Monday, November 9, 2020

Moving Day

 Well, after nearly ten years here at blogspot, Fretwaterlines is moving to our new website,

I'll leave this website live for the indefinite future, but if you want anything new, come on over and check it out. 

There's also lots of stuff on the website you might enjoy--boats, pictures, stories, and stuff. Julie and Lara at Shine Creative Industries have done a teriffic job, and more is being added all the time.

See you there--

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Fretwater Boatworks Video debut

 Yesterday American Rivers and OARS debuted Dawn Kish's lovely film about our boat shop: Can't Beat This Place For Fun.

I really think you should watch it. Click here:

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Moving Boats, Cool Letters, and Jaguar Rising.

There was a great movement of boats in the air this month. Two boats I built several years ago came up for sale. We brokered the deals to new owners and Cricket is on the road delivering them--and their trailers--as we speak. Glen Canyon has moved to Montana, and Rio Rojo is heading for Eugene. Peekaboo is going along for the ride.

Boxcar, my old San Juan punt, found a new owner as well--Tse Kooh Outfitters on the San Juan. Here is Dawn saying farewell. 

With all the boat movement I thought it might be a cool time to put my silly little sailboat on the market. Blam. Gone.

It's really great to see these boats heading to folks who'll get them out of storage and onto the rivers where they belong.

I seem to have dodged a bullet this month--a scary knee flare-up had most of the medical folk fearing I was in for some long and scary knee surgery. I cancelled a lot of plans and braced for the worst. But I guess the knee got scared, because it decided to get better on its own. So now we are back to physical therapy to get both knees strong and limber once more. More medical stuff swirling about this month, but so far it all seems to be solving itself. Check out my cool inflatable pants at the PT shop.

Vladimir came by and we built a Viking Funeral raft for his Granddad's ashes. VK the First designed many seminal rafts in his day, and this one is his Avon Spirit. The frame is one of his fiberglass inventions which wasn't quite as awesome as the boats. But hey.

When there's a sign-painter on the premises. you gotta paint signs.

Lots of oarmaking and oar leathering for the Doryaks this month as well. Here's James out at Galaxy Sales cutting oarstop leather for us with his fancy leather cutting gizmo.


Some of the leather gets turned into patterns for boat parts.

And cast into bronze. Hot stinky fiery bronze casting--always a fun way to spend the day. And the best breastplate ever.

Custom washers for the Jaguar.

The Jaguar, by the way, is coming along nicely, although life keeps getting in the way of our normal frenetic speed. But we're still ahead of schedule to be ready for Jag's first Grand Canyon trip in three weeks. Woot woot!

Even though I am not a real fiberglass guy or surfboard repairman, odd things come by that I occasionally decide to try and deal with. Like this snapped-in-two paddleboard. Damn, that's really screwed up.

But splint it straight, then go with a bit of epoxy in the broken styrofoam, a bit of filler, and a styrofoam patch should get us back in business pretty quickly, right? One step forward.

Um, not if you use fast epoxy and it gets all hot and melts the guts out of the board. Damn. Two steps back.

Okay, cut a way bigger styrofoam patch, then glue and fill with something that doesn't get hot.

Way mo better. Trim and sand.

Then glass it with ever-so-slow-kick resin.

Fill and sand.

Paint it, send it home, and put a "closed forever" sign on Fretwater Surfboard Repairs.

And get back to solid fun in the shop. 

By the way, Dawn Kish's new film on the boat shop, 

which had a sneak preview on the 7th, will be released by American Rivers October 6. It's fun, it's funny, and it's an honor to be the subject of such a creative endeavor. 

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Can't Beat This Place for Fun


Time to get the popcorn out and watch some movies.

Please join us for a fun new film by Dawn Kish and American Rivers, “Can’t Beat This Place For Fun”. This will be an on-line premiere on Monday, September 7th, 6:30PM, for the Colorado River Days events. Plus, a behind the scenes interview after the film with director, Dawn Kish, and featured talent, Brad Dimock.

“Can’t Beat This Place For Fun!” 
This film is a small vignette of Fretwater Boatworks and how they work and play. This boat shop is very unique and keeps the tradition of wooden boat building alive whilst honoring the story of Martin Litton’s - Grand Canyon Dory. These beautiful boats still represent advocacy toward wild places compromised and/or lost. “Win or lose, there’s a measure of victory in the endeavor,” Martin Litton.Director/Camera: Dawn Kish, Camera/Editor: Jake Hewitt, Producer: John Tveten, Featuring: Brad Dimock, Amy “Cricket" Rust and Pat Clark and the great Martin Litton. 

There will be other great films before and after about our love for the river, like this beautiful film, Water Flows Together, with Dine naturalist and river guide Colleen Cooley. Tickets available through the Orpheum Theatre platform in this link below. Plus, there is more information on the interesting events during the Colorado River Days, September 1st-15th.

A big THANK YOU to our lovely sponsors American Rivers and OARS and co-production by our friends from The Flagstaff Mountain Film and the Orpheum Theatre.

Stay groovy like a movie!

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Back to the Doryak

Well, back to Flagstaff and back to normal. Oh wait. Normal is over with. No more normal. So might as well go get a Covid test. Nostril rape is really weird. Especially from a space woman. But I thought it a good idea since I'd been traveling and was about to go do a commercial river trip. But wouldn't you know it: results take a week or so. By which time I was downriver. Never did get the results.

Some really lovely coverage of Fretwater boat world came out while we were traveling. We got The Gulch cover story with words by me and fabulous photos by my lovely and talented sweetheart Dawn Kish. Click on her name for more about her work. Click on Forward Into the Past for a glimpse of the magazine and the opportunity to order one.

Not only that but Patagonia did a lovely story as well (online only) with more of Dawn's images. Find it here: Bound For Dory

I made a run to the glass recycler to dump about six months' worth of bottles. How many Irish whiskey bottles can you find? Also fancy vermouth. Kind of embarrassing. It's my guests that drink all those. Really.

Then I was off downriver rowing a big yellow raft for Canyon Explorations. I saw a couple feral goats. Unfortunately they were in close proximity to some bighorn sheep, and domestic critters give the bighorns pneumonia. So I turn them in to the feds. Bye bye.

Covid boating was a bit odd, but not that hard to do. LOTS of hand washing and masks anywhere near the kitchen. No close gatherings, and so forth. Man it was hot. Too hot for this old boy.

I got a cute new mask and thought it would amuse folks, but most folks didn't seem to notice I was wearing one. They thought I looked the same.

My best buds Andy and RJ came to town for a week or two to knock out a few Doryaks and work the kinks out of production for this winter's output. (Demand is growing!) Andy is doing one as a stitch-and-glue and may have plans for sale once he gets the bugs worked out. RJ and Dawn are building traditional. Spooky and Peekaboo wait patiently outside as their sisters gestate.

Of course they need oars as well.

Meanwhile Spooky is getting a bit of retrofitting. We are revamping the wiring system for the bilge pumps, cutting in spare oar slots, and doing a bit of fine tuning here and there.

My current project is working with Shine Creative Industries to create a cool website for the Boatworks and blog. It'll be a month or more but hopefully it will provide a good searchable showcase for all our shenanigans.

Lastly, what with all the Doryak publicity I'm getting a lot of queries. Here are some answers:

No, I don't have plans for sale. We design them and loft them full scale and build right from the lofting. So I really don't have a way to sell plans. However, Andy Hutchinson at High Desert Dories does sell plans and, as I mentioned above, he hopes to crunch the Doryak into something salable in plan form. Stay tuned. 

Yes, we will be making them for sale as of late fall/winter. They'll run around $6,000 or more depending on how many extras you want.

No, it usually doesn't make them much cheaper if you come and help. It actually slows us down and I spend more time teaching and supervising than I do producing the goods. Although we sometimes do that as an option, we are getting more hesitant. 

It makes more sense to either A) build professionally, or B) teach. And until I find a way to get affordable liability insurance, I have no plans to start teaching again in my shop. Much as I really enjoy teaching, the lack of insurance makes me a little too twitchy.

That said, Gary stopped by yesterday after a Grand Canyon trip to show off this boat. He took three of my courses a couple years ago (when I was still brave enough to do it without coverage) --bronzecasting, oarmaking, and building the Briggs boat. Man, he was a mighty good pupil--the boat is beautiful.