats generally meant that rot and decay weren't likely to be the cause of death (so to speak).
  2. I did some research on American paint history, and came up with this narrative. Commercial paints really didn't come onto the market in a widespread fashion until the late 19th century. Before that, paints were hand-mixed (such as on a farm) or at least made in smaller batches locally using grinders. Red was commonly made from a base of linseed oil (produced from flax, a common farm crop), which had an orange tinge. To this was added milk for texture and iron oxide to deepen the color. As a geologist, I agree with Wefalck that iron tends to produce an orange-red rather than a deep brown-red. Several American paint companies offer "historic" collections that were developed with the help of various preservation trusts and other organizations. For example, this collection from Benjamin Moore is supposedly based on 17th-early 20th century colors (i.e. before modern paint chemistry). I was immediately struck by the fact that all of the red shades in this collection do, indeed, have an orange tinge to my eye that fits the narrative about linseed oil and iron oxide. My guess is that their "Audubon Russet" or "Mayflower Red" might be good matches for steamboat red. Given that the vast majority of riverboats in middle America were built on the upper Ohio River, close to extensive sources of iron in the mountains to the east and south as well as extensive sources of milk and flax in the farmlands to the north and west, it makes sense that steamboat red would have followed this palette. But I'm just theorizing based on internet research here, I'm no expert in this regard. EDIT: Mrs. Cathead just asked what I was researching, and pointed out that we have linseed oil, milk (from our dairy goats), and iron oxide (from our bedrock and soils as well as, you know, farm rust) on hand. I may just have to play with mixing up a small batch of "historic" paint to see what I can produce. It'd be pretty neat to color my Arabia with a historically accurate stain.
  3. That's a great question, don't know the answer off the top of my head. Will do some digging (unless someone else knows for sure).
  4. Here's my understanding. Some of the real experts like Kurt or Roger may well weigh in and correct me if necessary. Red was common in nineteenth-century America because it was one of the cheapest paint colors to produce in the era before modern paint chemistry (along with white). That's one reason it became the standard barn color as well. The fact that most American riverboats were red and white was primarily economic. Red also didn't show staining or dirt as easily as white, which is one reason it was used for decks, wheels, and often for the stern area upon which the wheel threw water and/or the outhouses discharged (such as on Bertrand, below). A white superstructure made the boat look clean and attractive, while a red wheel, stern, and deck were utilitarian. I don't think there was any connotation of danger or warning; there was really no way for a passenger to approach a stern or side wheel, and the boilers were more dangerous anyway.
  5. Them Old Jokes

    My father-in-law is having trouble remembering his passwords. So he decided to change all of them to "INCORRECT". That way, whenever he forgets or mistypes one, the website tell him that his password is incorrect.
  6. Build Log Photography

    I use our basic Canon A33 digital camera. I don't have a cell phone despite being under 40. I try to take photos outdoors so I don't have to worry about lighting so much, as my workbench just has a normal desk lamp angled from the top. I do have a few foam boards with blue and white sides that I keep around for clean backdrops when I care to use them.
  7. It often stuns me how incapable delivery services are at figuring out obvious fixes to addresses. I once sent a package to my mother that was returned because I had written Name Lane instead of Name Rd and the USPS couldn't figure it out even though there is no Name Lane in her town and she's lived there for decades. Looking forward to your progress.
  8. Them Old Jokes

    In fairness, in British English it's "maths" (not "the maths"), which is grammatically consistent with treating the word as an abbreviation. American English has plenty of oddities, too.
  9. BlueJacket Lobster Boat: A Review

    Hey, John, no worries! For the most part, I assume that others know more than me, and thought maybe these boats had another set of cleats right at the stern or something. Better to ask and potentially correct a problem!
  10. BlueJacket Lobster Boat: A Review

    Roger, Thanks for your input. I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing or not, so please bear with me. Perhaps I'm misunderstanding you; I definitely understand why the hull overall transitions from the very deep forward section to the very shallow, flat stern section. What I meant was, when looking at the run of planking from the transom over the next few frames forward, on the underside of the hull, the third frame (if you count the transom as one) was noticeably shallower than the frame on either side, meaning that the planking either dips in a "U" up into that frame or it needs to be shimmed for a smooth run of planking. I wasn't talking about the shape of the hull overall, but a localized dip in the run of the hull. As I type that, I wonder, maybe you did mean that there's not supposed to be a smooth run from the fuller middle to the flatter stern, but rather a sort of reverse S-curve that transitions more abruptly into the flat stern? This is hard to describe by words. John, In my kit, BlueJacket supplied two cleats for the bow and two that are placed near the stern, roughly opposite the stern rubbing strips. You can see them in black on my model. Were you referring to some additional cleats that should also be at the stern?
  11. Yeah, that sounds like shipping problems rather than M-E. We've had stuff get lost in the U.S's transportation network too, including a package that criss-crossed the country while we watched the tracking information helplessly.
  12. BlueJacket Lobster Boat: A Review

    Thanks for commenting, Gary! That's a nice, clean model that makes me realize I forgot to build the bait tank.
  13. Thanks for sharing those photos. Things like those two posts are what really makes me interested in attending a conference.
  14. Chuck, You make fair points. I've served/am serving on several boards and it's very easy for members to second-guess board decisions when they weren't part of the process and aren't doing the work. No matter what you do, someone will get worked up about it. That being said, it's still my opinion that there are sufficient accessible, affordable options that actually have a maritime connection and allow for useful and special experiences beyond the conference hall. But it's just one year, so certainly not a disaster, and taking others at their word it may even benefit attendance if enough members have expressed a desire for it. I just hope it's back to a more relevant location the year after.
  15. Very interesting (oops, hit publish by accident, rest of post follows). My first reaction to Las Vegas was, roughly, WTF? I have to agree with Roger that I would find it far more interesting to attend a conference in a setting that has some form of legitimate nautical interest, which does not have to be "coastal". For example, NRG held a conference in St. Louis a few years back, and that's a great choice that's more central and affordable than most coastal cities but still has a legitimate claim to maritime interest (Kansas City would be a good choice in this regard, too, as the host to one excellent steamboat museum and within a day trip of another outside Omaha). I've been looking forward to the announcement of the next NRG conference as I'd really like to attend one, but there's no way on God's green earth that I'm going anywhere near Las Vegas, again for reasons similar to Roger's. I don't care if it's "cheap", once I'm making travel plans to anywhere more than a few hours from home it doesn't matter much if the hotels are $50 more per night or the airfare is slightly higher. I'm making vacation plans at that point, likely with Mrs. Cathead, and Vegas has nothing that attracts us and much that repels us. If NRG is going for cheaper than coastal cities, many Midwestern cities (KC, Louisville, Memphis) have legitimate river interests and are accessible and affordable. Even New Orleans has the "party" culture that apparently some people want while having far more of actual nautical and diverse interests for the rest of us. Criticism doesn't come easily to me, but I have to say I'm disappointed in this venue and certainly won't be considering attending. This is like holding a National Audubon conference in the middle of a 1,000 acre cornfield.