Saturday, December 29, 2018

Escaping Santa

With the increasing frenzy surrounding baby Santa's birthday, Andy and I decided to head out for the territories.

With the so-called government shut down, we found Willow Beach pretty much vacant, plopped our boats into the Colorado, and headed upstream toward Hoover Dam.

This is Andy's first outing with his new wee motor. Big fun.

There were a few trillion ducks, coots, and other things flying and swimming everywhere.

Yo0u can't actually go all the way up to the dam without getting bazookaed by security, but you can get to almost to the gigantic new bridge.

There are a lot of nooks and crannies to explore, many with thermal springs oozing and dripping out of them.

We had a Christmas dinner that couldn't be beat. Macaroni and Cheese with Burnt Wienies.

While we sat around the fire the river flow went from 1500 cfs to 21,000 cfs. We were all of a sudden moving camp upslope with urgency. By the time we settled down for the night it was back down to 6,000. Pretty psycho flows.

Selfie with fan palms.

RJ came up to join us for Andy's birthday.  Another selfie required.

Hot springs on a cool day. Very nice.

Our great discovery this trip was that once you are up to speed, you can set the motor handle down and walk up to the front deck. Relatively modest shifting of weight from side to side steers the boat quite effectively. It's really fun and gets you away from the puttering of the motor. Dory surfing. Love it.

More wee boats

Thought I'd just start out with a couple quick pix on how to accurately trace a side panel pattern onto your pile of side panel wood. The pattern, in this case, was made off the strongback we built back in February which looked like this:

So we recorded that pattern on a piece of shelf paper and rolled it up for future reference. Now that it's time to make a few more wee boats we roll the pattern out on the wood and poke an icepick in at each relevant point: the sheer and chine points of the bow post, transom, and each of the ten  ribs. Twenty-four points.

Then we remove icepicks a bit at a time, roll up the pattern, and re-insert the picks.

Next we batten the icepicks and draw the line.

Once the outline is reproduced, we draw in the rib intersections.

And we clamp a bunch of side panel blanks together, set the saw for square, and cut them out. I'm cutting six out here.

Then we transfer the rib markings to each panel and build some boats. Here's the first one about to depart for Page last week. Look for her in the new Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Visitors Center downtown.

Gunwales going on the second boat.

 Inner chines going into boat #4.

Whole lotta boats.

Gunwales, number four.

We also made a rough pattern for the floor. Cricket is drawing one out for #5.

Then we glue it on in the same manner we do a real boat--one end at a time, while the other end is held in proper position.

Clamp, weight, and wait.

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.