Saturday, March 28, 2020

Last post before antisocial distancing

Wow. I just got home from a 15-day Grand Canyon trip to encounter the Scared New World. I should not have left y'all in charge of things when I was gone. But now that we are all locked in our little cages for the foreseeable future, it's a good time to catch up. 

Back in February we finished up Papa Bear, the new king-sized Briggs boat for Canyon Explorations--a twin to Shaman's Gallery, that we built a year ago. Here we are glassing gutters and decks.

Gluing up scarfed ash gunwales.

And bolting those gunwales onto the boat.

We took a break to dress the place up for the annual Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival party. Mini boats got a display above the band stand.

Hatch lids getting glassed the eve prior to the party.

Peter McLaughlin and Chris Brashears tearing it up.

Back to work on Papa Bear. Pulling tape.

Touching up lines.

Milling out the oar stands.

The Doryaks came in for a little love before our training trip.

Papa Bear awaiting a ride to the warehouse.

But since we had almost two weeks to kill before launch day, we banged out another boat. Chet and Kat came in to assist in banging together a standard Briggs.

We try to leave about an inch extra above the designed gunwales so we can adjust and cut to what looks perfect. This time we added a little over half an inch to bow and stern. No two are ever quite the same. As it should be.

With the gunwales on it's just a matter of a few details. Day after day of a few details.

 And that's it for this one. Chet and Kat get to take her home now and figure out the paint job.

Somewhere in there we got in a few more days on the Powell mini-replica. Here's a long, wiggly strake. The straighter they look installed, the wigglier they are in actual shape. Go figure.

About 150 teeny ribs got made, boiled, and bent in. The spacing is scaled off a remnant of one of the Nellie Powell, one of the 1871 Powell boats.

The Barbies taking the hull out for a test run.

Ready for the seats, end compartments, and oarlocks.

Time out for a test float/ test flip of the Doryaks, and a test run of Cricket's little Jiminy, the wee motorboat. Sorry not to get any good shots of the festivities.

Interview time in our silly little boats.

The day before the river trip, I found out we were taking both Doryaks, but I only had one set of parts. Time for some speed-whittling!

 And off we go, with a huge fleet of craft including four Fretwater boats.

Dawn and I stayed aboard Peekaboo most nights. Such a cozy little thing.

Cricket and Dawn in Papa Bear.

The Doryaks rocked it. Not a single flip on the whole trip, and we ran big at every opportunity.

I should get some good action shots of the Doryaks before long, but none just yet. I'll close with an emblematic campfire shot, summarizing man's relationship with our planet.

Stay healthy, stay rested, and we'll see you at the other end of the tunnel. Remember: Worrying never fixed yesterday or changed tomorrow, but it sure fucked up a lot of todays.

Friday, February 7, 2020

McKenzie Dory Boatbuilding class

I am excited to offer the McKenzie boat class again at WoodenBoat School in Maine this July. It's perfect for someone who really wants to build one but doesn't know how or where to start, or is intimidated by the array of skill sets necessary to do the job.

We will build the Hindman 16' Double-ender with transom.

We will start by lofting the boat from a table of offsets, correcting, customizing or idealizing as we go. We'll build all the frames, transom and a rolling-bevel stem. Scarf all the plywood. Assemble the boat, steam bend and scarf the gunwales, and outfit the boat as a fishing boat. We'll also discuss modifications to turn it into a whitewater dory. On day six we will launch the finished boat and the lucky winner of the raffle will get to take it away for the cost of materials.

With the skills you learn you'll be able to build most any variation on the classic driftboat at home. And life on the WoodenBoat School campus is flat-out heavenly, situated on Eggemoggin Reach, just a mile or two from where Major Powell spent his final days. In off hours you can row or sail the heritage Woodenboat fleet. Too much fun.

Here's a link:

Building the McKenzie River Dory

I hope to see some of you there.

Fun in the boat shop:

Made in the shade:

Out to launch:

A class-built boat on the Kennebec with its lucky winner:

Sunday, February 2, 2020

From small boats back to a big one

The wild jumps in scale here have been a bit mind boggling. Here's our tiny 1/6 scale Briggs dory sitting atop the 1/2-length Doryak last week. Today we have a Briggs-plus-25% coming together on the floor. More on that in a minute.

The detailing on these wee boats is every bit as time consuming as on the big boats.

Sanding side panels for the Nevills boat.

Gunwales on the dory.

Decking the Nevills boat.

A day off from the models to fix the shattered Skagit. Just a flesh wound.

The Julius Stone Galloway boat coming together in the foreground.

More detailing

The Galloway boat is carvel planked with pine planks on an oak frame.

Patterning the bulkheads.

On with the letters.

Galloway boat nearing completion. How about those canvas deck covers?

The Barbies taking the new boats out for a spin.

Girls just wanna have fun.

And now for the really difficult one--the 21' Powell boat--a carvel built Whitehall boat, oak on oak.

We got the Powell boat about half done before we had a more urgent timeline rear its head. We have a huge dory to build in the next three weeks. DKish is documenting the process from the cockpit of Spooky.

Pat is grinding the floor and side panels.

 We scarfed the sides up up on our first evening and had most of the ribs built with the bulkheads in.

Day two we made the rolling bow post, the transom, and laid up the huge floor. We also decided to do as much of the deck framing as we could right on the bulkheads prior to the build. In theory it will save a lot of time later.

Little epoxy hoodoos on the bottom side of the floor panels.

In the pandemonium of Day Three I forgot to take pictures. We assembled the hull, put on the bottom, fiberglassed the entire exterior, and got on the flow coat. Then broke for a concert up in the house. Here's my only photo from the assembly: lunch.

Wood and Wire put on one hell of a show. Such a treat to be able to host events like this.

Day four was mostly clean-up, but we did get the outer chines on, then steamed on the gunwales.

Once they were on we rolled her up. She's a big one!

Tomorrow we will cast all the bronze hardware for the boat. I spent a while trying to come up with a better way to slice the huge ingots. Didn't find one. These are cut off in my chop saw. Heavens what a sound.