Saturday, December 15, 2018

School's Out

I regret to inform those of you hoping to do some classes with me this winter that, due to a couple of factors, Fretwater Boat School will not be happening this winter. Too many projects, not enough time, and an inability to find affordable liability insurance. And so forth.

The good news is I will be teaching a course this summer at WoodenBoat School in Maine:

Building the Grand Canyon Dory.

Registration begins at 8AM Eastern Time on January 2, and many courses fill before 9.

Maybe I'll see a few of you there!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Tiny Boats

Over the last couple weeks in our mad push to build Mike's dory, we took a few days off to work on a series of bookshelf-sized dories. They are a classic Briggs form, built at 30% of true size. First we mass produce the rib sets.

We make bow posts with rolling bevels, and cut sides and transoms. Because I built a prototype on a strongback last winter, we have accurate side-panel patterns and can free-form the builds.

The wee thing comes together with a fair bottom curve. Whew.

In with an inner chine.

On with the bottom.

And the outer chines.

Up with the hull and on with the gunwales.

It's fun to have these concurrent projects going on. For the most part the processes are the same. And they look so cute together.

Pat even made some tiny oarlock patterns to cast. 

Another hull begins. Here are the bow post, frames and transom.

They're just so cute when they're young.

Thirteen Days

Days Five through Nine

The last post got us through Day Four. The hull is finished and fiberglassed, so we roll her up. Now begins the hard part: Decking. Cross members are cut, fit, and installed. Hatch landings are fit in, and all are guttered for draining. 

Once the framing is finished and installed, we spile in the decks.

Day Ten

Time out for bronzecasting. Mike's sweetheart Claire has been carving patterns for washers and the breastplate. These we pound into the sand and cast, along with the oar stands and bow and stern eyes.

The day's booty

My camera has been drinking. A fine night's celebration.

And hogtying in the loft. (??!!)

 Day Eleven

The money cut: After an hour or two of pondering the placement of the gunwales, Mike cuts the sheer line as Janek and I originally drew it back in January. And it is still sweet.

And on go the gunwales. We frame the artwork. It is Amber's last day on the job and she has to catch the 2am shuttle. So why not work until midnight? All gunwales on and bolted, left gunwales ground, routed, sanded, and oiled. If only we'd had more time we'd have gotten the right ones finished off too.

Day Twelve.

Right gunwales finished out. Oh my. So pretty.

Oar stands all on. As it turns out, the propellors Mike brought down to melt down and cast these parts out of, were made of something far harder than my drill bits. That slowed us down some.

With one day to go, we get the gutters fiberglassed and call it a night.

Day Thirteen.

Hatch lids all made, placed, fit, and hinged. Too busy to take pictures of the process, I guess.

After dinner we fit the bow cap and stern trim, grind and sand it into form, oil it, and call it a wrap. Cricket is in the bow hatch signing the bow post.

There's still a bit for Mike to do--install latches, a bit of fiberglassing in the footwells, paint, and so forth. But by and large she's a boat. We bid adieu.

 After a day in a coma, Pat and I go down and dig out the shop. All set for the next mess.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Wild Child is born

Mike's first dory was Wild Thing. A full rocketed, narrow-tailed McKenzie with a 1" thick floor and 5/8" sides. She was a portly gal, weighing in at over 800 pounds empty and drawing, her previous owner said, eleven inches unloaded. Mike and I did a bit of work on Wild Thing's hatches and decks last spring, got her salable, and he was able to find a new owner for her in Oregon. 

So now we are going to build his new dream boat, along the lines of Bears Ears, the Briggs-plus-25% that I designed and built last winter. My brief autumn holiday ended Monday evening when Mike showed up with a trailer heaped with plywood and Port Orford cedar. We off-loaded it and went to bed, ready to start the build the next day. The boat's shop name is Wild Child. 

Day 1

We started out milling a bunch of cedar for the rib sections.

Meanwhile Bryan and I ground away at the floor plywood, making four pieces into one great big one.

Inside Mike, Cricket, Chelsea, and Pat began milling out and assembling ribs.

With with 42-feet of 8:1 bevels ground along the edges of the half-inch plywood sheets, we assembled them into a really big, heavy thing.

You gotta eat sometime.

Day 2

We schlepped the big heavy floor blank outdoors for a bit of clean-up and prep work.

We scarfed Wild Child's side panels and got them glued up.

And went to work finishing off the ribs, installing bulkheads, making a transom, and carving the rolling bevel into the bowpost.

Almost ready to build a boat.

Day 3

Mike is making a nice flat edge on the two side-panels so we can cut and drill them identically in one fell swoop.

Two panels being cut...

...marked, and drilled.

And the games begin. Fasten the sides to the bow post and start installing ribs.

And hour and a half later it looks a lot like a boat.

Clean up the chine and prepare to install the floor.

Cricket is inside the boat working on the inner chine, which is composed long, thick strips of wet, gooey, biaxial fiberglass.

And we seal her permanently into the boat.

Day 4

Oh my. It snowed. I guess winter is really going to come.

Time to fill screw holes and smooth out the chine corner.

Dress Wild Child in her finest silk.

And impregnate her!

Not bad for four days' work. I wonder if Cricket is still in there?