Thursday, May 14, 2009

Alex Low : Trad Rad

Galena (AKA Cockle)

Alex Low is a talented and hard-working boatbuilder on Gabriola Island in British Columbia and has been spoiling the members of the WoodenBoat Forum by allowing us to follow along on his build of a replica of a J.R. Purdon cutter that is at Mystic Seaport - Cockle. This particular boat was known by several names including Galena and Fox. This boat is a particularly large daysailer at nearly 19' long, and a displacement of about 5400 pounds. Both his website and the thread at the WoodenBoat Forum have a spectacular set of pictures taking you through the build process.

Keep in mind that although they had done a great deal of groundwork in getting the lines for the boat, lofting and arranging for materials, the actual building process started back in November. I'm going to abbreviate the process significantly, but I urge you to follow the links above to see the progress of their work

The main keel members were cut from Douglas Fir. Below are a few pieces from out in the yard - and they are the small ones! The keel timber itself was especially impressive as was the framing saw they used to cut it!

The next shot is nice as it shows the well-lit workspace they are in as well as the molds (against the rear wall), lofting (on the floor) and the keel timbers rabbeted and assembled in an upright position. Note the notches for the ribs.

The ribs are all steamed Pacific Yew - a very tough, but flexible choice for this location.

I particularly like the next shot. It shows the stern timber and the ribs and complexity of the rabbet looking up over the transom. Truly beautiful workmanship!

Starting at the keel, they attached the garboard planks which were of Douglas Fir. The remainder of the planking is Western Red Cedar.

About a week ago, the whiskey plank went on. Alex posted this beautiful shot. I think he should be selling posters of this myself. The light is cool and the shape is awesome even if the hull isn't faired yet!

They have the goal of completing this boat to have it in Port Townsend, Washington in the fall. Personally, I think that they're going to reach that goal. Particularly if they are working this fast.

It's been hard work, but Alex and his friends have made it look easy and done a beautiful job on the build in the process!

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