The Scientific American Boy, by A. Russell (Alexander Russell) Bond
The Camp at Willow Clump Island
MUNN & CO., Publishers
COPYRIGHT, 1905, BY
All boys are nature lovers. Nothing appeals to them more than a summer vacation in the woods where they can escape from the restraints of civilization and live a life of freedom. Now, it may appear to be a bit of presumption to attempt to advise the boy camper how to spend his time. Surely the novelty of outdoor life, the fascinating charm of his surroundings, will provide him plenty of entertainment.
But, after all, a camp generally affords but two major amusements, hunting and fishing. These have been fully covered by a vast number of books. However, there is another side of camp life, particularly in a boys’ camp, which has been very little dealt with, namely, the exercise of one’s ingenuity in creating out of the limited resources at hand such devices and articles as will add to one’s personal comfort and welfare. It is, therefore, the aim of this book to 1 suggest certain diversions of this character for the boy camper which, aside from affording him plenty of physical exercise, will also develop his mental faculties, and above all stimulate that natural genius which is characteristic of every typical American boy. To this end the story contains descriptions of a large collection of articles which can be made by any boy of average intelligence, not only in the camp but at home as well.
The use of a narrative to connect the various incidents marks a departure in this class of book, and it is believed that the matter will thus be made more realistic and interesting. In all cases full directions are given for making the various articles. While it is not presumed that the directions will be slavishly followed, for this would defeat the general aim of the work, yet all the principal dimensions are given so that they can be used, if desired.
I beg to acknowledge the courtesy of Mr. Daniel C. Beard and Mr. Henry D. Cochrane in supplying a number of photographs. The directions for making the lee boards (page 119) were obtained from data 2 furnished by the latter. Many of the details recorded in the chapter on Tramping Outfits are to be accredited to Mr. Edward Thorpe. In the preparation of this book I have received valuable assistance from my colleague, Mr. A. A. Hopkins.
A. RUSSELL BOND.
New York, October, 1905.
THE SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN BOY.
146The numbers 1, 2 and 3
indicate respectively the first, second
and third movements. For instance, A was represented
by the combination 22,
which means that the flag must be swept to the left and back twice. B is represented by the combination 2112, that is, a sweep to the left, two sweeps to the right and a final sweep to the left, as shown in Fig. 151. The end of a word was represented by a sweep forward and back; the end of a sentence by two sweeps forward and back, and the end of a message by three sweeps forward and back. It will be noticed that the same combinations are used for 2 and Z, 3 and tion, 4 and F, 5 and J, 6 and G, 7 and V, 9 and M, and 0 and B. The following abbreviations were given in the Manual:
These abbreviations saved a lot of time, for when we wanted to signal the word after instead of spelling it out–22-2221-2-12-211-3–we used the signal for A–22–followed 147 by 3 to signify that it was the end of the word. Before was represented by 2112-3, your by 111-211-3, etc. It took quite a little practice to learn the different combinations. Fred and Reddy soon became experts, and could flash the signals back and forth at a great rate.
Wigwagging at Night.
At night we used a torch in place of a flag. The torch consisted of a roll of dried birch bark tied with wire to the end of a staff. It was found necessary to place another torch on the ground directly in front of the signaler so as to fix a central point and enable one to determine whether the moving torch was swung to the left or right. A later improvement was to use three lanterns, one in each hand and one attached to the waist to fix the central position. It was quite an advantage to have a lantern in each hand, for it saved changing over from one to the other when a second movement followed a first or a first movement a second.
The book that Uncle Ed sent us had in it a description of a heliograph, that is, an instrument for sending signals with 148 flashes of sunlight. Although our wigwagging system was good enough for our requirements, yet we thought it would be more scientific to use the sun instrument, and besides, the latter could be used for signaling many miles.
The Single Mirror Instrument.
The first thing we did was to procure a small mirror about
4 inches square, mounted in a wooden frame. Then we got
a pair of small square head bolts about 1/4 of an inch in diameter and 1 inch long, also two strips of brass 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long. In the center of each brass strip we drilled a hole just large enough to admit the shank of one of the bolts, and then the strips were fastened with screws tight against opposite edges of the mirror frame, with the heads pressed against the frame and the shanks sticking out at each side, as shown in Fig. 153. These projecting shanks served as “trunnions” (that is, pivots) for the mirror to turn on when it was mounted in place. After the trunnions had been set in place we made a peep hole in the center of the mirror by cutting out a piece of the wooden back of the frame and scratching away the silver from the back of the glass. Only a very small hole was required, about 1/8 inch in diameter. Great care was taken to have the unsilvered spot exactly on a line with the trunnions and 149 just half-way between them. This done, we took two sticks
of 3/8-inch wood, 1 inch wide and 3-1/2 inches long. In the upper end of each stick a slot was cut 1/2 inch deep and 1/4 inch wide. Into these slots the trunnions of the mirror were placed, and then the nuts were screwed tightly on, clamping the sticks against the sides of the mirror. The sticks were now connected by nailing a 1/2-inch strip at the bottom, and braced by a couple of corner pieces. This formed a swiveled frame for the mirror, which was clamped to the base of the instrument by means of a bolt 1-1/2 inches long. The bolt passed through the bottom board of the frame, squarely under the peep hole of the mirror and through the baseboard of the instrument near one end. The baseboard was 2 inches wide, 10 inches long and 3/4 inch thick.
The Sight Rod.
150At the end opposite to
where the mirror frame was
swiveled we mounted a sight rod, which was merely a round
stick of wood 1/2 inch in diameter and about 8 inches long.
We cut the stick from one of the rounds
of an old broken chair. The upper end
of the rod was whittled to a point and one side was flattened as shown in Fig. 155. Out of a piece of heavy white cardboard we cut a round disk about 1/4 inch in diameter, with a shank 1 inch long sticking out at one side. This was fastened with a single tack to the flattened end of the rod in such a position that the point lay exactly against the center of the disk. The disk could then be turned up or down, to cover or uncover the point of the rod, as desired. The rod was fitted snugly into a hole in the
baseboard, and could be raised or lowered to any extent desired, but we had to provide some sort of an arrangement for making it stay where it was put. A small hole was drilled from the edge of the baseboard through to the hole in which the rod was fitted. A square socket was chiseled out around the small hole to receive a nut. The nut was firmly wedged in and held in place by driving in nails along the edges. A bolt or machine screw was threaded 151 through the nut, so that its inner end pressed against the sighting rod. By tightening this screw the rod could be secured at any height desired.
The instrument was mounted on a tripod similar to the one used for our surveying instrument. To this it was attached by means of a bolt, which passed through the center of the baseboard and the tripod head.
The screen, or shutter, of the heliograph was mounted on
a separate tripod, so as to prevent shaking the mirror when
it was operated. It was made something like a window
shutter. We cut out two slats, each 2-1/2 inches wide and 6
inches long. They were made of hardwood 3/8 inch thick.
The upper and lower edges were tapered down to a thickness of 3/16 inch. Light nails were driven into the slats at the ends, and the nail heads were then filed off so that the projecting ends formed trunnions for the slats to turn on. The slats were linked to a connecting rod with double point tacks. A small double point tack was driven into the upper edge of each slat about 1/2 inch from the right hand end. Then through each of these tacks we hooked a second double point tack and drove it into the rod. The tacks on the rod were placed just 2 inches apart. A 152 substantial frame was then made of 3/4-inch stuff 1-1/2 inches wide. The frame was square, with an opening that measured 6 inches each way, into which the slats were fitted. Before nailing the frame together we drilled holes in the side pieces for the trunnions of the slats to turn in. These holes were just 1-3/4 inches apart. After the slats had been set in place, the frame was fastened together and then nailed to a baseboard,
which was fastened by a bolt to the tripod. The shutter was operated by a key something like a telegraph key. It was made of a narrow stick of wood hinged at one end to the lower strip of the shutter frame, and a spool sawed in two was fastened to the other end to serve as a handle for the key. A string connected the key with the connecting rod. The slats were kept closed by a spring, which was fastened at one end to the connecting rod and at the other to the top of the frame. At first we used a rubber band for this purpose, but it soon 153 wore out, so we then made a spiral spring out of stiff spring brass wire by wrapping it around a pencil. When the key was pressed down the slats would be turned open, as shown in Fig. 159; but as soon as the key was released the spring would pull them back again.
Focusing the Instrument.
We were now ready to commence operations with our instruments. The heliograph was set up on the ledge at the top of the cliff. First the disk was turned down, uncovering the point of the sighting rod. Then Bill sighted through the unsilvered spot in the mirror and shifted the rod up and down until the tip end came squarely in line with the door of our straw hut, where Jack was seated, notebook in hand, to take down our message. Reddy stood by him with his wigwag flag to answer back. When the instrument was properly sighted the shutter was set up directly in front of it and the sighting disk turned up to cover the point of the sighting rod. Then came the rather troublesome task of 154 focusing the mirror. The mirror reflected a square panel of light, in the center of which there was a small shadow spot made by the unsilvered peep hole. The object was to get this shadow to fall on the center of the sighting disk. We knew that then the mirror would reflect the sunlight squarely on the straw hut. We found it quite easy to direct this shadow spot to the disk by holding a sheet of paper in front of the mirror six or eight inches away, and following up the spot on the paper until it reached the disk.
When at last we succeeded in properly focusing the mirror
Bill pressed the key down three times, sending three quick
flashes to Jack as a signal that he was ready to begin. Reddy
wigwagged back O. K., and then the first heliographic
message was sent from the ledge to
the island. It was a rather mixed-up
message, and kept Jim and Reddy wigwagging back and forth very strenuously to straighten matters out. It was my duty to keep the mirror focused. As the sun moved across the sky the shadow spot would move off the disk, and I had to keep shifting the mirror to bring the spot back where it belonged. We used the International Telegraph 155 Code, which we had been studying every evening for a week, but it was many weeks before we learned how to use it correctly, even slowly. The International Telegraph Code is as follows:
The three short flashes Bill sent represented the letter S, which stood for the word “signal.” A was formed by a short flash followed by a long flash; B by a long flash followed by three short ones, and so on. The key was held down three times as long for the long flash as for the short one. We found the best way of learning to send the signals properly was to count 1 for each short flash, and for each pause between parts of the letter, and 3 for each dash and for each pause between letters. Between words we counted 6. Thus, for the letter A the key would be down when we counted 1, up when we counted 2, down while we counted 3, 4, 5, and up while we counted 6, 7, 8, for the pause after each letter. It was rather a confusing code, I admit, but in 156 time we mastered it, all but Reddy and Fred, who never would learn, but instead used the wigwag code, letting a short flash stand for 1, a long flash for 2 and a double long flash for 3.
The Double Mirror Instrument.
Our heliographing instrument did excellent service sending
flashes from the cliff to the island, but we couldn’t make
it work very well sending messages from the island to the
cliff, because we had to face almost due north, and then the
sun was nearly always at our backs and couldn’t shine squarely
on the mirror. This led to our building a double mirrored
heliograph the following summer. To begin with, we built
an instrument which was the exact duplicate of our first
heliograph; then, in addition, to fit in the socket of the sighting
rod, we rigged up a second mirror, which was mounted
in exactly the same way as the first. The second mirror was
called the station mirror, and differed from the other, or sun
mirror, in having a small patch of white paper pasted at the center instead of a peep hole. When using this instrument, we set it up so that the station mirror faced the ledge, then by sighting through the hole in the sun mirror at the 157 reflection in the station mirror we could see just what was in focus. The station mirror had to be moved until the patch at its center hid the ledge from view. After that the sun mirror was shifted until the shadow spot fell on the white patch of the station mirror. When once the station mirror was focused, it could be clamped tightly in place by screwing up the trunnion and swivel nuts. But the sun mirror had to be constantly shifted to keep the shadow on the patch. Another way of focusing the mirrors was to stand behind the instrument with the head close to the station mirror, shift the
sun mirror until the entire station mirror was reflected in it, with the white patch squarely over the unsilvered spot; then still looking at the sun mirror, the station mirror was shifted until the reflection of the distant station was brought squarely in line with the unsilvered spot on the mirror. The station mirror was now firmly bolted and the sun mirror adjusted until the shadow spot fell on the paper patch.
As our vacation was drawing to a close, we began to make plans for the Christmas holidays. Our previous Christmas vacation had been so completely taken up with preparations for the trip to Willow Clump Island that we had had no time for the trip itself. We resolved this time to have everything ready beforehand, so that we could spend the entire two weeks in solid pleasure. Our skate sails and snow shoes were stored in the attic, ready for use. If we were to make a trip in the snow we would need a sledge, and then, too, we wanted to make an ice boat. It would hardly pay to build these on the island and then cart them home, so it was decided to break up camp a couple of weeks before school commenced.
Consequently, on the first day of September we gathered up our belongings, corraled our chickens, packed our goods, and the next day started for home. Mr. Schreiner, in response to a letter from the secretary, came down with a large wagon in which the majority of the things were packed. 159 The rest of our luggage was stowed in the scow and the canoes, and these were towed down the canal, as before. We reached home late in the afternoon, tired and hungry. It was a treat to sit at the table again and eat some of Mother’s appetizing dishes. And say, wasn’t that pie great, though! My, how ravenous we were! And then a soft, comfortable bed with spotless white sheets and pillow cases. How soundly we did sleep that night! You can just bet we were all glad enough to get back to civilization, though, of course, no one could have dragged out the confession from a single one of us.
The Ice Boat.
School commenced on the 20th of September that year,
so we hadn’t much time to spare. Work was begun immediately
on the ice boat. Our first ice boat was rather a
crude one. A 2 by 4 inch scantling 14 feet long was
used for the backbone of the boat. The scantling was
placed on edge, and to lighten it and improve its appearance it was tapered fore and aft from a point 4 feet from the bow end. The thickness of the ends of the backbone was but 2 inches, as shown in Fig. 163. To the under edge of the 160 backbone, 5 feet from the forward end, a crosspiece was nailed. This crosspiece was a 1-inch board 6 inches wide and 9 feet long. Braces were then
run from the ends of the crosspiece to the forward and rear ends of the backbone, and at the rear end several boards nailed across the braces served as a seat for the boat.
Our next task was to rig up the runners. For these we
used skates, which were so arranged that we could remove
them whenever we wanted to. Three blocks of wood were
used for the runner shoes. Two of
them were cut from a 2 by 4 scantling and measured a foot in length. The third block was only 1 inch thick, but was otherwise of the same dimensions. The skates were laid face downward on the blocks with the clamping levers open; then we marked the places where the clamping jaws touched the wood and drilled holes at these points. The forward end of each block was also tapered off to fit flat against the face of the skate. Then by inserting the jaws
in the holes and closing the levers, the skate was clamped to the block, just as it 161 would be to a shoe. The two 2-inch blocks were bolted to the ends of the crosspiece, but the third block needed further attention, as it was to be used for the rudder or steering runner.
The rudder post was shaped from a block of hardwood
3 inches square and 10 inches long. Two inches from the
lower end saw cuts were made in
the side of the block to a depth of 3/4 inch. Then with a chisel the sides were split off, forming a large pin with a square shank 8 inches long. Next the corners of the shank were cut off, rounding it to a diameter of 1-1/2 inches. The runner block was fastened securely to the head of the rudder post with screws. A 1-1/2-inch hole was now drilled into the backbone at the stern end to receive the rudder post. A tiller was next cut out of a 1-inch board to the shape shown in Fig. 167. A slot was
cut in the end of the tiller, and the latter fitted snugly over the top of the post, where it was held in place by screws threaded in through the sides.
The mast of our boat was a pole
8 feet long, tapering from a diameter
2 inches at the base to 1-1/2 inches at the top. A step for the
mast was cut from a 2 by 4 block 8 inches long. A 2-inch
hole was drilled into the face of this block. We had no drill
large enough to bore this hole, but accomplished the same
result by drilling eight 1/2-inch holes inside of a 2-inch circle 162
(Fig. 168), and then used a chisel to cut off the projecting
pieces. The mast step was firmly bolted to the backbone
at its thickest part, that is, just four feet
from the forward end. The mast was braced with stay ropes stretched from the top to the forward end of the backbone and to the ends of the crosspiece. A 9-foot pole, tapering from 1-1/2 inches to 1 inch in diameter, was used for the boom of the mainsail, and for the gaff we used a 6-foot pole of the same diameter.
The dimensions of the mainsail are given in Fig. 169.
For mast hoops we used curtain rings. Five were attached
to the sail along the luff, and one was fastened with a piece
of leather to the end of the gaff. We used a different scheme
for holding the boom to the mast. The forward end of the boom was flattened at the sides and a couple of cheek blocks were bolted on, forming jaws of the shape indicated in 163 Fig. 170. The jaws were whittled out to fit nicely around
the mast, and were kept from slipping off by a piece of rope passed around the mast and threaded through the ends of the cheek blocks. Half a dozen small pulley blocks were now procured, of the type used on awnings. A rope called the throat halyard was strung from the throat or forward end of the gaff through a pulley block near the top of the mast, and led down to the backbone, where it was “belayed,” or wrapped around a cleat. The cleat, which was whittled out of a stick of wood, was made in the form indicated in Fig. 171. A short length of rope was strung through a pulley block and tied with some slack to the upper end and to the center of the gaff. This rope is called a “bridle,” and to the pulley block on this “bridle” a rope was attached called the “peak halyard.” The peak halyard was passed through a pulley block at the top of the mast, and belayed on a cleat at the side of the backbone. For the main sheet (that is, the rope used for guiding the mainsail) two pulley blocks were fastened to the backbone, one just in front of the seat and the other a few feet further forward, and two more were lashed to the boom, midway between these blocks. The sheet was fastened near the aft end of the backbone and then strung through the blocks in the order illustrated, the free end of the sheet being brought back to the seat, where a cleat was provided, to which it could be secured when desired.
164The jib-sail was now
cut out to the dimensions given in
Fig. 172. The foot of the sail was lashed to a jib-boom
3 feet 4 inches long. The jib-boom was attached
to the backbone at its fore end by means of a
couple of screw eyes. The eye of one of
these was pried open, linked through the
other and then closed again. One of
the screw eyes was now screwed into
the head of the jib-boom and the other
was threaded into the end of the backbone.
The upper corner or “head”
of the jib was tied to a jib-halyard, which passed through a
block at the top of the mast, and was secured on a cleat on the
backbone. On the jib we used two sheets. They were attached
to the end of the jib-boom and passed on opposite sides of the mast through blocks on the crosspiece to the stern of the boat, where separate cleats were provided for them.
This completed our ice boat, and a 165 very pretty little boat she was. It was with great reluctance that we furled the sails, unstepped the mast, and stowed away the parts in our attic until old Jack Frost should wake up and furnish us with a field of smooth ice.
Our sledge was patterned after a picture of one used by
Peary in one of his Arctic expeditions. First we got four
strips of hickory 1 inch thick, 1-1/2 inches wide and 8 feet
long for the runners and side rails. Beginning 18 inches
from the ends, each stick was tapered gradually to a thickness
of 1/2 an inch. Then we made eight spreaders or
spacing blocks, each 1-1/2 inches thick, 2-1/2 inches wide and 11 inches long. In each end a notch 1/2 inch deep was cut to receive the runners and side rails. In the edge of each block, midway of its length, a slot 1 inch deep was cut to receive the cross sticks of the sledge. First we nailed the runners and rails to the blocks, fastening them with screws, spacing the blocks 16 inches from the ends, and 20 inches apart from center to center. Then we bent the ends of the rails and runners together, fastening them with bolts, as in Fig. 175. Four crosspieces, or floor beams, were cut out of a 1-inch board, each 2 inches wide and 30 inches long. These were fitted into the slots in the space blocks and secured with screws. A cross stick 166 was also fastened between the rails and runners at the forward end. On the floor beams we nailed a flooring of 1/2-inch slats, 2 inches wide and 6 feet long. At the rear end these slats projected 8 inches beyond the last space block
and over them a cross slat was nailed. A stick of hickory 4-1/2 feet long was soaked in hot water, as described on page 39, and was bent to an U-shape. The ends were then fitted over the first cross stick, and under the first floor supports, and securely nailed in place. Another stick of hickory 6 feet long was similarly bent, and the ends slipped over the rear cross slats and fitted against the rear space blocks, in which position the stick was securely nailed.
It was our intention to shoe the runners
with strips of brass, but these were not
procurable in our village, and we had no time to go down to
Millville. However, the village blacksmith came to our rescue and shod our sledge with sleigh runner iron.
167We had planned to make two more devices for our winter sports–a toboggan and a peculiar looking contrivance called a “rennwolf,” a picture of which Dutchy happened to unearth in one of his father’s books. Unfortunately Bill and I had to return to school before either of these was completed. However, the work was entrusted to Reddy, who was quite handy with tools, and Jack, who was made secretary pro tempore, took notes on the work.
The toboggan was made of light flexible hickory boards,
1/4 of an inch thick, 6 inches wide and 8 feet long. Three
of these boards were used, and they were fastened together
with cross sticks or battens, about 3 inches wide and 1/2 an
inch thick. There were six of these battens spaced about
15 inches apart, and secured to the floor boards with flathead
screws introduced from the under side and countersunk so
that the heads would not project below the bottom of the
toboggan. At the forward end we screwed on a head piece
of oak, 3/4 of an inch thick, 1-1/2 inches wide and 20 inches
long. The head piece was fastened to the under side of the
boards, so that when they were curved up into a hood it
would lie on top. The ends of the head piece, which projected
1 inch each side of the boards, were notched to hold
the rope, which was tied fast after the boards had been
steamed. The boards were steamed by wrapping them in
burlap for a distance of 2 feet from the forward end, and 168
pouring boiling water over them, as was done with the
snow shoes (page 39). Before bending the boards we had fixed screw eyes in the ends of each batten, except the forward one; a rope had been strung through these screw eyes and the ends were now tied to the head piece and drawn tight so as to bend the boards into a graceful curve. In this way the ropes were of service not only for curving the front end into a hood, but also for side rails, to hold on by when shooting swiftly around curves.
The runners of the rennwolf were made of hickory strips, 1 inch thick, 2 inches wide and 8 feet long. At their forward ends these strips were tapered down to a thickness of 1/2 an inch and curved upward. About 30 inches from the rear end of each runner an upright post was nailed. The post 169 was 3 feet long and was braced by a diagonal brace 24 inches long, as shown in Fig. 179. A tie bar was nailed to the post about 6 or 8 inches from the bottom and connected with the forward curved end of the runner.
The two runners were now placed parallel to each other about 18 inches apart, and connected by four cross bars, one at the forward end, and three on the upright posts, in about the positions illustrated. The upper cross bar was extended 6 inches beyond the posts at each side, and served as a handle for guiding the queer craft. An 18-inch square board was used for the seat of the rennwolf. It rested on the second cross-bar of the post about 12 inches from the runners, and the forward end was supported on legs nailed to the tie bars. On each runner back of the posts a loop of leather was nailed, large enough to receive the toe of one shoe.
When using this odd sled one foot would rest on the runner with the toe in the strap, and by kicking out against the snow or ice with the other foot the rennwolf would be made to spin along at a rapid rate. Of course, when coasting both feet would rest on the runners and the sled was steered by an occasional side push at the right or left. Owing to the 170 great length of the runners the rennwolf would easily ride over uneven surfaces and thin spots in the ice.
In order to provide a better hold for the propelling foot, we fastened around the toe a strap of leather, through which a number of long tacks projected. Their sharp points would stick into the ice, and prevent the foot from slipping. The seat of the rennwolf was convenient for carrying a coat or any light luggage, and it was often used to give a friend a very exhilarating ride.
I am afraid we were not very glad to get back to school that fall. It seemed very hard to give up the sport we had been having, and our heads were brimful of new schemes which we could hardly wait to put into practice. But we soon learned that there are many things that could be done during recreation hours at school. We had intended building a cave on our island that summer, but our vacation came to an end before we got around to it. There seemed no reason why we shouldn’t dig one in the woods at the back of the schoolhouse.
Bill had read somewhere that if you dig a cave under a tree the roots of the tree will support the ground on top and make a natural and substantial roof. It sounded very reasonable, we thought; in fact, we never questioned the truth of the statement, because we had somehow gotten the notion that books were never wrong, and that whatever was set up in type must surely be so. But events proved that the man who wrote that book had never attempted to build a cave in the manner he described, at least not in the loose, 172 sandy soil of south Jersey. A large spreading cedar was selected as the tree which should support the roof of our cave. It was situated on a mound at the edge of the woods. First a passageway, or ditch, was dug at the bottom, and then we begun tunneling in the side of the mound under the roots of the tree. For a while the ground above held, and our tunnel had reached a length of about four feet, when suddenly, without the slightest warning, the sandy soil gave way and we were engulfed. Bill, who was furthest within the cave, was almost entirely covered, while I was buried to the shoulders. A crowd of boys came to our assistance and dug us out. Poor Bill was almost smothered before they scooped the sand away from around his mouth and nose. The boys made slow work of it, having to dig with their hands and a couple of shingles, because the two spades we had were buried with us at the bottom of the cave.
Of course, this little episode gave us a scare, but it was only temporary. We swore every one to secrecy, so that Mr. Clark, the principal, wouldn’t hear of the mishap and suppress any further cave building. It was obvious that the only roof we could depend on for our cave would be a wooden roof. If we had been at Willow Clump Island we would have gotten any amount of slabs from the lumber mills across the river.
One of our schoolmates, a day scholar, came to the rescue. His name was Chester Hill, a little bit of a chap, about the shortest for his age that I have ever seen. His name was so at variance to his size that we called him “Hillock,” for 173 short. Now Hillock lived on a farm about eight miles from school, and used to drive in every day on a farm wagon. He had helped us dig the cave under the cedar tree, and when he learned that we would need some lumber to build a safe cave, he told us that he had an uncle who owned a lumber mill on the Morris River, from whom he was sure we could get all the slabs we wanted. Of course, we were delighted, and laid our plans for an elaborate cave house. Hillock promised to be on hand on the following Saturday afternoon with his load of lumber.
Excavating for the Cave.
We immediately set out to make the necessary excavation. The side of a bushy knoll was chosen as a suitable site. First we carefully transplanted the bushes that grew in the square we had marked out for the cave, and cutting the sod into squares, piled it all neatly to one side. Then we shoveled away the top-soil and heaped it up for future use. After that we dug away the sandy subsoil. The cave proper we planned to make about 8 feet by 10 feet, with a passageway 2 feet wide and 6 feet long, leading in from a large bush at the base of the knoll. Our excavation was therefore somewhat T-shaped (see Fig. 182). At the deepest part we had to dig down about 10 feet.
174The digging was all
done by Saturday, when Hillock
pulled up with a big load of slabs. Slabs are a very unsatisfactory
kind of wood for most purposes. Being the outside
cut, they are usually very irregular and weak in spots. In
many places they are almost clear bark. Of course, had our
pocketbooks permitted, we would have used stout scantlings
for the corner posts of our cave house and substantial boards
for the walls, roof and flooring, but we had to be content
with materials at hand. Eight of the best slabs were selected
for our corner posts; four of them we cut to the length of
8 feet and the others to a length of 6 feet. The long slabs
were set up at the rear of the cave, two at each corner, one
flat against the rear wall, with its edge buried in the corner,
and the other against the side wall, with its edge tight against
the rear slab, as in Fig. 183. The same was done at the
175 forward corners with the shorter slabs. A couple of slabs were now set up on each side of the passageway, and a corresponding pair against the rear wall. The upper and lower ends of the uprights were then connected with slabs, called stringpieces.
The sides were now boarded up with upright slabs nailed
to the stringpieces. An opening 3 feet 6 inches high was left
in the forward wall for a passageway. Several slabs were
now placed on the edge across the bottom of the cave, to 176 serve as floor beams, upon which a flooring of slabs was laid. Next the rafters were set in place, one on each upright slab. Slots were cut in the ends of the uprights to receive the rafters, which were slabs placed on edge. As the forward uprights were 2 feet shorter than the rear ones, the rafters were given a good slant, so that the roof would properly shed any water that might soak in through the ground above.
The roof was laid on the same way that we had made the roof of our tree house; that is, a slab was first nailed at the forward end of the rafters with its edge projecting far enough to make a good eave; then the second slab was nailed on, with its edge overlapping the first, and a third with its edge overlapping the second, and so on with the rest. At the rear end of the roof a hole was cut, into which we fitted a piece of stovepipe. We didn’t plan to have a fire in the house, but set the stovepipe in place to provide the necessary ventilation. As the pipe had an elbow in it, there was no danger of rain or dirt falling through it. The upper end of the stovepipe was concealed among some rocks at the top of the knoll.
A suitable flooring was now laid in the passageway, and the sides were boarded up to a height of 2 feet from the 177 floor at the entrance to a height of 3 feet 6 inches at the inner end. A roof of slabs was nailed on, and then we were ready to cover our slab house with dirt.
Covering the Cave.
We avoided piling on the dirt very deep, because there was danger of breaking in the roof with a heavy load. A thin layer of sand covered with the top-soil brought up the level to about that of the rest of the knoll. Then the sod was laid back in place and well watered, and the few bushes planted back in their original positions. Our sodding should have been done in the spring for best results. The frost soon killed the grass, and the bushes withered away. But a few cents’ worth of grass seed was sowed in, and in time gave the knoll a very natural appearance. A bush at the bottom concealed the entrance of the cave, so that no one who was not in the secret would have suspected that beneath that innocent looking knoll were gathered the members of the 178 “Big Bug Club.”
The Big Bug Club.
Of course, we had to organize a secret society, to occupy our subterranean dwelling. In that I fear we overstepped the rules of the school. Of course, Mr. Clark knew of our cave, in fact he visited us there once, lowering his dignity sufficiently to squeeze into the narrow passageway, and playing Bill a game of chess at our club table. He seemed 179 quite pleased with our work, and complimented us very highly on the masterful way in which we had built the underground house. We told him that we had organized a club of the older fellows to play indoor games and have occasional spreads, but we did not tell him that most of our spreads were held at the dead of night, when there was no moon and the stars were hidden by clouds. At 10 o’clock each night the bell rang for us to turn out our lights, and after that the six members would each, in turn, keep a half-hour watch, that is, first one would sit up and try to keep awake for half an hour, after which he would waken the next fellow, who at the end of a half hour would rouse the third, and so on, until 1 o’clock, when the sixth watcher would wake up the entire club. Then we would all creep out the back window in the hall, onto the roof of the rear annex of the schoolhouse, and thence climb down a rope ladder to the ground.
I suppose we could have just as easily have tiptoed downstairs and out the back door, but it would have spoiled the romance of it all. The absolute stillness and the pitch-black darkness of the night were awe-inspiring. The roll of a pebble or the crack of a twig under foot would set us all atingle as we stole out to our cave house. Sometimes the night was so black that we could hardly find the entrance of the cave. Once inside, in the light of a few candles, the 180 nervous tension was relieved, and we reveled in a banquet of cold victuals and dainties, purchased out of the monthly club dues. Our meetings in the cave lasted scarcely half an hour. In fact, the meeting, and even the banquet, were mere incidentals. The main enjoyment consisted in stealing out to the cave and back again, always at the risk of getting caught. Usually when we got to bed again we would be too excited to fall asleep right away, and when we did finally drop off our sleep was so sound that several times the breakfast bell caught one or more of us still napping.
The Club Pin.
The only other charm our secret club afforded was the wearing of a mysterious club pin. It was a silver beetle, with the letter G engraved on the head and the letter B on the body, while down the center of the back was the letter I (see Fig. 187). In public we called ourselves the G. I. B.’s, but it was only the initiated members who knew that these letters were to be read backward, and, with the beetle on which they were engraved, signified the “Big Bugs.” Of course, we had some secret signs and signals, a secret hand grasp, a peculiar whistle as a warning to run, another meaning “lie still,” and a third signifying “all is well.”
The Combination Lock.
181We found it necessary
to close the entrance of our cave
with a door fastened with a padlock, so as to keep meddlers
out. The entire school had watched us build the cave house,
and, of course, knew just where our entrance lay. Then, in
addition to the outer door, we put in another one, half-way
down the dark passageway. On this Bill rigged up a simple
combination lock which would baffle any one who managed
to pick the padlock. This inner door opened outward. It
was hinged to the floor of the passageway, and swung up
against a frame set in the passageway. At the top was a
board whose lower edge lay flush with the edge of the door
when it was closed. For the combination lock we used a
couple of spools, each with one head cut off and the central
hole plugged up with a stick of wood. In the floor and the
top board of the frame, holes were drilled just large enough
for the shanks of the spools to fit snugly in them. Next we
made a trip to a hardware store for a file and a couple of
large copper washers, about 1-1/4 inches in diameter. The washers were fastened to the inner ends of the spools after they had been pushed through the hole. The washer on the door came just to the edge of the door, while the other extended below the door frame and lapped under the door washer. Then in the edge of the washer on the frame a notch was filed, while in the other washer two notches were filed, so as to leave a tooth which fitted snugly into the notch of the first washer (see Figs. 188, 189). The door was
182 locked by turning both the washers until the notch and tooth came in line with each other, then pushing the tooth through the notch, and turning the washers so that the frame washer hooked over the door washer. Then the door could be opened only when the tooth and notch were brought in line.
On the head of each spool
we pasted a disk of white
cardboard, the edge of which
was graduated, as in Fig. 190.
Then we had a secret combination,
say 11-19, which
meant that when the spools
were turned so that the number
11 on the door spool came
in line with the number 19 on the frame spool the tooth and
notch would be in line, and the door could then be opened. Of course, this combination was known to the members of the club only, and any one outside who tried to open the door might have tried for some time without bringing the tooth and notch into line with each other. Occasionally we changed the combination by loosening the screws which held the washers, and turning them so that the notch and tooth came opposite different numbers on the dials. This was done so that if any one should chance to learn our combination he could not make use of it very long.
“Hello, Dutchy! What in thunder have you got there?”
It was Bill who spoke. We were on our way home for the winter holidays, and had been held up at Millville by Reddy Schreiner, who had informed us that Dutchy was down by the river with the boat to give us a sail up to Lamington.
A vision of a fleet ice boat skimming up the river at express train speed swam before our eyes. But the next moment, as we turned the corner into River Street, we were surprised by the sight of our old scow just off the pier at anchor, and in open water. It was rigged up with a jib and mainsail, which were flapping idly in the wind. It had also been altered by decking over the top, with the exception of a small cockpit, evidently for the purpose of keeping out the water when she heeled over under the wind. We were disappointed and quite annoyed at not finding the ice boat on hand; furthermore, our annoyance was considerably heightened by Dutchy’s broad grin of evident delight at our discomfiture. “The river wasn’t all frozen over,” he explained, “and we couldn’t bring the ice boat down, so we rigged up the scow and she came down splendidly.”
A Sail in the Scow.
184There was nothing to do but to jump in, though I, for one, would have taken the train in preference had there been one inside of two hours. Dutchy, however, seemed to be in a surprisingly good humor, and kept up a lively chatter about things that the club had made in our absence. The skis, which have already been described on page 42, had been built under Reddy’s guidance, and they had already used them on Willard’s Hill, coasting down like a streak and shooting way up into the air off a hump at the bottom. Then there was the toboggan slide down Randall’s Hill, and way across the river on the ice.
Our Craft Strikes the Ice.
Dutchy talked so incessantly that we hadn’t noticed the field of ice which we were nearing. Just at this point Bill turned around with an exclamation.
“Here, Dutchy, you crazy fellow, where are you going to? Hard to port, man–hard aport–or you will crash into the ice!”
But Dutchy only grinned nervously.
“I tell you, you will smash the boat!” Bill cried again, making a dive for the steering oar; but just then the boat struck the ice, and both Bill and I were thrown backward into the bottom of the boat. But the boat didn’t smash.
185There was a momentary grinding and crunching noise, and, much to my surprise, I found that the old scow had lifted itself clean out of the water, and was skating right along on the ice. Then Dutchy could control himself no longer. He laughed, and laughed, as if he never would stop. He laughed until the steering oar dropped from his hands, and the old scow, with the head free, swung around and plunged off the ice ledge with a heavy splash into the open water again. Then Reddy, who was almost equally convulsed, came to his senses. “Now you’ve done it, Dutchy; you’re a fine skipper, you are! How do you expect to get us back to shore again?” The steering oar was left behind us on the ice, and there we were drifting on the open water, with no rudder and no oar to bring us back.
The Scooter Scow.
The only thing we could do was to wait until the wind or current carried us to the ice or land. In the meantime Dutchy, who had suddenly sobered down when we took our water plunge, explained how he had rigged up the scow to travel both on ice and on water. He called the rig a sled boat, but the name by which such a rig is now known is a “scooter.” It was Dutchy’s idea primarily, but Reddy had engineered the work. Along the bottom of the 186 scow two strips of hickory had been nailed to serve as runners. The hickory strips had been bent up at the forward end, as shown in Fig. 191. Each runner was shod with a strip of brass, fastened on with flathead screws, which were countersunk, so that the heads should not project below the brass. This virtually made a sledge out of the old scow, and didn’t spoil it for use on the water.
A Sprit Sail.
A sprit sail and
jib were rigged up.
The dimensions of
these sails, which
were taken from a
book in Mr. Van
are given in the
sheet of heavy
muslin was made
to measure 7 feet
square, as indicated by dotted lines in the drawing; then the
corners were cut off along the full lines shown in the illustration.
The edges were now hemmed all around, and the lower
edge of the sail was lashed to a boom, 7 feet 6 inches long.
To the luff were attached a number of mast rings, which were 187
slipped over a stout mast projecting about 5 feet 6 inches
above the deck of the boat. The peak of the sail was held
up by a spar called a sprit. The sprit was sharpened at each end, and the point at the upper end was inserted in a loop of heavy cord fastened to the peak of the sail, while the lower point of the sprit rested in the loop of a rope on the mast, called a “snotter.” The snotter was a short piece of rope with a loop at each end. It was wrapped around the mast, as shown in the drawing, with one loop holding it in place, like a slip knot, and the other supporting the end of the sprit. A single halyard was used to raise this sail. It was
attached to the boat and passed over a block in the mast. When raising the sail it was first partly hoisted, then the sprit was hooked in the loop and the snotter, after which the throat halyard was drawn taut. Then the snotter was pulled up the mast as far as it would go, flattening out the sail. The jib-sail was made out of the large corner piece left when cutting the mainsail. The dimensions of the jib-sail are given in Fig. 194. It was such a small sail that no boom was used with it. In place of a rudder the steering oar had to be 188 used. This was made of a rake handle with a large trowel blade fastened to the end of it. The sharp blade cut into the ice, and so steered the scow when it was running as an ice boat, and in the water the blade offered sufficient resistance to act as a rudder.
But to return to our sail home to Lamington, we were not out on the open water long before the current carried us back to the ice ledge. Reddy jumped off and soon returned with the steering oar; then we proceeded on our way homeward, now in the water and now on ice. Once or twice the scow was unable to climb out of the water, because she had not sufficient headway, and was clumsy and heavy with four boys aboard. Then we had to push off until we could get a sufficient start. It struck me that while Dutchy was quite clever to think of such a rig, yet it was very clumsy and capable of much improvement. Bill wasn’t saying very much all this time, and I could see he was doing a lot of thinking. Evidently he was planning some improvement, but Bill was a very considerate fellow, and did not want to spoil Dutchy’s pleasure just then by telling him how much better a scooter he might have built. It wasn’t until after supper, when a meeting of the S. S. I. E. E. of W. C. I. was called, that Bill came out with his scheme.
A Meeting of the Society.
189“Why not mount the sailing canoe on runners, instead of the scow? You would have a very light rig then, and it would sail like a streak.”
“Mr. President,” said Reddy, “your plan sounds first-rate, but how are you going to fasten runners onto the canoe?”
“I’ve thought all that out,” replied Bill. “If we can only get hold of a pair of sleigh runners it won’t take long to rig up the sled boat.”
Dutchy, who had looked rather crestfallen at a suggestion of an improvement on his pet invention, now suddenly brightened up.
“I know where we can get the sleigh runners!” he exclaimed. “Dad has an old ramshackle sleigh in the barn that is just falling to pieces with dry rot. I’ll ask him for it to-night.”
“Do you think you can get it?” inquired Bill.
“I guess so,” Dutchy answered, rather doubtfully. “But say, suppose we send a delegation to see him about it?”
An Interview with Mr. Van Syckel.
This was agreed upon, and in the morning, as soon as breakfast had been downed, the entire society marched in a body into Mr. Van Syckel’s library. I was appointed spokesman, with Bill to back me, while the rest of the party 190 were strung out behind, with Dutchy bringing up the rear. Mr. Van Syckel was not the man to take much interest in boys’ work, but we happened to strike him at the right moment, and before our interview was over we had told him all our experiences of the summer before and all our plans for the future. Then we did a good turn for Dutchy, too. Mr. Van Syckel had always considered his boy a “know-nothing,” and was very much surprised to find that he had invented the scooter scow. Why, he actually seemed proud of his son, much to Dutchy’s embarrassment. After that there was no trouble about getting the sleigh runners, and Mr. Van Syckel forgot the objections he had offered at first.
The Scooter Canoe.
Naturally we were very much elated at our success, and straightway made for the barn, where we began operations on the scooter canoe. The sleigh was an old-fashioned affair, with rather broad wooden runners. First we removed the body of the sleigh, and then the runners were cut down to a height of about 15 inches. We spaced them apart about 28 inches, and connected them with four crosspieces at the 191 top. The runners were now placed over our larger canoe, with forward ends about on a line with the mast, and the crosspieces were fastened with screws to the gunwales. As an additional security, a pair of crosspieces were now run under the canoe at each end and fastened with screws to the keel. At the bow the keel was shod with a strip of brass. The rudder was taken off the boat, and an oar lock was fastened to the stern to hold the steering oar. In place of lee boards we nailed a couple of thin boards over each 192 runner, as shown in the drawing. We were in a hurry to finish this, as our vacation was short, so we used on the scooter canoe the sails that we had made for our ice boat. This required a bowsprit, but as we had little time to spare we used the jib-boom of the ice boat, nailing it to the deck beam of the canoe. We decided that the jib-sail could be used without a boom, as we had done with the scow. The mast was braced by stays attached to the ends of the runners and bowsprit. This spread of canvas was far greater than that originally provided for sailing the canoe, but the heavy runners on each side helped to keep the boat on even keel, and then to further balance the sail a board was nailed across the aft end of the boat. This overhung the runners about 18 inches each side, and in a strong wind we could sit out on the windward end of this board, thus preventing the scooter from heeling over too far.
As soon as our scooter canoe was completed we prepared for the long-planned winter expedition to Willow Clump Island. The weather conditions were ideal. We had had ten days of steady cold weather, which had followed a heavy fall of snow, so that we could tramp up the island on snow shoes, or we could use our scooter canoe and scooter scow on the river. It was out of the question to use our skate sails or the ice boat on the river, and the canal would be serviceable only in case the wind should blow from a southerly quarter. But we stowed them on the sledge for use on Lake Placid.
On the Tuesday morning following Christmas we made the start. Bill in the scooter canoe and Dutchy in the scooter scow sailed up the river, and the rest of us, on snow shoes, took the tow path of the canal, hauling the sledge along. We carried provisions for a week and a good supply of blankets. The island was reached without mishap, except that Dutchy had to be helped several times in dragging the heavy scow around the rapids. Bill reached the island long before we did, and after unloading the canoe came racing back under a stiff breeze for a second load. Then he took his turn at 194 hauling the sledge, while Reddy sailed the reloaded scooter canoe up to the island.
Willow Clump Island in Winter.
We brought no tent with us, as we expected to take up our quarters in the straw hut. When we reached the hut we hardly recognized it. It was almost completely covered with snow and looked like an Eskimo house. The snow had drifted well up over the north side, completely closing the entrance. We had to set to work at once with a shovel and open up a passageway, and then we had to shovel out a large pile of snow that had drifted into the hut from the open doorway.
Kindling a Camp Fire.
In the meantime Jack scoured the island for some dry wood. In this he was not very successful, because everything was covered with snow, and when he tried to kindle a fire in the open space in front of our hut he found the task an exceedingly difficult one. Unfortunately we forgot to bring the oil stove with us, and the prospect of something warm to eat was exceedingly remote. We hadn’t yet learned the trick of building a camp fire in wet weather. After exhausting our stock of paper Fred and I started over to Lumberville for several newspapers and a can of kerosene. We went to old Jim Halliday’s, who had befriended us on 195 one or two occasions the previous summer, and made known to him our troubles.
“What! A can of oil to build yer fire with? Well, ye won’t git it from me. I know a man as got blowed up apourin’ oil on a fire. Why, shucks, boys, you don’t need no oil ner paper nuther on that there island. Its chuck-full of silver birch trees, and there ain’t no better kindlin’ than birch bark.”
Birch bark! Why, yes, why hadn’t we thought of that? We had used it for torches the summer before and knew how nicely it burned. So back we skated to camp, and then, peeling off a large quantity of bark from the birch trees around us, we soon had a rousing big fire in front of the hut.
The Outdoor Fireplace.
But there were more things to be learned about open fires. In our summer outing Jack had done most of his cooking on a kerosene stove, and he soon found that it was a very different matter to cook over an unsheltered fire. The heat was constantly carried hither and thither by the gusts of wind, so that he could scarcely warm up his saucepans. We had to content ourselves with cold victuals for the first meal, but before the next meal time came around 196 we had learned a little more about fire building. Two large logs were placed about 10 inches apart, and the space between them was filled in with pieces of bark and small twigs and sticks. The back of the fireplace was closed with stones. One touch of a match was enough to kindle the fire, and in a moment it blazed up beautifully. The logs at the sides and the stones at the back prevented the wind from scattering the flames in all directions, and a steady draft poured through the open end of the fireplace and up through the heart of the fire. The side logs were so close together that our cooking utensils could be supported directly on them.
A Stone-paved Fireplace.
The following summer we continued our open fireplace
experiments. Instead of using logs we drove stakes into
the ground, forming a small circular stockade about 2 feet
high and 3 feet in diameter. A paving of small stones covered the floor of the fireplace, and a lining of stones was laid against the wall. The stakes were driven in on a slant, as illustrated in Fig. 198, so as to better support the stone lining. A break in the stockade at one side let in the necessary draft. Two of the stakes on opposite sides of the fire were made extra long, and were crotched at their upper ends. They served to support the cross stick from which our kettles were hung. This form of fireplace was more satisfactory for baking than the one in which logs were used for the side walls, because the stone lining retained the heat much 197 longer. To bake biscuit, a pot of beans, or the like, the ashes would be drawn away from the stone paving and the pot placed directly on the hot stones, after which it was covered with hot embers and ashes.
A Cold Night in the Hut.
But to return to our experiences on the island. We found it very cold on the first night in the hut. We were afraid to build a fire inside lest the straw thatchings would catch fire, and so we huddled together in the corner, rolled up tightly in our blankets. But it was cold, nevertheless. We had no door to close the opening into the hut, and instead had piled up branches of cedar and hemlock against the doorway. But a bitterly cold northwest wind was blowing down the river, and we couldn’t keep warm, no matter what we did. Most of the boys were ready to go right home, but we stuck it out until the morning, and then after we had toasted ourselves before a blazing bright fire, and had eaten a hot breakfast, we forgot much of the discomfort of the night and were ready for more “fun.” We thought we would spend the next night in our tree house, and so, right after breakfast, 198 we packed up our blankets and some provisions and started for the Jacob’s Ladder.
Each fellow was provided with a pair of ice creepers of the same sort as we had used in connection with the rennwolf (see page 170). In addition to this each boy was provided with a home-made alpine stock, consisting of a stout wooden stick in the end of which a large nail was driven and the head filed off. Thus equipped we came to the foot of the cliff, and much to our delight found it one mass of ice from top to bottom. Now was our chance to try some Swiss mountain climbing. Bill took the lead, with an old hatchet in his hand, to hack out any necessary footholds in the ice wall, and the rest of us strung out behind him tied to a long rope, each boy about 10 or 12 feet from the one ahead. Bill cautioned us to keep our distance, holding the rope taut in one hand, so that if a fellow stumbled he could be kept from falling either by the one in front or by the one behind.
“Besides,” he said, “if the rope drags on the ice, it is liable to be cut or worn so that it will break when any strain was put on it.”
Now, one would think from all these precautions that we were launched on a perilous expedition. That was the impression we were trying to make on ourselves, though, as a matter of fact, any one of us could have climbed the cliff unaided and without any ice implements if he had used 199 ordinary care not to slip on the ice-clad ladder rounds or the snow-covered ledges.
A Poor Shelter.
The climb was without mishap and we reached our tree house, only to find it so badly racked by storm and weather that it was clearly out of the question to attempt to spend the night there. The wind howled around the house and whistled through dozens of cracks and chinks that had opened in the walls. All that we could do, therefore, was to turn back to the island and make the best of our straw 200 hut again. On the way, however, we stopped at Lumberville for some straw to be used for bedding. The afternoon was spent sailing around on Lake Placid and the large smooth stretch above the island.
A Costly Camp Fire.
After supper Bill and Reddy went into the hut to arrange the straw bedding, while the rest of us gathered wood for a huge bonfire in front of the hut. The wind was blowing right down the river and we expected it to carry the warmth of the fire into the hut. The fire was built some distance in front of the doorway, so as to prevent the hut from catching fire. But we had evidently miscalculated the strength of the wind, for no sooner was the fire fairly started than a shower of flaming brands was blown right into the hut. In a moment the straw blazed up, cutting off all escape for Bill and Reddy. Fortunately the framing was not strong and the frost had loosened up the foundations, so that a few frantic kicks opened an exit in the rear of the hut just in time to save our comrades from cremation. Once it was fairly started we were powerless to put out the blaze until the hut was ruined. The snow that covered the walls checked the fire somewhat, but the thatching burned from the inside, melting the snow and dropping it suddenly into the flaming straw bedding on the floor. As we sat in a gloomy ring about the camp fire, watching the tongues of flame play about the charred ribs of our hut, we had reason 201 to be thankful that the wind had played its pranks before we turned in for the night. What a risk we had run of being all burned to death! It made me shudder to think of it. Well, our hut was burned. What next? That was the question put before the society.
“Might build a snow hut,” suggested Dutchy.
“Now, be sensible,” answered Reddy. “We can’t build a snow hut in five minutes.”
“The best plan,” I volunteered, “would be to go over to Jim Halliday’s and ask him to let us sleep in his barn.”
Immediately the suggestion was acted upon.
A Friend in Time of Trouble.
Old Jim Halliday greeted us very gruffly. He said he wouldn’t have us in his barn. “You’ll be amussin’ up the hay so’t wouldn’t be fit fer the horses to eat. Any boy that is fool enough to build a fire on a straw bed ought to go right home to his mother, and he hadn’t oughter be trusted with matches, nuther. He might get his fingers burned.”
But I caught a twinkle in the old man’s eyes and wasn’t surprised to have him end his lecture by taking us into the kitchen and seating us around an old-fashioned log fire while “Marthy,” his daughter, made us some hot coffee to take the chill out of our bones. We didn’t sleep in the barn that night. The Hallidays had only one spare bed, hardly enough for six boys, and the old man didn’t want to be partial to any two of us, but his daughter solved the difficulty by 202 dragging down two large feather mattresses and laying them on the kitchen floor in front of the hearth.
Before bidding us “good night,” Mr. Halliday put on his sternest expression and bade Marthy clear out all the matches from the room.
“Jest as like as not they’ll set fire to the house,” he growled. “I expect this is my last night on airth.” And then, with a solemn warning not to hang our clothes on the flames, and to “keep them feather beds offen the embers,” he left us to a comfortable night’s rest.
In the morning, after we had disposed of all the hot griddle cakes we could eat, and had sincerely thanked our host and hostess for their hospitality, we wended our way back to the island, silently packed up our goods and started home for Lamington.
“Well, this isn’t going to happen again,” was Bill’s comment. “Next year we’ll have a log cabin on the island.”
Our winter expedition to Willow Clump Island filled us with a wholesome respect for Arctic explorers. If we could find it so uncomfortable with the thermometer only at 10 degrees above zero, what would it be to endure a temperature of 40, 50 or even 60 degrees below zero? We were interested to learn how they managed to stand it. This led to a study of the subject in Mr. Van Syckel’s library.
In one of the books Dutchy came across the description of a sleeping bag. It was made of reindeer’s skin sewed into a large bag with the fur side turned in. This bag was large enough to hold three or four sleepers, and each man was covered with a pair of woolen bags, one bag slipped inside the other. The woolen bags were made of blankets sewed together and provided with flaps at the upper ends to cover the head of the sleeper.
Of course, we had to make a sleeping bag, too. The innermost bag was made of an old quilt and the next one of a blanket that we were fortunate enough to get hold of. But when it came to the reindeer skin we were balked, until we 204 happened to run across a piece of rubber sheeting at the village store. This was a lucky find, for I doubt if one country store in a hundred carries such stock. The piece was just large enough to cover the blanket bag and allow for an ample flap to cover the head. To be sure, this furnished a shelter for only one person, and there were six in the society. It was clear that the treasury could not afford the expense of six sleeping bags; but as such a device would be useful only under very unusual circumstances we decided that two sleeping bags would be all the society would need. We had been rather curious to explore the country back of the hills on the Pennsylvania side of the river, and with some light provisions and these sleeping bags strapped to the back a couple of boys could make quite an extended tour, unmindful of weather conditions. On real hot nights a fellow could get into the quilt bag and sleep on the blanket and waterproof bag. In cold weather the combination of all three bags provided sufficient warmth. The rubber bag would protect the sleeper from any moisture in the ground, and would also keep him thoroughly dry, even in a pouring rain.
Bill’s “Mummy Case.”
Our second sleeping bag was Bill’s own design, and was,
many respects, an improvement on the first, though it looked
ridiculously like an Egyptian mummy case. The inner bags
were just like those of the first sleeping bag, but as there was no more rubber sheeting in town we had to make the outer 205 bag of enameled cloth, such as is used for carriage curtains. Out of this cloth Bill cut a piece of the shape shown in Fig. 200 to serve as bottom, sides and ends of the sleeping bag. The bag was sewed wrong side out; that is, the piece was laid with enameled side up, and then the corners were sewed together after painting the seams with white lead. Then a
top piece was cut out, of the size indicated in Fig. 201. The edges were hemmed over a piece of rope, which thus formed a corded edge. Now, with the enameled side of the cover piece turned inward, its edges were sewed to the edges of the 206 first piece. The bag was now turned inside out, so that the enameled surface lay on the outside and the seams turned inward.
The corded edge on the cover piece lapped over the sides, forming a watershed.
It was Bill’s idea to rig up the flap in such a manner
it would not lie against the face,
so that the sleeper could
have plenty of fresh air,
even in rainy weather. This required the use of two headboards,
of the form shown in Fig. 202. The headboards
were connected at the bottom by a thin board, and to this
framework the sides of the bag were nailed. To the end
flap several cleats were nailed, adapted to fit into notches cut in the headboards. The cleat at the end of the flap was 207 laid on edge, as shown, and fitted into deep notches in the headboards just above the edge of the cover piece. This held the flap securely, preventing it from flying open in a heavy wind. At the same time the small space between the flap and the cover piece allowed for an ample supply of fresh air. When using this sleeping bag, if there was any indication of a shower, we took care to have the head pointed to windward so as to prevent entrance of rain through this air space.
The “A” Tent.
In connection with the sleeping bags it may be well to describe here a curious shelter Dutchy and I came across in one of our tramps. It was just about dusk one day when we discovered a temporary camp at which a couple of men were preparing dinner. They informed us that they were naturalists on a two weeks’ outing. At their invitation we joined 208 camp with them. They had a small “A” tent of balloon silk, under which they kept their provisions. The tent had no ridge pole, but was supported instead by a rope stretched between two trees (see Fig. 205).
A Camp Chair.
The camp was also
furnished with an easy
canvas chair, made by
driving a couple of short
posts in the ground for
front legs and a pair of
longer ones for the back. A piece of canvas was hung over
these posts, forming both seat and back. The posts were
driven into the ground on a slant, as illustrated in Fig. 206,
and the canvas was formed
with pockets at the corners
which were hooked over these
posts. This made a very comfortable chair, though, of course, it was fixed to one spot. When the men moved camp they would carry with them only the canvas piece, and at the next stopping place new posts were chopped and used for legs.
The Camp Bed.
209But what interested us most was the form of bed they had. This, like the chair, consisted of a piece of canvas arranged to be supported on posts cut from the woods in the neighborhood of the camp. The canvas piece was 3 feet wide and 6 feet long, with a wide hem at each side, forming pockets through which poles were passed, as in a stretcher. The ends of the poles were supported on posts driven into the ground. The poles were also propped up at the center, as 210 shown, the pockets being cut away and bound, so as not to permit any wear on the canvas. To prevent the posts from leaning inward under the weight of the sleeper, they were braced apart by cross sticks.
The Camp Bed in a Shower.
As a precaution
against rain, a tall post
was set up at the head
and another at the foot
of the bed, and a rope
was stretched over the
posts with the ends fastened
to stakes driven
into the ground. Over this rope a rubber “poncho”
was laid to keep off the rain. A “poncho,” by the way, is a
blanket of rubber cloth about 4-1/2 feet wide and 6 feet long,
211 in the center of which is a slit through which you can put your head; then the rubber cloth falls over you like a cape, as in
Fig. 210, and makes a perfect protection against rain. The ponchos these men had were not quite long enough to cover the whole bed, so they fastened umbrellas to the head posts, as shown in Fig. 212. During a shower in the woods the rain comes straight down in large drops, caused by the water collecting on the leaves. To prevent these large drops from splashing through the umbrellas, they laid pieces of cloth over the umbrellas, which served, like the fly of a tent, to check the fall of rain drops.
I slept in the mummy case that night and Dutchy in the first sleeping bag. It must have been about midnight when I was awakened by a most unearthly yell. It sent the cold chills running up and down my back. A second scream brought me into action, and I struggled to throw back the head flap, which had become caught. It seemed an age before I could open it and wriggle out of the bag. Dutchy was sitting up in bed with a look of horror on his face, and his whole body was in a tremor of fear. One of the men dashed a glass of water in his face, which brought him back to his senses. It 212 was only a nightmare, we found. Dutchy dreamed he had been injured in a railway accident and had been taken for dead to the morgue. He tried to let them know that he was alive, but couldn’t utter a sound, until finally he burst out with the yells that roused the camp. Then, as he awoke with the horror of the dream still on him, his eyes fell on the two stretcher beds that looked like biers and the black coffin-like sleeping bag. It was not much wonder that Dutchy was frightened. The camp did certainly have a most ghastly appearance in the vague moonlight that filtered through the trees, and it must have been still more gruesome to see the coffin and biers suddenly burst open and the corpses come running toward him. To prevent any further nightmare we set Dutchy’s sleeping bag under the “A” tent, where he would be saved the horror of again waking up in a morgue.
In the morning our friends broke camp and started westward.
Dutchy and I watched them packing up their goods
into a couple of very compact bundles, which they strapped to
their backs with a peculiar pack harness. I took careful note
of the way the harness was put together, and when we returned to the island we made two sets for use on our tramping expeditions. A canvas yoke was first cut out to the form shown in Fig. 213. We used two thicknesses of the heaviest brown canvas we could find, binding the two pieces together with tape. The yoke was padded with cotton at the shoulders 213 and a strap was fastened to each shoulder piece. These were arranged to be buckled to a pair of straps fastened to the back of the yoke and passing under the arms. Riveted to these straps were a pair of straps used for fastening on the pack. The yoke straps were attached with the rough side against the yoke, while the pack straps were riveted on with the rough side uppermost, as indicated in the drawing.
The method of riveting together the leather straps may need a word of explanation. A copper rivet was passed through a hole in the two straps; then the washer was slipped over the projecting end of the rivet. This washer had to be jammed down tight against the leather, and to do this we drilled a hole of the diameter of the rivet in a block of wood, and putting this block over the washer, with the end of the rivet projecting 214 into the hole, we hammered the block until the washer was forced down tight against the leather. Then taking a light tack hammer we battered down the end of the rivet onto the washer. Care was taken to do this hammering very lightly, otherwise the end would have been bent over instead of being flattened.
Only one thing of importance occurred between our Christmas holidays and Eastertide: this was Bill’s invention of the tricycle sailboat or land yacht. We had returned to school with sailing on the brain. Our skate sail served us well enough while there was any ice, but as spring came on we wished we had our canoe with us, or even the old scow to sail on the lakes near the school. Once we seriously considered building a sailboat, but the project was given up, as we had few facilities for such work. But Bill wasn’t easily baffled, and I wasn’t surprised to have him come tearing into the room one day, yelling, “I’ve got it! I’ve got it!” In his hands were two bicycle wheels, which I recognized as belonging to a couple of bicycles we had discarded the year before.
“What are you going to do with them?” I inquired.
“I’m going to make a tricycle sailboat.”
“A tricycle sailboat, a land boat, or anything you’ve a mind to call it. I mean a boat just like our ice boat only on bicycle wheels instead of skates. We can sail all over south Jersey on the thing. Come on down and help me build it.”
The Frame of the Yacht.
216I followed him to the shed at the back of the school and found that he had already procured a couple of scantlings for the frame of the boat. The sticks were 2 inches thick and 4 inches wide. The backbone was cut to a length of 10 feet, and a 5-foot link was sawed off for the crosspiece. The two pieces were securely nailed together about 3 feet from the forward end of the backbone. The crosspiece was set on edge, but a notch was cut in it about 1 inch deep to receive the backbone. We might have braced the frame with wooden braces, as in the ice boat, but we thought that this time we would vary the design by using wire bracing instead, thus making the frame much lighter. I asked Bill how he proposed to tighten the wire. Turnbuckles were the thing, but I knew that they were rather expensive.
“Just you leave that to me,” said Bill. “I’ve a scheme that I think will work out all right.”
A Simple Turnbuckle.
At the hardware store
of the town we bought
a pound of No. 16 iron 217
wire, eight large screw eyes and six eye bolts, with nuts and
washers. Both the screw eyes and eye bolts had welded eyes
and the shanks of the eye bolts were 6 inches long. A pair of
screw eyes were now threaded into the backbone at each side
about 18 inches from the end, and at each end of the crosspieces
an eye bolt was fastened. I began to see Bill’s plan.
He was going to draw the wire taut by tightening up the nuts
on the eye bolts. To get the best effect the hole for the eye
bolt had to be drilled in on a slant, so that the bolt would
pull directly in the line of
the wire. To get just
the right angle we ran a
cord from the screw eye on one side to the point where the bolt was to be inserted, and traced its direction on the crosspiece. The hole for the eye bolt was now drilled parallel with the mark we had traced. The same was done at the other end of the crosspiece. A pair of screw eyes were now screwed into the backbone at the fore end and a pair of eye bolts were set at a corresponding angle in the ends of the crosspiece. The crosspiece was notched at each side so that the nuts and washers on the eye bolts would have a square seating. Then we stretched on the wire guy lines, drawing them as tight as possible, with the eye bolts held in place by a turn or two of the nuts, after which we screwed up the nuts as far as we could, thus 218 drawing up the wire until it was very taut. This done the second nut was threaded onto each bolt against the first so as to lock it in place and prevent it from jarring loose.
Stepping the Mast.
Our next task was to step the mast. We found in the shed an old flagstaff 15 feet long and 3 inches in diameter. The lower end of this, for about a foot, we whittled down to a diameter of 2 inches, and drove it into a hole in the backbone 12 inches from the forward end. The mast was stayed by a wire stretched from the head to an eye bolt at the fore end of the backbone. The end of the mast which projected below the backbone was stayed with wire running forward to an eye bolt and aft to a screw eye on the backbone, and also with a pair of wires running to screw eyes threaded into the crosspiece near the ends. We couldn’t very well use eye bolts on these wires except at the fore end, but we stretched the wires as tight as possible before the screw eyes were screwed all the way in, and then, as we turned the screw eyes, the wire was wound up on them and drawn fairly taut. Fig. 219 shows a side view of the frame, and wires marked 1 and 2 are the same as illustrated in Fig. 218, which is a top or plan view of the frame.
Mounting the Frame on Bicycle Wheels.
219We were now ready to mount the frame on the bicycle wheels. We used only the front wheels of the bicycles with the forks in which they were journaled. The shanks at the top of the forks were firmly driven into holes in the crosspiece near the ends. For the steering wheel Bill took the front fork and wheel of his new bicycle, letting the shank into a hole at the stern end of the backbone.
For a tiller we used a piece of an old rake handle. A
small hole was first drilled into the handle and the end of the
stick was then split through the hole, permitting the projecting
shank of the fork to be driven tightly into the hole.
The split wood was now tightly closed onto the shank by means of a bolt (see Fig. 220). In the rubbish heap we found an old chair. The legs were sawed off and the seat was then firmly nailed to the backbone. The back of the chair was cut down so that it just cleared the tiller.
A “Leg-of-Mutton” Sail.
220Everything was now
completed but the sail.
This was a triangular or
of the dimensions
given in Fig.
222. It was
made of light canvas, 30 inches
wide, of which we bought 14 yards.
Out of this we took one strip 18
feet long, one 13 feet, one 8 feet,
and one 3 feet long. We had no
sewing machine, and therefore had
to sew the strips together
by hand. The selvedge edges of the strips
were lapped over each other about an inch
and then they were sewed together sailor
fashion, that is, each edge was
hemmed down, as shown in Fig.
223. The strips were sewed together
so that at the foot each
projected at least 21 inches
below the next shorter
one. This done, the sail
was cut to the dimensions
given, allowing 1-1/2 221
inches all around for the hem. The hem was turned over
a light rope, forming a strong corded edge. At the clew,
tack and head loops were formed in the rope which projected
from the canvas, and at intervals
along the foot the canvas was cut
away, exposing the rope so that the sail
could be laced to the boom, as illustrated.
The boom was a pole 11 feet long attached to the mast by means of a screw hook threaded into the end of the boom and hooked into a screw eye on the mast, after which the screw hook was
hammered so it would close over the screw eye to keep it from slipping off. The sail was raised by a halyard passing over a block at the top of the mast. The sheet was fastened near the end of the boom, passed through a block on the backbone, back of the tiller, and through another block on the boom, and was led to a cleat within easy reach of the chair seat.
A Sail through the Country.
222Our land yacht proved to be quite a successful craft in the flat country around the school. Of course, we could not sail everywhere; a country road is too narrow for any tacking when it comes to sailing against the wind. We hadn’t thought of that when we made our trial trip. A strong east wind was blowing and so we ventured forth on a road that led due west from our school. Off we sped before the wind for two miles, until we came to a sharp turn in the road. Then we began to think of turning homeward. But this was a very different proposition. The wind was dead against us and to try to tack from side to side of the road was useless, 223 because we would hardly get under way on one tack before we had to swing around on the other tack, losing all our momentum. It ended up by our lowering sail and ignominiously trundling the yacht back to school. After that we carefully selected our course, and never sailed away from home before the wind unless we knew of a roundabout way that would lead us back to port on a couple of reaches (long tacks).
Just before Easter that year Bill’s Aunt Dorothy invited him to spend Eastertide with her and bring along his roommate. I accepted the invitation with alacrity. Bill had once spent a whole summer at his aunt’s home, and when we arrived there he had many old haunts to visit. We spent the first day rambling through the woods, in the hills and back of the house.
He introduced me to a cave which he believed was known to only two other boys, both of whom had since moved to New York city. The mouth of the cave was almost closed by a large boulder that had lodged in front of it. We had to climb to the top of this rock, and then letting ourselves down with a rope we slid down the sloping rear face of the boulder into a crevice in the rocks. Then after squirming under a ledge we emerged into a large chamber, which appeared to be as dark as night after our sudden entrance from the outer light.
225Bill lighted a candle which projected from a chink in the wall. By its light I saw that there was a pool in the center of the cave fed from a spring at one point. From the pool the water trickled off into a tiny stream to the mouth of the cave, where it was lost in a crack in the rocks. The water was ice cold and clear as crystal. Around the pool were several chairs and a table made by Bill and his two friends. That was evidently where Bill had gotten his idea of a subterranean club.
The Barrel Stave Hammock.
226Hanging between a
couple of projecting rocks was a hammock
made of barrel staves. The hammock was a very
simple affair, made by drilling a 1-inch hole in each end of
each barrel stave. The staves were then connected by two
ropes on each side, woven alternately in and out through
these holes, that is, one rope would be passed down through
one stave, up through the next, down through the third, etc., and through the same holes another rope would be threaded in and out but in the opposite direction. The end staves of the hammock were provided with double holes, as shown in Fig. 228, so as to make them lie flat, then the ropes were threaded through them.
The Barrel Armchair.
227Aside from the hammock
the rustic furniture there was a
fine armchair, made from a
barrel that had been sawed off, as
in Fig. 229, to form the arms and
back. The barrel was raised
from the ground by setting it on
a couple of boards arranged in
the form of a V. Then a caster
was fastened to the point of the
V and another at each end, making
a three-legged chair of it.
The chair was upholstered with ticking stuffed with straw.
First a piece of ticking large enough for the back was laid
on the ground and covered over with an even layer of straw.
Over the straw a second piece of ticking was laid, making what Bill called a “straw sandwich.” This was nailed to the chair back along the edge and at the bottom, drawing the cloth as taut as possible. To make a better finish for the chair, the ticking was covered with dark red denim. Then strips 228 of braid were laid on the chair back, crossing each other like a lattice. At
the crossing points of the braid brass-headed tacks were nailed right through the sandwich into the wood, producing the padded upholstered effect. Next a long, thin sandwich was made to run along the edge of the back, and another one to run around the chair just below the seat, also a couple of small sandwiches to cover the legs and the brackets leading to them. These were all covered with denim before being tacked to the chair and then they were bound with tape at intervals to produce
the padded effect. The rest of the woodwork was covered with denim, and a neat ruffle made by Aunt Dorothy hung about the bottom of the chair. A thick, round sandwich was now made to cover the seat board. This was also given a padded effect by binding it with tape. The seat board was not nailed to the 229 chair, but rested on four cleats nailed to the barrel on the inside. When the seat was lifted out it uncovered a shallow chest in which various things could be stored.
The Summer Toboggan.
Bill informed me that he and his two chums used to spend hot summer afternoons in this cool place whittling out various ornaments and making furniture for the cave. In one corner were a number of home-made amusement devices, one of which struck me as rather odd. It consisted of a pair of large barrel staves, hollow side up and connected with two short boards, as in Fig. 233. Bill said it was a summer toboggan, to be used on grass instead of snow. I had never heard of such an affair, and, of course, had to have a demonstration. Bill went to the top of the hill and from there coasted down the grassy slope in fine style.
“There’s a better place over on the other side of the hill,” he said, and led the way to his favorite coasting spot. 230 But here our attention was diverted from coasting by the curious sight of a full-grown man flying a kite. We found out afterward that he was a Professor Keeler, who had made a great scientific study of kites. Professor Keeler was very affable, and we soon got acquainted with him. His kite was way up in the air, almost out of sight, and was pulling like everything. Neither Bill nor I could hold it long. But the most remarkable part of it all to me was the fact that the kite had no tail. I had heard of tailless kites made like a box, but this one appeared to be very much like the kites I had made in my younger days, and I well knew the importance of a long tail to keep such a kite steady. We asked the professor about it, and were informed that this kite was of the Malay type, which is so designed that the cloth bellies out into pockets on each side of the central stick or backbone, 231 and these pockets balance the kite while the backbone acts as a rudder.
Finding that we were interested in the subject he gave us full instructions for making kites from 5 to 8 feet long, and these I jotted down for future use. In a 5-foot kite he said the stick should be 3/8 inch thick and 1/2 inch wide, in a 6-foot kite 7/16 inch thick and 9/16 inch wide, in a 7-foot kite 5/8 inch thick and 3/4 inch wide, and in an 8-foot kite 3/4 inch thick and 1 inch wide. On the following summer we built a 5-footer and also an 8-footer.
A Five-foot Malay Kite.
For the 5-foot kite we used two sticks of hickory 3/8 of an
inch wide, 1/2 an inch thick, and each 5 feet long. According
to directions, one stick was laid across the other at a point
of its length from the top. Two-elevenths of 5 feet
is a little less than 11 inches, and so we fastened on the
cross stick 11 inches from the upper end of the backbone.
The sticks were not nailed together, because this would have weakened the frame just at the point where it was under the greatest strain. Instead we followed the professor’s directions and tied cleats to each stick, as shown in Fig. 235, so as to form sockets. Then the sticks were laid across each other, each stick fitting into the socket of the other, just like a mortised joint. A coat of shellac on the bottom of each cleat glued it temporarily to the stick, after which it was very tightly bound with fine cord. The stick and cleats 232 were now thoroughly shellaced. The end of each stick was tapered off to receive a brass ferrule of the kind used on
chisel handles. They can be bought at any hardware store. At the end of the backbone we fastened hooks made of brass, bent to the form shown in Fig. 236. The cross sticks were also provided with hooks, but these were double, as shown in Fig. 237, so that a hook lay on both the front and the rear side of the frame.
The frame was covered with a kind of cloth called
The cloth was hemmed along
each edge over heavy picture wire, and at each corner the wire was twisted around a small solid ring of brass. The rings were now slipped over the hooks on the frame and then the cross stick was bowed back by fastening a wire to the rear hooks and drawing it taut. Professor Keeler told us to tighten this bowstring until the distance from the wire to the cross stick at the center was equal to one-tenth of the length of the stick. As our sticks were each 5 feet long we tightened the wire until the cross
stick bowed out 6 inches, as in Fig. 239. The belly band of the kite was fastened at one end to the lower end of the backbone and at the upper end to a wire 233 hook at the juncture of the two sticks. The hook was fastened to the cross stick by flattening the ends and running them under the cord used for binding on the cleats (see Fig. 240). A buttonhole was made in the cloth covering to let this hook project through. The belly band was just long enough, so that it could be stretched over to one end of the cross stick, as in Fig. 241, and at this point, that is, 30 inches
from the upper end of the belly band, a brass ring was made fast, to which the main kite string was tied. The kite possessed the advantage that it could be quickly taken apart and folded into a small space.
An Eight-foot Malay Kite.
Our 8-foot kite was made in the same way only the sticks were 3/4 inch thick, 1 inch wide and 8 feet long. The cross stick was fastened 17-1/2 inches (two-elevenths of 8 feet) from the top of the backbone and it was bowed back 9-1/2 inches (one-tenth of 8 feet). The wire in the hem of the covering was a double thickness of the heaviest picture wire obtainable.
The Elastic Belly Band.
235An important change was made in the belly band of the kite. The lower strand was made elastic by tying it fast to a number of heavy rubber bands, as in Fig. 242. When flying the kite, if a sudden, strong puff of wind struck it, the elastic belly band would give, tilting up the lower end of the kite so that the wind passed under; but as soon as the gust had passed the rubber bands would draw the lower end of the kite back against the wind. The elastic belly band had the effect of making the kite rise almost vertically. Sometimes it would even sail square overhead. The 8-foot kite was a very powerful one. To hold it we had to use a very strong cord, the kind used by upholsterers for tying down the springs in a chair or a sofa.
Putting the Kites to Work.
Bill tested the strength of the kite once by hooking a spring scale to the kite string. The scale was made to register weights up to 25 pounds. But our kite yanked the pointer immediately past the 25-pound mark as far as it would go. We judged from this that the kite would lift at least 40 pounds. Such a pull as this it seemed a pity to waste, but how to utilize the power was a problem until one day, when the kite was soaring up on a south wind, Dutchy suggested that we tie it to one of the canoes and go sailing up-stream. 236 We tried the trick at once, but it didn’t work very well, because the canoe was too light. The kite would drop unless there was a heavy pull on the string. We had better success with the scow, however, which provided a sufficient drag on the kite, and with the two kites to pull us we sailed a long ways up-stream, drifting down with the current when we had gone as far as we cared to.
The Diamond Box Kite.
Professor Keeler also gave us instructions for making a diamond-shaped box kite, and though we never built one, it may not be amiss to publish his instructions here. I quote from the chronicles of the S. S. I. E. E. of W. C. I.:
“Materials: Four sticks, 1/4 inch thick by 5/8 inch wide
44 inches long, for the corner sticks. Two sticks, 1/4 inch
thick by 5/8 inch wide by 15 inches long, for the short
spreaders. Two sticks, 1/2 inch square by about 237
38 inches long, for the long spreaders. Two strips of cloth
81 inches long, hemmed at each edge to a width of 13 inches. Whittle out twelve cleats to the form shown in Fig. 244. At the ends of the 15-inch spreaders nail cleats on each side with long wire brads, so as to form forks, as shown in Fig. 245, in which two of the corner sticks are held. The short spreaders are fastened to the corner sticks, 7 inches
from the ends, with brads driven through the cleats, making the frame (as in Fig. 246). To prevent the frame from skewing off sidewise it should be braced with wire running diagonally across from one corner stick to the other. Ordinary soft stovepipe wire will do. Care must be taken to have the spreaders meet the corner sticks squarely or at right angles. Now take one of the cloth strips and sew its ends together to form a band. The end should be lapped about an inch and fastened with the sailor stitch (see Fig. 223). The same should be done to the other cross strip,
and then each band should be marked off with pencil lines 238 at four points, all equidistant from each other. The two bands may now be tacked to the two ends of the frame with opposite pencil lines over the edges of the corner sticks, as in Fig. 247. The two remaining corner sticks are then nailed to the bands at the two other pencil lines. These corner sticks will now be braced apart by the long spreaders,
which are notched to the right length to stretch the cloth taut. A cleat is nailed over each notch, as shown in Fig. 248, forming forks to hold the corner pieces. The long spreaders are now forced down until they meet the short spreaders, to 239 which they are tied with waxed string. The long spreaders may be nailed to the corner sticks by driving brads right through the cloth into the cleats and the sticks. The belly band may be fastened to any one of the corner sticks at the spreaders, and from the points where it is tied it should measure about 45 inches in length. The point where the main string should be attached to the belly band may be best
determined by experiment.”
Summer found us again on Willow Clump Island with heads full of new ideas. Bill had come across an old copy of Ewbanks’ “Hydraulics” in the school library. It was a book describing machines of the ancients–principally devices for raising water. Rather dry reading, I thought, even though it was a wet subject; but Bill seemed to find it absorbingly interesting. I came in late one afternoon, after a glorious game of baseball, only to find Bill poring over the yellowed leaves of the “Hydraulics” as fascinated as most fellows would be over a detective story. It exasperated me to note that he thought more of this old book than he did of our baseball team.
“Bill,” I exclaimed, “what’s got into you? I can’t for the life of me see what is so entertaining in that prehistoric book.”
“Oh, go way. Don’t bother me,” was the surly reply.
But I wouldn’t be put off that way. Quickly I snatched the book from his grasp and threw it out the window.
“Now, sir,” I cried, “maybe you will kindly explain to me why you persist in studying that old volume, to the neglect of our baseball team.”
241“Don’t get so excited, old chap,” he replied. “That book is all right. I’m studying up some new schemes for next year’s expedition to Willow Clump Island. Why, there are lots of things in that old book that we can make.” And he proceeded to unfold his plans, sketching out some curious designs of water wheels and pumps.
By the time school closed for the summer Bill had thoroughly digested that volume, and was ready to reconstruct many of the ancient machines.
The Water Wheel.
Our first work on reaching the island was to erect a water wheel, or “noria,” as it was called in the book, in front of the camp. It had been a great nuisance to keep our filter barrel full. Every few days we would have to form a bucket brigade, passing pails of water up the line until the barrel was filled. Now Bill proposed to do away with all this bother and let the river do the work for us.
Surveying for the Water Wheel.
We first determined the height of the upper filter barrel above the level of the river. This was done with our surveying instrument, which was set level with the top of the barrel. We sighted with the instrument to a long pole that was held upright at the edge of the water. The pole had been marked off into feet with white chalk marks, and on sighting through the sight holes we found that the hairs 242 came in line with the eleventh chalk mark. The top of the filter was, therefore, 11 feet above the level of the river. Bill figured that it would be necessary to construct a wheel about 15 feet in diameter in order to raise the water to the proper height.
Towers for the Water Wheel.
First 243 we built the towers to support the wheel. One tower was 16 feet high and the other only 10 feet. The large tower was made something like a very tall and narrow saw-horse. Two stout poles 17 feet long were flattened at their upper ends and nailed together, with the ends projecting about a foot, as shown in Fig. 251. At the bottom these poles were spaced 8 feet apart by a cross bar, and about 9-1/2 feet from the bottom a pair of boards were nailed to opposite sides of the pole to serve as supports for the axle of the water wheel. Another pair of 17-foot poles was now similarly fastened together and then the two pairs were spaced about 12 feet apart and connected at the top and bottom with 244 boards.
At the top two smooth
boards were used and
these were nailed to
the inner sides of the
which were tapered
off. In this manner
firmly nailed together
at their meeting edges so as to prevent them from warping apart. A diagonal brace at each corner made the wedge-shaped tower very substantial. A number of cleats nailed to one of the poles provided a ladder by which we could mount to the top of the tower. The shorter tower was a three-legged affair, made of three 12-foot poles. At first two of these were flattened and nailed together at their upper ends, and they were braced at the top and bottom. The third leg was then nailed in place and braced by cross bars connecting it with the other two poles.
245We were now ready to
make the wheel. From
Lumberville four 1/2-inch
boards, each 3 inches wide
and 15 feet long, were procured;
also a bar of iron 3/4
of an inch in diameter and
2 feet long. At the center
of one of the boards a block
of wood 4 inches long and
4 inches in diameter was
nailed on for a hub. A
3/4-inch hole was
now drilled through
this hub and the
board. Holes were also drilled into the
other boards at their centers. Then they
were all strung onto the bar and spaced like spokes at equal angles apart. Bill had figured it out some way that the ends of the boards should be just about 5 feet 10-1/2 inches apart. When the boards were all arranged we nailed them together at the center, and connected the ends with narrow tie boards, as indicated in Fig. 256.
246Eight large tomato cans were now procured and fastened to the spokes at the ends on the inner side, that is, the side the hub was nailed to. We couldn’t very well nail on the cans, so we punched two holes in the side of each can and then secured them to the spokes by passing bolts through these holes and the boards.
Then we cut sixteen paddles of the form shown in Fig. 257. Eight of these were 12 inches long, and the rest measured 18 inches. A slot 3 inches deep was cut in each paddle of just the right width to slip over the tie boards. The shorter paddles were fastened on just back of the spokes, and the rest were secured half-way between each spoke. The paddles were braced by stretching a wire from one to another all the way around the wheel.
The Receiving Trough.
247Our next task was to
the receiving trough in
place on the higher
tower. We set up
the towers on land
and mounted the
wheel between them
with the axle resting
in the crotch of the
short tower and in a
deep notch cut in the
cross boards of the
larger one. The cans on the
wheel faced the larger tower,
but the hub at the center and
a block nailed to the larger
tower spaced the wheel far
enough out so that the cans did not strike the tower as they
revolved. We carefully measured the distance between the
spokes and the larger tower, and
then built a square trough of a
size to just fit into this space. This trough was nailed across the end of the V-shaped trough on top of the tower, but a notch was cut in the side so that the 248 water would pour from the square or receiving trough into this V-shaped one. The square trough was about 8 feet long and its sides were 12 inches high; but at the ends we had to cut them down to a height of but 6 inches, so as to permit the cans to pass without hitting them.
Setting Up the Towers.
Our filter was located nearly 20 feet from the end of the river, and in order to get a good current of water to revolve our wheel we had to place it about 15 feet from shore. This necessitated building a trough line 35 feet long. Ten feet of this line were already provided in the top of the tall tower. This tower was now set up in place with the legs firmly wedged into holes excavated in the bottom of the river. The legs on the shore side were sunk a little deeper, so as to tilt the trough slightly shoreward. The outer end of the trough was about 12 feet above the level of the water. We needed but one more tower to support the remainder of the trough line. This tower was built like the first one, but was much shorter, as it was erected on land and the level of the trough at the top had to be 5 or 6 inches lower so as to make the water flow. We connected the towers by another V-shaped trough section. This we nailed to the under side of the first trough and to the inside of the second trough. The latter was then in the same way connected by a trough section with the upper filter barrel. We now rigged up our shorter tower about a foot from the taller one, wedging in 249 the legs so that the top came level with the slotted boards of the other tower.
Mounting the Water Wheel.
Then came the task of mounting our wheel in place. We were working in a pretty strong current and found it no easy matter. In the first place, the wheel was floated down to the towers, but there it got jammed and we couldn’t lift it up. One of the paddles was broken and a bucket wrenched off before we could disentangle the wheel from the towers, and then the wheel was carried quite a distance down-stream before we could drag it in to shore.
Our next attempt was more successful. This time we anchored the wheel so that it just cleared the towers, then fastening a couple of long guy ropes to it, we raised the wheel on edge, while a boy stood on each side holding the ropes to keep the wheel steady. The anchor rope was now slowly paid out and the wheel was rolled in between the towers. This done, the wheel was lifted up and the axle rod was pushed in, with the ends of the rod resting in slots of the boards on the tall tower and in the crotch on the shorter one. To prevent the axle rod from working endwise out of its bearings, we nailed pieces of wood across the crotch and the slots against the ends of the rod. Then we cast off the anchor rope and our wheel started work, the cans dipping up the water as they were carried around by the wheel and pouring it out of the top into the receiving trough, from which the water flowed down into the filter barrel.
Cooling the Filter Barrel.
250The trough line was very leaky and a great deal of water splashed out of the buckets. But for all that, within a few moments our barrel was full and overflowing. We hadn’t figured on its filling so rapidly, but we soon found a way of utilizing the surplus water. It was led to a half-barrel in which we washed our dishes, and from there it flowed through a ditch back to the river. The water for the wash barrel was taken from the top of the upper filter barrel. But we let the lower filter barrel flow over so that it would be kept wet on the outside. Our filter was fortunately placed at a point where a good breeze struck it, and we 251 shoveled away the earth that had been piled around it so that the wind playing on the wet barrel evaporated the moisture, making the water inside very cool.
The Canvas Bucket.
This same trick was used for cooling our drinking water
whenever we went off on an expedition away from camp.
We had a heavy canvas bucket, the kind used on ships. We
would fill this bucket with water and then hang it up in the
wind. The water seeping out of the pores of the bucket
would be evaporated by the wind, and this would, in a few
moments, make the water inside delightfully cool. Such
buckets may be bought for $1.50 to $2.00 apiece, but ours
was a home-made affair, and made somewhat differently from
the store kind. The canvas used was the heaviest we could
find. A piece 9 inches in diameter was cut out for the
bottom. A ring 7 inches in diameter, made of heavy brass wire, was laid on the canvas, and the cloth was turned over it and sewed down the inside of the ring. For the sides of the bucket we cut a piece 14 inches wide and 23 inches long. The upper edge was strengthened by a piece of light rope held in place by hemming the cloth over it. The lower edge was now sewed to the bottom, just inside the wire ring and then the ends of the piece were joined, completing the sides of the bucket. The bail of the bucket was formed of a 252 piece of rope fastened to the roped upper edge of the bucket.
But to return to the current wheel; the day after it was completed, when I went over to Lumberville for the mail, I was met by old Jim Halliday, who wanted to know what sort of a rig we had out on the river. I told him, and after a dint of much persuasion, induced him to take a ride back in the scow with me. He had never visited our camp and hadn’t realized how handy we were with the tools, because, with the exception of the current wheel, all our work had been done on the opposite side of the island. We made him a guest of honor, showing him over the whole place. The bridges struck him as remarkably clever, but what pleased him most was our current wheel.
“I swan,” he said. “Ef that ain’t jest the thing I have been awantin’ for the past twenty year. What’ll ye sell me the hull plant fer, boys?”
Mr. Halliday’s Water Wheel.
We thought he was fooling at first, but when he had
assured us that he was in earnest, Bill told him that we
needed our own plant, but we could build him a similar
and even better current wheel for any amount he thought 253
it was worth to him. The figure settled on was six dollars
(a dollar apiece) for our work, Mr. Halliday paying for
the material. It was not a
large sum, but it seemed
a lot to us, and considering the scarcity of money in that region it was pretty generous pay. We built Mr. Halliday’s current wheel just like our own, except that the paddles were much broader, and instead of using cans for the buckets Mr. Halliday supplied us with small dinner pails. The method of fastening on the pails is shown in Fig. 263. A stick was nailed across the end of each spoke and the bail of the pail was held by a screw eye threaded into this stick. The pails would hang straight, holding all the water without spilling a drop until the receiving trough was reached. This trough was fastened high enough to strike the bottom of the pails as they went by, tipping them over and emptying them of their contents. From the trough the water ran directly into a large cider barrel and from here was carried through a pipe to Mr. Halliday’s barn. A stopcock was here provided so that he could turn the water on or off, as he desired. The use of pails was a great improvement on tin can buckets. Fully three times as much water was poured into the receiving trough, because not a drop was spilled out on the way up.
Immediately after fitting out Jim Halliday with his water wheel we set to work on our log cabin. As a model we had a photograph of a log hut which Uncle Ed had sent us. As the cabin was designed particularly for use in winter time, we decided that it should be located where it would be sheltered from the northern winds and would be exposed to the sun. The ideal spot seemed to be on the southern shore of Kite Island, which was backed by a thick grove of trees but gave an unobstructed view in front for a distance of about four miles down-stream.
Foundation of Log Cabin.
First we staked out the plan of the house. It was to be 12 feet long by 10 feet wide, so we leveled off a space of this area, and at the corners, where the greatest weight of the building would come, large rocks were embedded in the ground.
A Logging Expedition.
255The logs for the house were cut from a tract of wooded land about five miles up the river, belonging to Mr. Schreiner. To be sure we could have cut the timber from our own island, but when Reddy had said something to his father about our building a log cabin, Mr. Schreiner had warned us not to cut down any of the trees without the owner’s permission. All we could learn about the owner was that his name was Smith, and that he lived somewhere in New York city. It seemed unlikely that he would ever have anything to say about our cutting down a few trees, but rather than run any risk Mr. Schreiner advised us to make use of his woods for any timber we might need. Accordingly we started out early one morning on a logging expedition. We had no apparatus for handling any logs more than 6 or 8 inches in diameter, and Bill reckoned it out that we would have to have about fifty logs of this size for the sides of the building alone. This did not mean that fifty trees had to be chopped down, because we could usually cut two logs from a single tree. As the logs would have to overlap about a foot at each corner, we had to cut the longer ones to a length of 14 feet and the others to a length of 12 feet. Aside from these we had to have several 16-foot logs for the roof. Only the straightest logs were chosen, and while Bill and Reddy wielded the axes the rest of us hacked off the small branches with hatchets and hauled the sticks down the river. Here we tied them together to make a raft.
The Log Raft.
256This was done by
running a pair of ropes alternately over
and under the logs at each end (see Fig. 264). About
fifteen were thus fastened together, and then as an extra precaution
a log was laid across each end of the raft and tied
fast. As soon as we had cut enough timber for our first
raft, we all ceased
work, to take a ride down the river on the logs. Two of us, armed with poles, were to do the steering. There was one spot in the river of which we were rather apprehensive. That was a bit of shallow, swift water three miles from camp. A line of rocks jutted up from the river, forming a natural dam which was broken only at the eastern end. The water swirled madly through this opening, and veering off a huge rock which lay directly in front of the gap turned sharply westward. As we neared this dam the river became deeper and deeper, until finally we could no longer reach bottom with the poles, and could not properly steer the boat. For some time we drifted helplessly round and round in the still water above the dam. Then suddenly the current caught us and we swept like a shot for the opening. The 257 gap was quite wide, and had we only thought to provide ourselves with oars we could have steered the raft clear of the rocks below, but we were entirely at the mercy of the current, and with a terrific crash we were hurled head on against the boulder.
Just what happened then I can not say. When I undertook to record the incident in the chronicles of the S. S. I. E. E. of W. C. I., I found there were five entirely different versions of the affair besides my own. I knew that immediately after the shock I found myself struggling in the water just below the rock over which I must have been slung by the force of the impact. Dutchy declared up and down that he had sailed fifty feet in the air astride of a log. Bill had been almost stunned by a blow on the head and was clinging desperately to a jagged projection of the rock. The ropes that had held the raft together had parted, scattering the logs in all directions, and I could see the rest of the crew hanging on to them for dear life.
Shouting to Bill to let go his hold on the rock. I swam over and caught him as he drifted down, then I helped him ashore. Leaving Bill to recuperate I rushed down the bank, shouting to the others to paddle the logs over toward shore. Then I plunged in, and pulling myself up on the nearest log, paddled shoreward as we had done on the planks when shooting the rapids. In this way one by one we corralled the logs, and after tying them together again resumed our voyage down the river. We now had no swift water to fear and were able to guide the raft successfully down to Lake Placid. 258 But here we moored it, not venturing to take it past the mill-race until we had gotten the oars from the scow and nailed on oar locks at each side and the rear, so that we could properly row and steer the raft safely to Kite Island.
The Sail-Rigged Raft.
When we went up the river again we carried the oars with us, also the sail and mast belonging to our ice boat, as there was a good breeze blowing down-stream. Our second trip was more successful. The mast was stepped in a small but solid box nailed to the logs. In the top of this box a hole was cut for the mast to fit into and then the mast was braced with guy lines. We came down the river in fine style, steering straight for the opening in the dam, and just as we were about to shoot through Reddy and I plied the oars for all we were worth on the port (left) side so as to swing the raft around past the boulder. However, 259 we didn’t escape entirely without accident, for the raft rode up on a submerged ledge, dipping the starboard side clear under water and nearly tipping us over. But in a moment the raft had righted itself and we had smooth sailing for the rest of the way.
Building the Log Cabin.
Our third expedition completed the number of logs we
required for the log cabin. Two large 12-foot logs were
chosen for the foundation logs at the front and rear of the
building. The logs were flattened along the bottom so that
they would have a firmer bearing on the ground, and particularly
on the corners, where they rested on foundation stones.
Each log was now notched about a foot from the ends. The
notches were 8 inches long and about 2 inches deep. Care
was taken to place those on one log squarely opposite the
notches on the other. A pair of 14-foot logs were now laid
across the foundation logs and rolled along them until another
half-turn would have dropped them into the notches
(shown in Fig. 266). Then notches were cut in the 14-foot
logs to correspond, so that when the final half-turn was
given one notch would fit over
the other, making a mortise
joint (Fig. 267).
When the side
logs were in
notches were cut in their upper surface to receive a pair of
12-foot logs which were rolled onto them, notched and
dropped into place. Then another pair of side logs were
laid on, and so the work progressed.
The notches in
each log were cut to
a depth equal
to one-quarter the diameter of the log; that is, if the log was 8 inches in diameter the notch was made 2 inches deep, and if 6 inches in diameter it was cut to a depth of 1-1/2 inches. When the logs were laid in place no space intervened between them, as will be clearly understood by reference to Fig. 268.
We found, after a few logs had been set in place, that our
cabin was growing faster at one end than at the other. The
trouble was that our logs were not of uniform diameter
throughout, and we had been laying the butt ends, which
were larger, all at
one end of the
building. So we
had to take down
the logs and relay
them with the butt end of the front foundation log at one end and that of 261 the rear foundation log at the other. Then the cross logs were laid on with their butt ends on the small ends of the foundation logs. The next end logs were laid with their small ends on the butt ends of the cross logs, and so on, taking care never to lay the butt end of one log across the butt end of another. In this way the walls were built up evenly to a height of 3 feet.
We had planned to make a large open fireplace in the cabin, and this necessitated cutting an opening in the rear wall. But we did not want to cut the opening until the wall was built up to its full height lest it might buckle while the remainder of the logs were being placed in position. So we merely cut a piece out of the top log to make room for a saw when we were ready to cut the complete opening. As our fireplace was to be 5 feet in width, a 5-foot piece was cut out of the center of the log. Then the ends were supported by cleats nailed on each side, as shown in Fig. 269. This done the building was continued as before, but as the walls grew we found it more and more difficult to raise the logs to 262 position. We could not lift them directly to the top of the wall, but had to roll them up on “skids”; that is, on a pair of 14-foot logs which were laid against the top of the wall. When the walls had reached a height of about 5 feet above the foundation logs, a length 4 feet 9 inches long was cut out of the top log to allow space for sawing out the front door and window, and also a 30-inch piece was cut out for the side window. Cleats temporarily held the sawed ends of the logs, while the walls were carried on up to a height of a little over 6 feet from the foundation logs.
The Roof of the Log Cabin.
Then we started laying the roof. A 16-foot log was now notched in place at each side, with its forward end projecting about 3 feet over the front of the cabin to form a shelter in front of the building. A pair of 12-foot logs were then laid in position. The next pair of 16-foot logs were laid about 20 inches in from the sides, and after a pair of the cross logs had been set in place a third pair of logs were laid about 40 inches from the sides. Finally, a single 16-foot log was set in place at the center, to serve as the ridge beam of the roof. The roof logs were all carefully tested to see if they were sound before we laid them in place, because we did not want to run any risk of the roof falling in, particularly in the 263 winter time, when it would be heavily covered with snow. A chalk line was drawn from the ridge beam to the lower roof beam, and the cross logs were sawed off along this line, as indicated in Fig. 271. Several slabs were now procured and laid across the roof beams to serve as rafters. These rafters projected about 18 inches beyond the side walls of the cabin, so as to support the eaves. Over the rafters we laid a roofing of slabs, starting with the bottom and lapping them, as we had done on our tree house.
The Door and Window Frames.
We were now ready to cut out and frame the doors and window openings. The front window of the cabin was to be 264 close beside the door, so we merely widened the door opening at the top to include the window opening as well (see Figs. 271 and 272). The door was made 2-1/2 feet wide, and was cut down to the foundation logs. The window opening was cut to a depth of 24 inches. Before sawing out the opening we wedged pieces of wood between the logs along the line we were to follow with the saw, so as to keep them in place. After the opening had been made a couple of stout boards were nailed to the sawed ends of the logs at each side, to hold them securely in place and make a suitable framing for the door. The cleats were then removed. The foundation log and the one at the top of the opening were flattened, to serve as the sill and lintel of the door. Between the door and window a short post was wedged in place. 265 This post was flattened on opposite sides, so that the door jamb could be nailed against it on one side and the window frame on the other. The side window was next cut out and framed. After it had been framed it measured 2 feet square.
Then came the task of building our fireplace. First we sawed out the opening, cutting right through the rear foundation log. Then we gathered from the river a large number of the flattest stones we could find. With these we planned to build the three outer walls of our chimney. But the question of getting mortar to bind the stones together bothered us for a while.
“If only we could find a bed of clay. Don’t any of you know of one around here?” queried Bill.
But none of us remembered seeing any clay bed in the vicinity.
“If we were in south Jersey now,” I said, “we could use some of that red mud they have down there. It sticks like the mischief to shoes and pant legs. I bet it would hold those stones together.”
“Red mud? Why there’s plenty of it over the hill, back of Lumberville,” said Reddy. “All the roads over there are red shale roads, and I saw some red banks along the river when we went after the logs.”
That was just what we wanted. The banks Reddy referred to turned out to be genuine red shale, and soon we had 266 ferried several scow loads of the stuff down to Kite Island. When the shale was wet it made quite a sticky mortar. The foundations of the chimney were laid in a trench about 2 feet deep, and the side walls of the chimney were carried inside of the cabin and covered the ends of the logs at the chimney opening. The side walls extended outward a distance of 3 feet, where they were joined by the rear wall of the chimney.
The Proper Way to Build a Stone Wall.
In making our chimney we could not rely on the red shale to hold the stones as firmly as good lime mortar would, so we had to be careful that each stone, as it was laid, had a firm bearing. The stones were embedded in a thick layer of mud, and if they showed any tendency to teeter we propped them up by wedging small stones under them until they lay solid. Another thing that we were very careful about was to “break joints”; that is, to keep the joints in each layer of the stones from coinciding with those in the next layer, above or below. To make sure of this we made it a point to lay a stone over each joint in the top of the wall and then to fill in the space between the stones with smaller stones. In this way the wall was made very substantial.
When the masonry had been carried up to the top of the
chimney opening, a heavy timber about 12 inches wide was
laid across the walls close against the wall of the building.
This was to support the fourth wall of the chimney, and so 267
we flattened its upper surface. To prevent it from catching
fire it was covered with a thick plastering of mud, and then
to keep the mud from cracking and flaking off we procured
a piece of tin and tacked it over the log. The tin also extended over the top log of the opening. Then we went on with the building of the chimney walls, carrying them up about a foot above the ridge of the roof. Our chimney was completed by paving the bottom with stones, well packed in mud and nicely smoothed off to make the hearth. The hearth extended about 18 inches into the cabin, and was framed with logs, as shown in Fig. 275.
The Floor of the Cabin.
A number of logs were now laid on the ground to serve as floor beams. Slabs were used for the floor. We had some trouble in making the floor perfectly even, because the floor beams were rather irregular, and a great deal of time was spent in smoothing the logs off to a common level. If we had the work to do over again we would have bought two or three planks and laid them on edge to support the flooring.
The Door Hinges and Latch.
269A door was now
constructed by battening together a number
of slabs. In place of a hinge a hole was drilled into the
sill and another into the lintel directly in line with it. Two
sticks of wood were then whittled to fit snugly, but without jamming, into these holes. These sticks were then nailed to the inner face of the door, with their whittled ends projecting into the holes, forming pintles on which the door could turn. A narrow strip of wood was nailed to the outer jamb for the door to close against. The latch consisted of a stick of wood, fastened to the door at one end with a nail. It hooked onto a catch whittled out of hard wood to the form illustrated in Fig. 278, and nailed to the jamb. Then to keep the latch from dropping too far when
the door was open, and to guide it when slammed against the catch, we whittled out a guard piece to the form illustrated in Fig. 277, and nailed this to the door, with the latch projecting through the slot of the guard. A string was now fastened to the latch and passed through a hole in the door. 270 A block was tied to the end of the latch string to
prevent it from slipping back through the hole; but at night, when we did not want to be molested by any intruders, we untied the block and drew in the latch string.
The Window Sash.
For our windows we made wooden sashes which fitted
nicely into the window openings. A small hole was drilled
through the sash at each side into the frame, and nails inserted
in these holes held the sash in place, and served also
as hinge pins for the sash to turn on. The sash could be
taken out at any time by removing
these nails. As we could not afford to use glass for our windows, we covered the sashes first with cloth, and later, when it occurred to us that in winter time it would be difficult to keep the cold air out, we used oiled paper.
Our next work was directed toward providing sleeping accommodations in the log 271 cabin. A large log was laid on the floor the full length of the cabin, as far out as possible without interfering with the opening of the front door. Stakes were laid across this log, with their opposite ends wedged in between the logs of the wall. A nail or two in each slab held it in place. This formed a sort of shelf 12 feet long, which was divided at the center to form two bunks, each wide enough for two persons. But as there were six of us in the society, we had to provide two more berths. A stout post was set into a hole in the ground, 272 and nailed firmly at the bottom to the lower berth log and at the top to one of the roof beams. This post supported a second berth log, which extended the full length of the building at a height of about 3 feet from the floor, and was wedged at the ends between the logs of the house. Cleats were nailed to the walls under this berth log to make it perfectly secure. Then slabs were nailed across it to form the two bunks.
Stopping up the Chinks.
The log cabin was completed by stopping up all the chinks between the logs of the walls. Strips of wood and bits of bark plastered with mud were driven into all the cracks and crevices until everything was made perfectly tight.
When our log cabin was completed we immediately transferred our camp from the tent to the hut. But at the very outset we were confronted with the problem of getting drinking water. We hadn’t thought of that before. It was easy enough to move the filter barrels, but when it came to moving the water wheel we could find no suitable place for it anywhere near the log cabin. The water of Lake Placid was too quiet, while the mill-race and the rapids on the other side of Kite Island ran so swiftly that we were afraid the water wheel would be swept away with its course. The matter was carefully considered at a special meeting of the society. It occurred to Bill that we might build a windmill in place of the water wheel, and use it to pump water from a well which could be dug near the hut.
“We wouldn’t have to use a filter, then,” he said.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Why, because the sand of the island will strain out all the dirt in the water. You see, the water in the well will have to soak in from the river, and by the time it gets through all the gravel and sand between the river and the well it ought to be filtered pretty clear.”
Digging the Well.
274That sounded logical,
and so we adopted the plan at once.
We chose a spot quite near the hut for our well. When we
had dug down about 6 feet we struck water, but continued
excavating until the water lay 3 feet deep in the well.
While making the excavation we shored up the sides with
planks, to prevent the loose soil from falling in on us and
smothering us, as it so nearly did when we were digging our
first cave. By “shoring,” I mean we lined the walls with
planks, which were driven into the ground with large wooden
mallets. The planks were braced apart with sticks at frequent
intervals. As the well hole grew deeper we had to
rig up a bucket to haul the dirt out. Our bucket was a soap
box attached to a rope, which
passed through a pulley at the
top of the well. The pulley was supported by a tripod made by firmly lashing together the upper ends of three stout poles and spreading their lower ends far enough apart to straddle the 275 mouth of the well, as shown in Fig. 282. After the well had been carried down to a sufficient depth, we began laying the stone wall, which was to form the permanent lining. We knew that the wooden walls would not do, because they would soon decay. Our stone wall, which was built up of flat stones like the chimney of the log house, was not very strong, I fear, and had not the soil around it been pretty firm it would probably have caved in. However, if it served no other purpose, it formed a fairly good finish for the well.
The Windmill Tower.
The mouth of the well was carefully covered with planks while we constructed the windmill above it. For the tower of the windmill we chose four long sticks. They must have measured about 16 feet in length, and were from 4 to 6 inches in diameter. With them we made two frames of the form given in Fig. 283, using slabs to brace them apart. These frames were now set in position, with their lower ends firmly planted in holes in the ground, and the tower was completed by nailing on a number of 276 diagonal braces. A couple of boards were nailed across the upper ends at opposite sides, and holes were drilled through them to provide bearings for the wind wheel shaft.
The Crank Shaft.
The shaft was a piece of heavy iron rod which we procured
from the blacksmith at Lumberville. Under Bill’s
direction the blacksmith hammered a U-shaped bend at the
center of the shaft, so as to form a crank, and then he flattened
the rod near the ends (see Fig. 284). When the shaft
was set in its place these flat spots lay just outside of the
bearing boards, and
then, to keep the shaft from sliding back and forth in its bearings, we fastened on two clamps over these flattened parts. The clamps were made of pairs of hardwood blocks bolted together in the manner indicated in Fig. 285.
The Wind Wheel.
277Our next task was to
the wind wheel. First
we procured three boards, each
3 inches wide and 3-1/2 feet
long. A 1/2-inch hole was 278
drilled in the center of each
board, and then, with these
holes coinciding, the boards
were nailed together, with
their ends projecting, like
spokes, equally distant from
each other. Six wedges were
now made of the size indicated
in Fig. 286. These were made of a 2 x 4-inch scantling,
sawed diagonally in two and then planed down to the given dimensions. The wedges were now nailed firmly to the spokes, as shown in Fig. 286. For the blades we used six thin boards, each about 4 feet long. Each blade measured 10 inches in width at the outer end, and tapered down to a width of 3 inches at the inner end, as illustrated in Fig. 288. The blades were
now securely nailed to the wedges, and their outer ends were braced together by means of wires stretched from the forward edge of each blade to the rear edge of the next one ahead. The wheel was then fitted onto the shaft and nailed to one of the clamps. In this way it was practically keyed to the shaft.
We did not make any vane for our windmill. It did not
need any. The wind nearly always blew either up or down
the river, more often up the river, for the prevailing summer
winds in that part of the country are southerly. But,
aside from that, east and west winds could not very well reach us on account of the hills on both sides of the river. The wheel was set facing the north, because the strongest winds came from that direction, and as an extra brace against these winds we stretched wires from the projecting end of the shaft to the center of each blade.
A Simple Break.
A brisk northerly wind was blowing when we set the wheel in place, and it began to revolve at once, before we could nail it to the clamp. To stop it we nailed a stick of wood to the tower, so that its end projected in the path of 279 the blades and kept the wheel from turning around. This brake was swung up to the dotted position illustrated when we were ready to have the wheel revolve, but it could be thrown down at any time to stop it.
Our pump was made of a galvanized leader pipe; that is, a pipe used to carry off rain water from the roof of the house. The pipe was only about 8 feet long, and so we had to piece it out with a long wooden box pipe. A block closed the lower end of this box, and the leader pipe fitted snugly into a hole in the block (Fig. 291). A spout was set into the upper end of the box pipe to carry the water to the cask, which was to serve as our water reservoir.
The Pump Valves.
280We plugged the bottom
of the leader pipe with a block
of wood, in the center of which a large hole was drilled.
The hole was covered with a piece of leather nailed at one side, so that it could lift up to let water into the pipe. The piston was made of
a disk of wood of slightly smaller diameter than the inside of the pipe, and over it was fastened a piece of leather just large enough to fit snugly against the walls of the pipe. This piston was fastened to a wooden rod long enough to reach from well within the pipe to the wind wheel shaft. A strip of brass was bent over the crank, or U-shaped 281 bend in the shaft, and its ends were fastened to the rod.
Action of the Pump.
It was rather a crude pump, but it did all the work we required of it. As the wheel went around the crank shaft would move the piston up and down. Whenever the piston went down, the air in the pipe would press up the edges of the leather disk and squeeze past (see Fig. 295). Then when the piston came up again, the leather disk, being backed by the wooden disk beneath it, was kept flat, so that no air could force its way back into the pipe. This made a partial vacuum in the pipe, and the water from the well rushed up through the valve at the bottom to fill it (see Fig. 296). When next the piston went down the bottom valve closed and more air forced its way past the piston. Then on the next upward stroke more water flowed into the pipe, until, after a number of strokes, all the air was pumped out and the water which took its place began to force its way up past the piston and eventually to flow out of the spout into the cask.
Our old windmill was sold to a farmer near Lumberville when we broke camp that fall. We carted it over and set it up for him. A number of years later I saw it still faithfully 282 at work pumping water for his cattle. The original pump had been worn out and a new one substituted, but otherwise the old windmill remained just as we had first rigged it up.
“About all we lack now,” said Dutchy, when the windmill had been completed, “is a railroad.”
“Then suppose we build one,” was Bill’s unexpected rejoinder.
We all thought he was joking, but he wasn’t.
“I don’t mean a steam railroad,” he said, “but a gravity railroad.”
“A gravity railroad. Oh, you know what that is–a roller toboggan–the kind they have down at Coney Island.” And he went on to explain how we could rig up a simple roller toboggan on our island.
His plan was to build an inclined trestle on the high ground just below the lagoon, and then run wooden tracks along the shore down to the pontoon bridge, and across the mill-race to Kite Island. We started first to dig a road down to the bridge, because the bank was quite high at this point. The task was rather greater than we anticipated, but we kept steadily at it until we had cut a fairly good road through the bank, though the grade was rather steep.
284Before proceeding with the trestle and track we thought the best plan would be to build our car, and then we could use it as a gauge to determine how far apart the rails should be set.
First we got a 2 x 4-inch scantling, and cut from it two
lengths, each 4 feet 6 inches long. These were laid on edge
just 30 inches apart, and then a number of boards were
nailed across from one
scantling to the
other and sawed
off flush with their edges. The floor thus formed was now turned over so that the scantlings lay uppermost and the sides of the car were then nailed on with their edges overlapping the ends of the floor boards. The sides, which were about 18 inches high, were each made of two boards firmly battened together. Great care was taken to securely nail both the flooring and the sides to the scantlings, because these scantlings were to carry the wheels of the car. The car body was completed by nailing on the end pieces which overlapped both the flooring and the side walls.
The Flanged Wheels.
285Next we sawed out the wheels of our car. From a board of hardwood 3/4 of an inch thick four disks, 12 inches in diameter, were sawed out. Then from a board 1 inch thick four 9-inch disks were sawed out. We cut these disks in the same way as we had made the disks for our surveying rod (see page 78), by making cuts across corners and finally smoothing off the angles with a draw-knife. A half-inch hole was now drilled in the center of each disk. Then on each large disk a smaller one was placed, with the center holes of the two coinciding and the grain of one lying across the grain of the other. In this position they were firmly nailed together, making a wheel like those used on a railway car, with the small disc forming the tread of the wheel and the large disk serving as a flange.
The Car Axles.
For the car axles we bought four 1/2-inch bolts, 6 inches
long, with two washers and two nuts for each bolt. In
each side of the car, about 8 inches from the ends, we nailed face blocks; that is, blocks of wood for the wheels to bear 286 against. These face blocks were only 1/2 inch thick. Then in these blocks holes were drilled which were carried clear through the scantling. The holes were just large enough for the bolts to fit snugly in them. The bolts were inserted from the inside, so that their threaded ends projected out at each side of the car. A patch of wood was nailed to the scantling over each bolt head to prevent the bolt from slipping back into the car. Then the wheels were mounted on these bolts, which served as axles.
Mounting the Wheels.
First a washer was placed on the axle, then the wheel was applied, with the larger or flange disk against the face block, after which another washer was slipped on. A nut 287 was screwed against this washer just tightly enough to keep the wheel snugly in place, and yet let it turn freely on its axle. Then to keep this nut from shaking loose a second nut was screwed on against it. While one fellow held the first nut from turning, another screwed the second nut against it as tightly as he could. The second nut is technically known as a “jam nut,” or “lock nut.” The car was completed by laying a couple of boards across from one scantling to the other to serve as seats.
The Railway Track.
The trestle was now begun. First we erected a level platform,
which was to be the starting point of the railway.
This was made very substantial by planting the corner posts
firmly in the ground and then bracing them together with diagonal braces. A couple of planks leaning against the platform at one side provided a convenient means for mounting to the top. From the platform the trestle ran down at an easy incline to the ground. It was made of 2 x 4-inch scantlings supported at intervals on posts driven into the ground. The opposite 288 posts were firmly braced with boards fastened diagonally across them. The scantlings were to serve as rails, and
so we fastened them at the proper distance apart with ties nailed to the under side. But to be sure that the rails were not too far apart or too close together, the car was rolled over the track and the rails were set to keep the tread disks of the wheels on them and the flange disks just clear of their inner edges. The ends of the rails were cut off at an angle, making a slanting joint, as shown in Figs. 301 and 302. They were fastened firmly together by nailing a piece of board on the bottom and also on the outer side.
The Carpenter’s Miter Box.
To make sure that the ends were all cut to the same angle,
we made a carpenter’s “miter box.” Two sideboards
nailed to a baseboard, making a trough large enough for
the scantling to be set in it. Then we sawed through the sides of the trough at an angle of 45 degrees. When we wanted to cut the end of the scantling at an angle it was 289 placed in the trough, and with the saw set in the saw cuts, as a guide, we were sure that they would all be cut at the same angle.
Laying the Track.
From the bottom of the inclined trestleway we continued the track down the slope to the river; but for the sake of economy, instead of using 2 x 4-inch scantlings for the rails, we bought a number of 2-inch planks at Lumberville, and had them sawed up into strips 2 inches wide. These 2-inch square rails were fastened together with slabs nailed on at frequent intervals. To maintain the proper gauge the car was rolled over each pair of rails, which were nailed first at the ends and center. To anchor the track we drove short posts into the ground so that their upper ends lay flush with the surface. A post was provided under each joint and one under the center of each rail, and then the slab ties were nailed securely to these posts. In imitation of a full-sized railway, we made it a point to “break joints” on our track; that is, to make the end of one rail come in line with the center of the 290 opposite rail, as shown in Fig. 302. Our track was continued across the pontoon bridge and ran around the west shore of Kite Island. The track was straight as far as the shore of Kite Island, whence, by an easy curve, it was carried around to the log cabin.
The First Railway Accident.
Dutchy was the first one to try the railway. He sneaked back to the platform while the rest of us were putting a few last touches on the track. The first we knew the car came tearing down the track at full speed, with Dutchy yelling at the top of his voice for us to get out of his way. Bill was on the bridge when the car came along and he had no time to run for shore, but with great presence of mind he jumped into the water and clung to one of the barrels. But the joke of it all was that Dutchy himself got a wetting too. The track at the middle of the bridge was not quite true to gauge. It was this very spot that Bill was fixing up when Dutchy came along. The end of a rail was bent in far enough to catch the flange of one of the car wheels, and in a moment Dutchy, car and all, was slung head over heels into the mill-race. Fortunately no serious harm was done. Dutchy landed a little ways down-stream, and Reddy, by quick work, managed to rescue the car just as it was floating off under the suspension bridge. The car was undamaged except that the flange of a wheel was split off.
Of course, Bill was as mad as a hornet at Dutchy, and 291 expressed his feelings in no mild terms. But his anger was somewhat tempered by the fact that Dutchy received as bad a punishment as he had inflicted.
Testing the Track.
We had to cut a new flange disk for the broken wheel, and to prevent the flanges from splitting off again we nailed a batten across the inner face of each wheel extending down to the very edge of the flange disk. This batten was fastened on across the grain. When everything was completed the car was started down the track empty to see if it would keep the rails. It went beautifully as far as the bridge, but was too light to run much beyond. The next time we loaded it up with stones and had the pleasure of watching it sail down hill, across the bridge and vanish out of sight around the shore of Kite Island. That was demonstration enough. We knew it would carry us safely and it did. The next time we tried it four of us piled into the small car, and in a moment we were off on a most thrilling ride, which ended right in front of the log cabin, where the car came to a sudden stop after riding off the end of the rails and plowing through the sand for a short space.
There is one more piece of work done by our society which yet remains to be described, and that is the cantilever bridge. This we all voted to be the greatest of our achievements on the island. To be sure, it was Uncle Ed’s design, but I think we justly deserve credit for the masterful way in which it was erected. In our search for types of bridges before building the king post bridge, we came across a simple cantilever bridge that didn’t look very difficult to construct. To be sure, none of us knew a thing about stresses and strains, and ingenious though we were, Bill realized that the task of designing a cantilever bridge was far beyond him. Nevertheless, we were sure we could build one if only we had a good set of plans. A letter was therefore mailed to Uncle Ed, asking him for the required details. The answer came promptly from Western Australia, asking us to send him the exact width of the water we wished to span, the depth of the water, the distance from the top of one bank to the top of the other, and the exact height of the banks above water level. We decided we would build the bridge across the mouth of the lagoon. The distance here between the two banks measured a little over 60 feet. The banks 293 were very precipitous, and rose 13-1/2 feet above the level of the water. All these details, together with soundings of the bottom, all the way across, were sent to Uncle Ed, and on the day after our railway was completed quite a bulky package was received in answer. It contained complete directions for building the bridge of wooden frames, which were so designed that they needed merely to be hooked together to form the bridge, though to make the structure perfectly safe Uncle Ed cautioned us to tie the frames together wherever they met.
I am half afraid to tell my readers how to build this bridge, as it required the utmost care, and had to be built just so to avoid disaster. Bridge building is a serious business, and I would not advise any one to attempt building this, of all bridges, who does not propose to follow instructions implicitly. Uncle Ed told us that if we built it properly, and with sound timbers, we would find the bridge strong enough to support a dozen boys, but he warned us not to crowd more than that number on it.
Frames for the Cantilever Bridge.
The frames with which the cantilever bridge was built
were made of saplings from 3 to 4 inches in diameter. We
procured them from Mr. Schreiner’s lands up the river. In
making the frames the sticks were fastened together with
1/2-inch bolts 6 inches long. It was quite a strain on our
pocketbooks to buy these bolts, but Uncle Ed had written 294
that nails or spikes would
be useless to stand the
strains of so large a
bridge, and that if we
could not get any bolts we had better give up the idea of building a cantilever bridge. To make sure that we made no mistakes, Uncle Ed had made a drawing of each different size of frame we would need, designating each with a different letter, and then these same letters were marked on a general view of the bridge, so that we would know exactly where the frames belonged. These drawings are reproduced here in Figs. 305 to 316 and 318. We had to
make four frames each, of the A, B, C and E sizes, two each of the F, G and L 295 sizes and one each of the H, I, J and K sizes. Of the D frames two were made with the ends cut away on the outer half, as illustrated in Fig. 308, and two were cut away at the inner side, the reason for which will appear presently. When fastening the timbers together we cut notches in each stick, as shown in Fig. 317. The depth of each notch was just one-quarter the diameter of the stick; that is, the notch was 3/4 of an inch deep in a 3-inch stick and 1 inch deep in a 4-inch stick. Care was taken not to exceed this depth, for fear of weakening the sticks. In the case of frame D, the sticks were not notched or mortised together. It will be noticed that the measurements are given to the inner edges of the sticks in some cases, and to the outer edges in others. The reason for this, as Uncle Ed explained it, was because the
thickness of our sticks would vary considerably, and it was important that many of the measurements be exact, otherwise the frames would not fit into each 296 other as they should. Another thing to which he called our attention was the fact that frames A, B, E, F, H, K and L were stiffened with cross braces, while the rest were not. The braced frames, he wrote, were those which would be under a compression strain, while the others would be under tension; that is, when any weight was placed on the bridge it would push against the ends of the braced frames, trying to crush them, but would pull on the unbraced frames, trying to tear them apart. In fact, the bridge would have been just as strong had we used heavy iron wire in place of the unbraced frames, and the only reason Uncle Ed did not recommend our doing so was because we had no simple way of stretching the wire taut.
Erecting the Towers.
299We built the complete
set of frames before attempting to
erect the bridge. Then we began by building the towers.
Two A frames were set on end and spaced 4 feet apart at the
top and 5 feet apart at the bottom, measuring not from the
inner but from the outer edges of the frames. In this position
they were connected by short spars, notched in place.
The notches for these connecting spars will be seen in Fig. 305 on the main or vertical timbers of frame A, just below the upper and middle cross sticks and above the lower cross sticks. The upper connecting spars were wedged tightly under the cross sticks, and served as an additional support for them. Diagonal braces were nailed from one frame to the other, as illustrated in Fig. 318. The towers were built
300 on opposite banks, at the mouth of the lagoon, and when completed we lowered them carefully down the banks into the water. According to directions they were to be set just 30 feet apart, measuring from the center of one tower to the center of the other. The water was quite shallow where the towers rested, but the bottom was pretty firm. Holes were dug in the bottom for the legs of the tower to set into, and then large stones were piled around each leg to provide a firm foundation for the towers.
Setting Up the Frames.
A B frame was now hauled out to one of the towers and lifted by its narrower end, with fall and tackle, until its lower tie piece rested on the projecting ends of the center crosspieces of the tower. The upper end of the frame was held against the top of the tower, while a C frame was hooked over the upper ends of the tower legs; then frame B was allowed to swing outward until its smaller end locked with the outer end of frame C. It will be observed in Fig. 306 that the upper crosspiece or tie piece of frame B was fastened to one side of the vertical sticks and the lower tie piece to the other side. This was done purposely, so that when the frame was set in position the bottom tie piece would be on the lower side of the frame and the top piece would lie on the upper side, as shown in Fig 318, or, better still, in 301 Fig. 319. The rest of the frames were all arranged to be set in place with their tie pieces on the lower side, or facing the towers, as will be clearly understood by examining the illustrations. As soon as the B and C frames were set up on one side of the tower, another pair of B and C frames was set up on the other side of the same tower. A cantilever bridge must always be built out on both sides of the tower at the same time, otherwise it will be overbalanced on one side and topple over. After the B and C frames were in place we took two D frames, with oppositely cut ends, and rested their tie sticks on the top of the tower, just under the ends of the C frames. The ends of the two D frames overlapped at the center of the tower, and, as one was cut away at the outer side and the other at the inner side, they fitted neatly together and were fastened with bolts. The D frames were 302 supported near their outer ends with E frames, which rested on the B and C frames. Fig. 319 shows an E frame set in position on the landward side of the tower, while two of the boys are climbing out on the opposite B and C frames preparatory to setting up the other E frame. A cross stick was now bolted to each D frame, just beyond the upper ends of the E sticks. This done, the frame F was hooked in between the ends of B and C, at the shoreward side of the tower, and its outer ends were supported by frame G, which was hooked over frame D and the upper ends of frame E. The frame L was then rested on the ends of frame F and G, and supported the shore end of frame D. A stick nailed across frame D on 303 each side of the upper ends of frame L served to hold the latter in place.
Binding and Anchoring the Structure.
As the different frames were coupled together, we bound the overlapping ends with soft iron wire. The place where frames B, C, E and F came together was quite a vital point, and we took pains to make the wire binding at this place doubly strong. As soon as the L frame was in place we anchored the bridge to shore by running wires from the ends of the D frame and the ends of the G frame to stakes driven into the banks. The frames on the second tower were now similarly erected and anchored, after which we were ready to put in the center panels of the bridge.
The Center Panels of the Bridge.
304First, the frame H was wedged into place and thoroughly fastened by a liberal winding of wire. Next the frames I and J were set in place, and in order to do this we had to remove the upper tie pieces of these frames. Then one frame was hooked in the other, and the two were carried out on the scow under the center of the bridge. Ropes were tied to the ends of the two frames, and they were lifted together, like a wide V, to the position shown in Fig. 318, after which the tie pieces were bolted on again, resting against the ends of the E frames. As an additional security, two sticks were bolted to the under side of the frame H, one at each side of the I and J frames. The bridge was then completed by wedging the frame K under the ends of the D frames, and also placing a stick across each tower under the joints of the D frames. We planned to run our gravity railway across this bridge, moving our platform and trestle to the opposite bank; so instead of flooring our bridge with slabs, we fastened ties across at intervals of 15 or 18 inches. These ties were sticks 3 inches in diameter, which were secured to 305 the D frames.
A Serious Interruption.
We were just preparing to lay the tracks across the bridge when we met with a serious interruption. Mr. Halliday had told us that a few days before our arrival that summer Mr. Smith, the owner of the island, and another man had paid 306 a visit to the place. Jim Halliday himself had rowed them over, and learned from their conversation that Mr. Smith was trying to sell the island, and that the stranger, a Mr. Gill, was a prospective purchaser. All summer long we had been dreading the return of this customer, though, as time passed without his putting in an appearance, we almost forgot the incident. But now, at the end of August, just as we had about completed our cantilever bridge, who should arrive but this very man Gill and three other men with a large tent and camping outfit. It was a sorrowful crowd of boys that watched the wagon with their belongings ford the shallow water over to our island. We felt that the island was ours by right of discovery and occupation, but we were powerless to force our claims. And what if they did not insist on our leaving the island? It would not be the same place with strangers around to meddle with our things.
But the new owner of the island was even more of a boor than we had anticipated. As soon as he landed he wanted to know what we were doing on his property, and peremptorily ordered us off. Bill answered that we were camping there, and politely asked if we couldn’t stay out the summer. But Gill would not listen to the idea. We must get off the island that very day or he would see to it that we did.
I tell you it made us boil. We were just itching to give the pompous little man the sound thrashing he deserved, but 307 knew that we would stand a very small show against his three powerful companions. At any rate, we were determined not to leave at once. Instead, we repaired to Kite Island, taking our belongings with us. Then we cut away the suspension, spar and pontoon bridges, so that we would not be annoyed by any of the Gill crowd. We were resolved that they should not benefit by any of the things we had built.
At the dead of night we paddled back to Willow Clump Island, crept past the slumbering intruders and waded out to the old water wheel. After a good deal of exertion we managed to dislodge the smaller tower, letting the wheel drop into the river and float away. Then we made for the cantilever bridge. It didn’t take us very long to cut away the wire bindings, unhook the frames and drop them into the lagoon. But the task was quite a perilous one, as the night was pitch black. Finally, nothing remained of the bridge but the two towers, which were left as monuments to mark the spot where our last piece of engineering on the island was done.
Farewell to Willow Clump Island.
We spent several days on Kite Island, knowing that we were safe from intrusion, because the Gill crowd had but one boat, and that was on the Jersey side of the island. We felt confident that they would not take the trouble of wading around Point Lookout with their boats, as we had done; nevertheless, to prevent a surprise, we kept a sentry posted on the Lake Placid side of the island and gathered a pile of 308 stones for ammunition. But our fun was spoiled, and we finally decided to break camp and bid farewell forever to Willow Clump Island and its vicinity. Our goods were ferried over to Jim Halliday’s farm, where we were given shelter. The windmill, as I have already stated, was sold to a farmer at Lumberville, and we were kept busy for several days carting it over and setting it up in place. When everything had been done we stole back to Kite Island and set fire to the log cabin. The next day Mr. Schreiner took us home in a couple of his wagons. Thus ended our “investigation, exploration and exploitation of Willow Clump Island.” The work of two summers was practically all destroyed in a few days.
Reddy’s Cantilever Bridge.
I believe I have given a careful account of everything that was recorded in the chronicles of the society. We were too discouraged to undertake anything new in the two weeks before school opened. I presume I might mention here Reddy’s cantilever bridge, which, however, had really nothing to do with the S. S. I. E. E. of W. C. I., because our society was formally disbanded the day before Bill and I returned to school. About a month after leaving home I received a letter from Reddy inclosing three interesting photographs, which are reproduced herewith. Reddy certainly had the bridge fever, because soon after we had left he started to work, with the rest of the boys, on a cantilever bridge across Cedar Brook. The brook was entirely unsuited to such a 309 structure, because the banks were very low; but he made the towers quite short and built an inclined roadway leading up to the top of them. The legs of the towers were driven firmly into the bank, making them so solid that he thought it would be perfectly safe to build the frames out over the brook without building them at the same time on the shore side. But he had made a miscalculation, for when a couple of the boys had crawled out on the B and C frames to set up an E frame the structure commenced to sag. The trouble was remedied by propping up the tower with a stout stick driven into the river bottom and wedged under the upper tie piece of the tower. The towers were really too short to make a well proportioned bridge, for the panels had to be made very long and narrow, so as to reach across. But on the whole it was a very creditable structure when completed, though it had only half as long a span as our cantilever bridge over the lagoon.
“A” tent, 207
Abbreviations, wigwag, 146
Accident, railway, the first, 290
Ainu snow shoe, 41
Alarm clock, a unique, 63
Alphabet, wigwag, 145
Alpine stock, 198
Anchoring cantilever bridge, 303
Annex, the, 50
Arctic expedition, 193
Armchair, barrel, 227
Axles of railroad car, 285
Bags, sleeping, 203
Banquets, midnight, 179
Barrel armchair, 227
Barrel filter, 68
Barrel hoop snow shoe, 36
Barrel stave hammock, 226
Barrel stave snow shoe, 36
Bat’s wings, 33
Bed, a camp, 209
Bed in shower, 210
Belly band, elastic, 235
Bending wood, 39
Bicycle wheels, mounting frame on, 219
Big Bug Club, 177
Bill’s cave, 224
Bill’s skate sail, 21
Binding cantilever bridge, 303
Blades of wind wheel, 278
Boat, ice, 159
Boat mooring, tramp-proof, 142
Boat, scow, 59
Box kite, diamond, 236
Box, the black walnut, 19
Brake for wind wheel, 278
Bridge building, 95
Bridge, cantilever, 292
Bridge, king post, 105
Bridge, king rod, 102
Bridge, pontoon, 101
Bridge, Reddy’s cantilever, 308
Bridge, spar, 95
Bridge, stiffening, 104
Bridge, suspension, 99
Bridge wreck, 66
Bucket, the canvas, 251
Buckets for water wheel, 246
Camp bed, 209
Camp bed in shower, 210
Camp, breaking, 158
Camp chair, a, 208
Camp fire, a costly, 200
Camp fire, kindling, 194
Canoe, Indian paddling, 121
Canoe lee boards, 119
Canoe rudder, 115
Canoe, the sailing, 111
Canoe sails, 117
Canoe, scooter, 190
Canoe, stretching on canvas, 114
Canoes, canvas, 109
Cantilever bridge, 292
Cantilever bridge, anchoring, 303
Cantilever bridge, binding frames, 303
Cantilever bridge, center panels, 304
Cantilever bridge, frames for, 293
Cantilever bridge, Reddy’s, 308
Cantilever bridge, setting up frames of, 300
Cantilever bridge towers, 299
Canvas bucket, 251
Canvas canoes, 109
Canvas, stretching on canoe, 114
Canvas tent, 46
Car axles, 285
Car for gravity railroad, 284
Car, mounting wheels on, 286
Carpenter’s miter box, 288
Cave, Bill’s, 224
Cave, covering the, 177
Cave, excavating for, 173
Cave, framing, 174
Cave-in, a, 171
Center panels of cantilever bridge, 304
Chain, surveyor’s, 77
Chair, a camp, 208
Chair seat snow shoe, 35
Cheek blocks, 162
Chinks in log cabin, stopping up, 272
Christmas vacation, 19
Clamp for crank shaft, 276
Clapboards, nailing on, 135
Cleat, a, 163
Climbing, mountain, 198
Clock, a unique alarm, 63
Club, the Big Bug, 177
Club pin, 180
Club, the Subterranean, 171
Code, International Telegraph, 155
Combination lock, 181
Council of war, 139
Crank shaft, the, 276
Creepers, ice, 170
Crossbow trigger, 57
Cutting out disk, 78
Danish sail, 30
Derrick, the, 131
Diamond box kite, 236
Digging the well, 274
Disk, cutting out, 78
Disk, sighting, 79
Diving tree, 84
Door hinges, 269
Door latch, 269
Doors, sliding, 136
Double mirror heliograph, 156
Double surprise, 140
Drill, fire, 69
Drowned, how to restore, alone, 92
Drowned, restoring the, 89
Farewell to Willow Clump Island, 307
Fastener, brass, 58
Filter, the barrel, 68
Filter barrel, cooling the, 250
Filter, the small, 67
Fire drill, 69
Fireplace of log cabin, 265
Fireplace, outdoor, 195
Fireplace, stone-paved, 196
Fissure, path up the, 129
Flanged wheels, 285
Fly, ridge pole, 54
Fly for tent, 54
Fly, umbrella with, 211
Focusing heliograph instrument, 153
Frame on bicycle wheels, 219
Frames for cantilever bridge, 293
Frames of cantilever bridge, setting up, 300
Friend in time of trouble, 201
Halliday, Jim, 194
Hammock, barrel stave, 226
Harness, pack, 212
Heliograph, the, 147
Heliograph, double mirror, 156
Heliograph instrument, focusing, 153
Heliograph screen, 151
Heliograph sight rod, 150
Heliograph signaling, 154
Heliograph, single mirror, 148
Hinge for spars, 30
Hinges, door, 269
House building, 124
House, log, 254
House, the tree, 132
Hut, cold night in, 197
Hut, log, 254
Hut, straw, 124
Ice boat, the, 159
Ice boats, sledges and toboggans, 158
Ice, craft strikes the, 184
Ice creepers, 170
Indian paddling canoe, 121
Instrument, double mirror, 156
Instrument, single mirror, 148
Instrument, surveying, 73
International Telegraph Code, 155
Iroquois snow shoe, 39
Island, mapping the, 82
Island, off to the, 63
Island, trip to the, 64
Ladder, the Jacob’s, 129
Ladders, rope, 130
Lagoon, the, 83
Lake Placid, 83
Land yacht, 215
Land yacht, a sail on, 222
Lanteen sail for canoe, 117
Lanteen skate sail, 29
Latch, door, 269
Latch string, 270
Lee boards, canoe, 119
“Leg-of-mutton” sail, 220
Levels, spirit, 74
Lock combination, 181
Log cabin, 251
Log cabin, building the, 259
Log cabin door hinges, 269
Log cabin door latch, 269
Log cabin door and window frames, 263
Log cabin fireplace, 265
Log cabin, floor of, 267
Log cabin, foundation of, 254
Log cabin, roof of, 262
Log cabin, stopping up chinks, 272
Log cabin window sash, 270
Log raft, 256
Logging expedition, 255
Mainsail for canoe, 117
Mainsail for ice boat, 162
Malay kite, 5-foot, 231
Malay kite, 8-foot, 233
Mapping the island, 82
Mast of land yacht, stepping, 218
Mast step, ice boat, 161
Mast step, leather, 30
Mast step, wooden, 30
Megaphone mouthpiece, 58
Midnight banquets, 179
Mill-race, the, 88
Mirror instrument, heliograph, 148
Miter box, carpenter’s, 288
Mizzen sail of canoe, 118
Mooring, tramp-proof boat, 142
Mountain climbing, 198
Mouthpiece of megaphone, 58
“Mummy case,” 204
Pack harness, 212
Paddling canoe, Indian, 121
Paddles for water wheel, 246
Panels, center, of cantilever bridge, 304
Path up the fissure, 129
Patient, how to work over, alone, 93
Pin, the club, 180
Plank, swimming on, 86
Platform, Goblins’ Dancing, 126
Point Lookout, 83
Pole, ridge, 48
Pontoon bridge, 101
Poor shelter, a, 199
Preparing for the expedition, 53
Protractor, the, 76
Provisions and supplies, 54
Pump, the, 279
Pump, action of, 281
Pump valves, the, 280
Raft, log, 256
Raft, sail-rigged, 258
Railroad car, 284
Railroad car axles, 285
Railroad flanged wheels, 285
Railroad, gravity, 283
Railway track, the, 287
Railway accident, the first, 290
Railway, rope, 97
Railway spikes, 50
Rapids, shooting the, 88
Receiving trough for water wheel, 247
Records of the S. S. I. E. E. of W. C. I., 19
Reddy’s cantilever bridge, 308
Rennwolf, the, 168
Restoring the drowned, 89
Ridge pole, 48
Ridge pole, fly, 54
Rod, heliograph sight, 150
Rod, surveyor’s, 78
Rope ladders, 130
Rope railway, 97
Rowlocks, sockets for, 60
Rudder, canoe, 115
Rudder shoe, ice boat, 160
Runner shoe, ice boat, 160
Runners of scooter canoe, 190
Runners of sledge, 165
Rustic table, 66
S. S. I. E. E. of W. C. I., records of, 19
Sail, jib, for scooter, 187
Sail, “leg-of-mutton,” 220
Sail, mizzen, of canoe, 118
Sail-rigged raft, 258
Sail, sprit, for scooter, 186
Sail stitch, 46
Sail through the country, 222
Sailing canoe, the, 111
Sailor’s stitch, 221
Sails, canoe, 117
Sails for ice boat, 162
Sandwiches, straw, 227
Schreiner, a visit from Mr., 110
Scooter canoe, 190
Scooter sailing, 188
Scooter scow, 185
Scow, the, 59
Scow, a sail in, 184
Scow, scooter, 185
Scow, stolen, 138
Screen, heliograph, 151
Seat, swing, 97
Shaft, the crank, 276
Shelter, a poor, 199
Shooting the rapids, 88
Sight rod, 150
Sighting blocks, 74
Sighting disk, 79
Signaling, heliograph, 154
Signals, wigwag, 144
Simple method of surveying, 79
Single mirror heliograph, 148
Sioux snow shoe, 37
Skate sail, bat’s wings, 33
Skate sail, Bill’s, 21
Skate sail, Danish, 30
Skate sail, double Swedish, 26
Skate sail, lanteen, 29
Skate sail, single Swedish, 28
Skate sails, 26
Ski, Norwegian, 42
Ski sticks, 43
Sledge, the, 165
Sleeping bags, 203
Sliding doors, 136
Snow shoe, Ainu, 41
Snow shoe, barrel hoop, 36
Snow shoe, barrel stave, 36
Snow shoe, chair seat, 35
Snow shoe, Iroquois, 39
Snow shoe, Sioux, 37
Snow shoe, Swiss, 43
Snow shoes, 35
Society, meeting of, 189
Society, organizing the, 25
Spar bridge, 95
Spars, hinge for, 30
Spikes, railway, 50
Spiral spring, 153
Spirit levels, 74
Spring, spiral, 153
Sprit sail, 186
Stepping mast of land yacht, 218
Stitch, the sail, 46
Stitch, sailor’s, 221
Stick, ski, 43
Stiffening the bridge, 104
Stone-paved fireplace, 196
Stone wall, how to build, 266
Straw hut, 124
Straw sandwiches, 227
Subterranean Club, 171
Summer toboggan, 229
Supplies and provisions, 54
Surprise, a double, 140
Surveying, first lesson in, 79
Surveying instrument, 73
Surveying, a simple method of, 79
Surveying for water wheel, 241
Surveyor’s chain, 77
Surveyor’s rod, 78
Suspension bridge, 99
Swamp shoe, 43
Swedish sail, double, 26
Swedish sail, single, 28
Swimming on a plank, 86
Swing seat, 97
Swiss snow shoe, 43
Table, a rustic, 66
Tailless kites, 229
Telegraph Code, International, 155
Tent, the “A”, 207
Tent, annex, 50
Tent, canvas wall, 46
Tent fly, 54
Tent making, 44
Testing the track, 291
Thole pins, 61
Tie block, wood, 49
Tie, wire, 50
Tiger’s Tail, 83
Tiller, ice boat, 161
Tiller of land yacht, 219
Toboggan, the, 167
Toboggan, the summer, 229
Tower, the windmill, 275
Towers of the cantilever bridge, 299
Towers for water wheel, 243
Towers of water wheel, setting up, 248
Track, laying the, 289
Track, the railway, 287
Track, testing the, 291
Tramping outfits, 203
Tramp-proof boat mooring, 142
Tramps, trouble with, 138
Tree, diving, 84
Tree house, the, 132
Trigger for crossbow, 57
Trip to the island, 64
Tripod, the, 75
Trouble with tramps, 138
Trunk, the old, 18
Truss, king rod, 102
Turnbuckle, a simple, 216
Wall, how to build, 266
Wall tent, 46
Water wheel, 241
Water wheel buckets, 246
Water wheel, construction of, 245
Water wheel, Mr. Halliday’s, 252
Water wheel, mounting the, 249
Water wheel paddles, 246
Water wheel receiving trough, 247
Water wheel, surveying for, 241
Water wheel, towers for, 243
Water wheel towers, setting up, 248
War, council of, 139
Weaving needle, 39
Well, digging the, 274
Wheel, the wind, 276
Wheels for gravity railroad, 285
Wheels, mounting, on car, 286
Wheels, mounting frame on, 219
Wigwag abbreviations, 146
Wigwag alphabet, 145
Wigwag numerals, 145
Wigwag signals, 144
Wigwagging and heliographing, 144
Wigwagging at night, 147
Willow Clump Island, 23
Willow Clump Island, farewell to, 307
Willow Clump Island in winter, 194
Wind wheel, 276
Wind wheel blades, 278
Wind wheel brake, 278
Windmill tower, 275
Window hinge, 270
Window sash, log cabin, 270
Wings, bat’s, 33
Wire tie, 50
Wood, bending, 39
Wood tie block, 49
Word from Uncle Ed, 45
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