11 April- This Week in the Barn

Great week here in Rockport.  Spring is asserting itself a bit more, though we did get four or five inches of heavy, wet snow Thursday morning.  Still, it is sunny and a balmy 43 degrees as I write this on Saturday morning.  Melting snow is running through the woods behind the house, filling the streams and flowing down to the river and into the harbor.  There are fifty and sixty degree days in the week’s forecast.  And bits of green are pushing up through the increasing spots of bare ground.

In the barn, we started things out by bringing the stems and the inwales together, then shaping the decks out of a piece of maple, and fitting and securing them in place.  Between this and the sizing of the thwarts we put in at the end of last week, the final shape of the boat (beam, bow profile, tumblehome, etc.) is determined and locked in.


I build my seats from ash.  The frames are joined with mortises and tenons, then drilled for caning.  I use medium-fine cane in a traditional, six-step pattern, then bind the edges with medium cane.  This takes way too much time, but it is satisfying.


The next few days were spent finishing the planking, and installing the seats and the carrying thwarts.  The hull weighs 47 1/2 pounds at this point.


Now it is time to set up the shop and prep the hulls for canvassing.


The crew on one of many breaks.




4 April 2015- This Week in the Barn

Monday was a planking day. Planking days are nice- not only do you see a lot of progress in a short time, but the work is pleasant: all hand tools, careful and quiet movements, cedar shavings making things smell nice, and a pot of water simmering on the wood stove to help coax the tight bends and twists at the turn of the bilge.  By the time the planking is done, there will be two and a half pounds of copper tacks (around 1800) clinching the planks to the ribs.  The metal bands on the form bend the tacks over and back into the ribs as they are hammered in.

ribs     midplank

Monday morning                              Monday afternoon

Tuesday, I helped Aaron and Ellie at the farm next door.  We are building a walk-in veggie cooler for the Teen Ag Crew.

Wednesday, I was off to Belfast for the spring Small Passenger Vessel meeting with the coast guard.  Hopefully keeping the launch staffed and running won’t take up as much of my time this summer as it did last.

I finally got back to planking on Thursday, getting so far along that I was able to remove the hull from the form.  This is always a bit nerve-wracking.  The boat is so fragile at this stage.

A quick hour on Friday morning and the yoke and quarter thwarts were in and the rib tops trimmed.  This really stabilizes things.


Next week- stems, decks, deck thwarts, seats and the rest of the planking.