Monday, April 18, 2016

Last call on the Dory Story trip

We're putting the boatshop on hold for a while for the river season to begin. Time to stop making boats and start rowing them. We'll be back in the shop intermittently throughout the summer.

Last call on the annual Dories and Stories trip. We have tales to tell and five dories to make more stories with. Go ahead and be impulsive. You don't have to be in Flagstaff until Wednesday. After dinner. Plenty of time.

My page on the trip:
Dories and Stories

And did I mention the first six day section is on sale?
$400+ off on the upper section!
See you there!

My favorite Tom Tavee photo from our first Dories and Stories trip back in aught seven.

Sharp things

Our afternoon tool workshop with Harry Bryan went extremely well, with about a dozen folks showing up to learn more about sharp things. Planes, chisels, spokeshaves, drawknives, slicks, scrapers, and saws. And, of course,  pencils. Harry can expound on any of these things for a good week and we had but four hours. And even though I have spent a week learning from Harry back in Maine, I still picked up a tremendous amount that had passed right on out the other ear in previous iterations. 

Harry and Martha stayed for dinner with their traveling companions, and I put them on the train later that night. What a delight and honor to have them here. (Thanks Lora, Heather, and Deanna for the pictures.)

My college roomie Larry stopped in for a few days with his sad open dory. It had some serious floor issues. A bit of rot, some wicked warping, and a major detachment issue. We got 'er back together though and still had time to address one of the culprits in the boat's sad state: an ill-fitting trailer. All's well now, and I believe that boat will live a much longer, happier life.

Janek and I finished making the last of about three dozen copper hats for the protruding beam ends on my house. They should have been protected a few decades ago, and have suffered badly as a result. Better late than never. I guess.

The big Swampscott dory is about half done, but we put the brakes on for a while in order to wait for her owner, John, to get off the river and be part of the construction. She's a beauty. More on that later. Meanwhile, back to the drawing board, under the watchful eye of Martin Litton.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A riveting afternoon

Lora and Heather came by this afternoon to rivet the broad-strakes onto the new boat. Heather is bucking up a rivet.

While Lora is playing in the jungle gym, peening the rivet.

Got 'em on. Lora is celebrating with a boat-shot of Bushmills. It tastes especially good after running across that freshly sanded Port Orford cedar.

I think this is living proof that woodworking is in my DNA. Or maybe that is my DNA.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Strake two

Well, since the transom, stem and molds are all in place, we might as well build a boat. We'll start by marking the shape of the bottom and cutting it out. As with Bernie, we are doing a stitch-and-glue bottom and garboards, in deference to the dry climate and the fact that the boat will mostly live in dry dock.

Out come the icepicks, to batten out the garboard.

With the garboards beveled and glued on, we are calling it a boat. Enough of a boat for its first party, anyhow.

The heartbreak of making strakes. Turning $500 worth of beautiful clear Port Orford Cedar into $250 worth of sawdust and some very fine, thin planks. But oh my god does this process smell sweet.

Using Mr. Reach-around to mark the bottom for grinding it flat.

On the floor: making one very long crooked plank out of two shorter ones. In order to get the scarf joint at the proper angle to accommodate the curved garboard, we first smiled out the garboard shape on paper. Then we marked the boards for the proper joinery.

Today we spiled the shape onto our two new long crooked garboards and cut them out, thereby doing away with another 50% of the remaining planks. If only I could get the mill to cut me long, thin, crooked planks it would be a lot more efficient. We are about ready to start riveting.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Tool Workshop Monday!

Don't forget-- Harry Bryan, one of my favorite guru/mentors from WoodenBoat School, will be here Monday, April 11, from 1-5p.m. The theme is all things sharp and simple--chisels, planes, slicks, spokeshaves and handsaws. How to use them, what they're for. How to spend more time using them properly and less time trying to make them sharp get get them to obey. It's going to be a great time. We're asking for a donation of $25 for Harry's time and expertise. If you have an old favorite tool that needs some love or interpretation, bring it by.

Here's the link to a page about the course:

Sharp and Simple

Swampscott 2.0

No sense letting the momentum go to waste. Back in the shop we extended the lofting table and began drawing up the 17' Fred Dion Swampscott dory for a friend and client.  

Janek and I wasted little time getting the lofting rectified and getting out six molds. I must say, my recent shipment from the Minnesota Icepick Company has certainly been in heavy use for both builds. They don't replace our lovely lofting ducks but they certainly augment them nicely.

We enjoyed the fully rabbeted stem process on Bernie so much we decided to do it again rather than a simple stem and cap. It involved some brain-burning lofting but was well worth it. I'm certainly glad we just did it a few weeks ago (and that David, who had lofted the rabbet line last year, was able to explain it to me for Bernie). Justin here, is transferring the rabbet line to the stem.

And chiseling in the rabbet.

The fid fits!

 Heather is draw-knifing the leading edge of the stem into shape.

And fine tuning with a spokeshave.

Cranking the two halves of the stem together.

It's a very nice stem. And I do say so myself.

 Up goes the strong back, on go the frames. Lora has joined the crew this week.

And on with the transom,

And the very fine stem.

We worked extra hard on precision lofting, frame building, and strongback construction. I was pretty niggly. We caught a few mistakes along the way but they were easily diagnosed and quickly corrected. My god did it pay off. This sucker is strong and straight and true.  I've never had one come together this nicely before. Now if we can just keep it together for the build...

Out to launch

The night before I took Bernie up for his inaugural float up into Glen Canyon I made a sculling sweep out of a broken oar. The process worked quite well, but Bernie needs a bit more mass for the oar to work correctly. Or a better sweepsman.

Regardless, it was pretty exciting to be launching my first Swampscott dory.

Feeling the Bern.

Weighing it at an even hundred pounds--a bit over half of my own weight--I found Bernie to be terrifyingly tippy. Nothing a little cargo won't cure. Like I needed one more reason to switch from beer cans to bottles...

Our good and crazy friend David Grimes decided Bernie needed to fly the Green Mountain Boys' flag. Gotta say it sure fits. And the sweep oar seemed to work far better as a flagpole.

It is a lot less tippy with a friend to add a bit of ballast. Best of all, a friend and plenty of beer.

What a delightful boat. Goes fast as can be, turns on a dime, and is impossible to look at without smiling. I could not be happier with the build. Many thanks again to our class for doing such a great job. I can hardly wait to get this boat into some whitewater. With friends and beer.