Thursday, November 19, 2015


Day eight of the build. Today is bottom day. Janek is using a real hand tool today, planing down the inner chines to accept the bottom.

Trying the bottom on for size. Last night's bizarre measuring and scarfing worked.

Quiz: if fourteen inches of railroad rail weighs fifty-seven pounds, what do the combined railroad rails of America weigh? And why haven't we wobbled off our axis yet? Well, maybe some of us have...

Holding down the bow.

We marked all the contacts and computed all the screw placements, so it's time to drill a few hundred holes in the floor and saw up a few hundred dollars' worth of Meranti marine plywood. Fingers crossed we got it right.

Miracles never cease. It came out right. We have screwed the back on exactly in place and are now putting the pookey (caulk) on the seams of the forward end of the bottom.

That worked. Next, unscrew the stern and pookey the rear seams.

Several years ago when I was planning to replicate Buzz Holmstrom's 1937 Julius F, I was talking to Buzz's younger brother Rolf, who had helped build the original boat. Rolf was able to provide a tremendous amount of insight into how Buzz built the boat and what sort of work and materials went into the process. As I was leaving he said, "Wait a minute." He walked into the back of the house, came back and handed me an old Yankee screwdriver. "You'll need this," he said. "This was Buzz's. He screwed the boat together with this." I've used Buzz's screwdriver to put in at least some of the screws in every boat I've built. since. Janek has taken every opportunity to use the magic.

And it's a wrap. Time for the perfunctory boat bottom dance.

Cricket is going on holiday starting tomorrow and  will miss a lot of the  remaining boat-build. I promised we'd roll the boat up before she left. We put the gunwales in the steam bender this evening,  cooked them for an hour, then clamped them on. Up she goes. Sweep out a landing.

 And up on her side. Holy mackerel, she'd a big one. The boat, not Cricket.

And tall.

And wide.

And beautimous.

Kinda like the model.


  1. Sweet lines on both boats. I have my Dad's yankee screwdriver ad use it often

  2. That is a HUGE boat! Any idea what size oars it will want? Ditto on the Yankee Drill, use my grandfather's all the time.

  3. Wikipedia says there are 140490 miles of standard gauge track in the US. That makes about 72.5 billion pounds of track...

  4. Hmmm. That's really heavy. But it comes out to about one third of 1/10,000 of a percent of the weight of the earth. So I guess it's no big deal. But you don't have to drop very much railroad on your toe to notice it.

  5. It is set up at the same width as a standard Grand Canyon oar raft, at about 7' at the oarlocks. Most Grand Canyon guides run eleven-foot oars on those, but some go as short as ten. I think Bruce is planning to use elevens but is going to try some different lengths just to see.

  6. Yes, just beautiful. Next time I'm building a wood one. Tired of little infected cuts on my hands and arms from all of the sharp cloth edges after glassing, and a rash from cutting 1708 w/o long sleeves.

  7. No. 5200, Sikaflex, and the like are damned near impossible to undo. Always build like you may be the dude doing the repairs. It's got to be fixable. I use LifeCalk, which maintains a good flexible seal but will come apart again if you need it to.