Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WoodenBoat Show : Part 3

Most people can certainly tell from my postings here that I'm interested in canoes of all shapes and sizes. There were certainly plenty of different wooden canoes around the WoodenBoat show. Today will be a "theme post" with some of the canoes that I enjoyed around the show.

Here's Nick Schade of Guillemot Kayaks speaking with a potential customer. In the foreground is one of his Nymph Double Paddle Canoes that WoodenBoat recently had a set of how-to-build articles in their magazine. (See WoodenBoat Issues 199 and 200) Nymph is a 10-1/2' to 12-1/2' long canoe depending on how you space the patterns and is designed for ultralight construction. It's on my list of canoes to build. (Yeah, I've got a list.)

I didn't see any details on this square-stern freighter canoe - an interesting hybrid build of ribs and strips with a fiberglass coating.

Hilary Russell of the Berkshire Boatbuilding School had a Solo 11 skin-on-frame canoe (detail below) and was building another using willow for the ribs and some of the stringers. Truly impressive little boats at about 20#. Hilary has also had this design published as a pair of build-your-own articles in Woodenboat issues 205 and 206. Also on the list...

Speaking of building yourself, this nice Morris-esqe reproduction was part of the I-Built-it-Myself display on the green.

Further up was this nice Clearwater 16 canoe by Dylan and Emily Schoelzel of Salmon Falls Canoe Company. Two years ago, Dylan and Emily had some nice canoes on display at the WoodenBoat Show, but I think this one is of even better quality. Be looking out for these folks in the future - they will be building great boats for a long time to come.

Clean and crisp details on the Clearwater.

Interesting caning pattern on the Clearwater's seats. I need to expand my caning skills a bit, I think.
Robert Ross, from Ross Brothers had some older boats available to buy including this nice courting canoe with long decks...

...and a trailerful of other options. Enough to make Red Green happy.
More to come...

Monday, June 29, 2009

WoodenBoat Show : Part 2

As I said yesterday, my next trip was up along the docks. I'm a small boat kind of guy and I find myself looking at those boats which peak my interest, but at the WoodenBoat Show keeping focus can be difficult. There is so much to do and see and so many people to talk to. This is just a very small sampling of the boats that were at the show's docks.

Wandering up from the Dupont shipyard towards the Sabino there were a few interesting cats hanging out at the dock. It was early and people were still bringing boats to the docks. Here is Tigress being spiffed up.

Nearby were Goblin and her tender.

On the docks near the entrance was a stunning Caledonia Yawl.

Just remember, the Devil IS in the details...

I was fond of this peapod, Little Mary, designed by Eric Dow from lines of an old boat he saw in Stonington, Maine and built by Rick Waters

Here's a Rescue Minor (an Atkin design) by Timm Schleiff (on the left) - understated beauty.

The CLC Pocketship was a interesting little cruiser as was the Regret, a reproduction of Commodore Monroe's sharpie lifeboat, Egret, both built by Geoff Kerr of Two Daughters Boatworks.

The docks at the north end of the seaport were pretty full with some beautiful boats, but much too big in scale for me. They look sorta hard to car-top!

I suppose if I could find a place for a larger boat, an Albert Strange design like Sea Harmony belonging to Thad Danielson of Redd's Pond Boatworks would be my choice.

Even the shirts Gannon and Benjamin had looked like they were ready to sail!

Lovely dragon detail on the bow of Elf. For more about Elf, please see Russ Manheimer's post on his blog.

More to come tomorrow!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The WoodenBoat Show : Part 1

I managed to get to the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic on Friday and wanted to share a little bit of the experience with you. It's really a show that is targeted at a very wide audience. There were boats ranging in size from less than 10' to over 100' with all manner of propulsion.

I had some things that I definitely wanted to see at the show and did my best to see those things. My first? To see the Charles W. Morgan on the hard where she was being restored. When she was in the water, it was really hard to imagine her full size. Another interesting fact that I've been unable to verify was that she was built in 70 days! She had a draft of 17' unladen according to the staff member who was talking about her. Here she is in her glory with her copper bottom removed to expose the planking:

One of the major reasons that the Morgan is out of the water is to repair the "hogging" of the keel. Hogging is the deflection of the hull of a boat's bottom where the middle is higher than the ends. In this case, apparently due to a combination of the buoyancy of the ends of the hull and strains of the rigging loads. Here's a great picture that shows the curve in the keel timbers:

Another thing that I was very enthusiastic to see was Sam Johnson's bronze casting demonstration. He has been teaching about the subject for many years and provided a great overview of the process and showed some interesting things he's cast and problems during the casting process. One of these days I'd like to take Sam's class at WoodenBoat or over at Mystic Seaport. Here's Sam with a hot crucible of bronze just before the pour. On the ground is a cope and drag that has casting sand prepared for pouring an oarlock.

Here is the oarlock broken out of the mold - still hotter than Hades at the moment. Trimming, filing and polishing will still be required.

The weather was a bit "iffy" to say the least. Cloudy with intermittent light showers. I figured that I'd better see those outdoor things that I wanted to see before it started to rain. I started with the docks.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If you nuke it, they will come...

I think that there should be an international ban on the deployment of microwave popcorn in the working environment. It has got to be one of the most distracting things I can think of. Torture, really. Perhaps the UN will get involved, or somebody will come forward and let me know that it is against the Geneva Convention. Microwave popcorn either:

  • smells *GREAT* and you MUST have some (although there isn't any for sale in the vending machine)

  • smells AWFUL because somebody didn't stand near the machine to see when it stopped popping and it is now a carbonized lump in the cafeteria threatening anyone in the vicinity with carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • is endangering the safety of all employees due to the fact that it has burst into flames in the microwave (see above).
Perhaps we should get the FDA or the EPA involved here. I'm not kidding, but there is a disease, Bronchiolitis obliterans (AKA "popcorn lung") caused by the inhalation of the chemicals used to make the lovely buttery aroma. Either way, the stuff is a nuisance in the office.

Gawd, I want a bowl of popcorn right now.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, June 21, 2009

~I fought the lawn~

This is the sky:

This is your lawn on the sky (Note the mushrooms!):

Any questions?

Well, the lawn didn't win. At least I don't think so.

As I've mentioned, we've been getting epic amounts of rain. Usually, I don't think much of it because it simply means more water to paddle on. However, it has been so wet that mowing the lawn has been impossible. Today, Father's Day, I decided that it was necessary for me to mow the lawn come hell or high water. (Thought I was joking about the high water part when I started, but noooo....) About two weeks ago, I fed and limed the lawn again as it was doing somewhat poorly. Then it began to rain. After each rainfall, there seemed to be a rustling noise followed by an audible *POP!* and the grass would grow another 2". This morning, I went out to empty the compost into the bin we keep out back and my feet were disappearing with each footstep into the verdant leviathan which my lawn has become. Drastic intervention was required, rain or no rain.

Time for the Lawn Ranger and his faithful steed, Orange.

After a passing shower, I checked the weather map for a break in the action and hopped on my trusty Husqvarna. It is a beast of a machine that is fortunately equal to the job with its 15HP two-cylinder engine and twin blades. I managed to get less than one loop of the lawn before the bagger was full. They're large containers and hold several cubic feet of cut grass. I found I had to stop after every loop of the lawn to empty the bagger, slowing me down. To empty the bagger, I head out the path to the grass pile, and enormous, lumpy green moster of immense proportions. It sits under a canopy of Sumac with its pale palmate leaves looking very tropical. I can't seem to get the opening lines of this song out of my head as I go to empty the bagger:

Then, Mother Nature decided to laugh at me. She sent more rain. Buckets of it. I did manage to get back in the garage before the heavens opened. I got maybe a quarter of the lawn cut. Dang. I sat on the mower hoping to wait out what I figured was another passing shower. After a few minutes, it showed no sign of stopping.

I gave up for the moment and went into the house to start working on dinner. We'd invited my father over for a Father's Day supper. On the grill. Really. This is New England, however. ("If you don't like the weather, wait a minute.") The rain slowed and stopped, allowing me to light the grill as the weather showed signs of a change for the positive. During dinner, a wide swath of sunlight on the kitchen floor mocked me as I sat eating.

After dinner and my father's departure, I went back to mowing. The swaths of grass that I'd cut earlier in the afternoon was an inch higher than the stuff I cut after dinner. I swear.

I did manage to get the lawn done. Thankfully, the Husky doesn't slow down for wet grass. Discretion being the better part of valor, I opted not to get out the weed-wacker to clean things up. With fresh wet grass like this, I always get spattered from toes to hips with a spray of green making me look like some odd half-elf mixture. Maybe tomorrow.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Tickled my funny bone. What can I say?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Courtesy of one of my friends...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday

Mounting hardware on boats is a big deal. You have a lot of important needs to fulfill that are sometimes at odds with each other. For example, you need to have fasteners that are corrosion resistant and it depends on whether you will be using them in fresh water, salt water or both. I will not get into the detail of it, but you need to be careful about hardware selection so as not to create electrical issues by mixing hardware inappropriately. Depending on the requirements, stainless steel, silicon bronze or brass may be appropriate. Be sure that the screws are both big enough and long enough for the job. Pick the driving head that you prefer - I like slotted as they can easily be recut if stripped with a piece of a hacksaw blade - try that with a Phillips bit.

A good drill/countersink bit makes the job easier. The tapered ones from Fullers and others are very nice and worth the money. They can easily be set up to drill the proper sized and depth of hole and offer replacement parts if they get damaged or dull. Matching tapered plug cutter sets are also available.

You now need to have the proper screwdriver. What? You've got two (Straight and Phillips) and that's just fine with you? Oh, no, no... There are different size and length drivers for a reason. The screws have different sizes. Use the right size and type for your screws. I do recommend hand-driving the screws with a hand driver or a bit brace as opposed to "power-driving" them with a drill. The drill gives you very little feedback and it's easy to strip the soft stainless, bronze or brass screws. Driving by hand may take a bit longer, but gives you a measure of control and the ability to align the screw heads. (We are being detail-oriented, aren't we?)

Before we actually drive the screws, it isn't a bad idea to use a standard steel screw of the same size as the stainless/bronze/brass screw we're ultimately going to drive to cut the threads ahead of time. This is particularly good if the wood is exceptionally hard. It's also a good idea to lubricate the screws. I've seen it done with many things including old bars of soap, but I prefer beeswax. Just a dab on the threads makes the screws easy to drive and if you get it on the wood, it's easy to remove with a little alcohol so as not to contaminate the wood with wax before finishing.

Happy driving!

And straight from the garden!

Monday, June 15, 2009

It's been a bit damp.

I guess that I shouldn't complain.

But I will.

It's been raining steadily for the last week. (or seems like it has...) We've had serious, soaking rains and humid weather most days. I'm beginning to wonder if I'm growing mold. I'm supposed to go to the WoodenBoat Show at Mystic at the end of next week and then attend a party given by friends nearby. I'm planning to bring a tent to stay after the party, but the host has been telling dire tales of slugs in his yard. He's been comparing them to banana slugs that he saw in California. Very large. Very yellow. Perhaps I will not wear sandals to his house. He does tend to exaggerate a little. Maybe I'd better ask his wife.

I always think of slugs as homeless snails. Don't ask me where I get that thought from, but I do. I saw a few slugs out in the plants in our back garden the other day. It surprised me as we live in a place with fairly dry, well-drained soil. I didn't expect to see them. When I saw one of these garden snails on the back of the compost bin last night, I was a bit stunned.

If my M-I-L was here, she'd probably be out looking for the snails to go with a little garlic butter and a glass of red wine. If life hands you lemons...

As I sit here typing, I'm listening to it rain rather hard outside and thinking back to my drive home this evening - the source of inspiration for this post. I left work and headed to the nearest supermarket on my ride home to pick up a few things. It was literally raining down in buckets and the road looked like a river. The storm drains and windshield wipers were both having a hard time keeping up with the amount of water falling from the sky. The thing that astonished me was that there seemed to be frogs everywhere trying to cross the road. Little bitty ones and great big ones. I guess I should be thinking about an ark again instead of a skin-on-frame kayak.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

16 Days and counting...

The publishers of WoodenBoat Magazine are again holding the WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport. It's a "don't miss" event for those with any interest in boats of any kind, but obviously wooden-hulled boats for power, sail and paddle. There will be vendors and demonstrations along with the Seaport's excellent displays. The show will be June 26th, 27th and 28th from 9-5.

Monday, June 8, 2009

It's Monday Again...

Gawd, the squeeking is annoying. I wish someone would oil the bearings once in a while...

(animated version is better...)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Exhibition Pictures!

This past weekend the school where I teach held their annual exhibition. During the exhibition, all of the student's work goes on display for the public to see. The school rents a tent (DS and DD have referred to it as the "circus tent".) for my canoe builders to show their work. One new twist this year was that we were asked to have a "live demonstration" of what happens in the class. We found ourselves doing two. The first was a demonstration that I did on making Greenland-style paddles. The second was of adding gunwales to a nearly-finished canoe.

I guess I don't have to comment much here. The pictures really speak for themselves:

Three Wee Lassies and a Tom Hill Charlotte lapstrake canoe.

Close up of Arrow's Rear Deck and nice brass painter ferrule (Note the peaked deck and laminated coaming - the Devil is in the details.)

Arrow's feature strip.

Charlotte design's mahogany deck with tiger maple stripe.

Charlotte's tiger maple swiveling backrest

Double Espresso - a Wee Lassie Two design (rear) and Phoenix (fore) , a Newfound Woodworks Osprey design sea kayak.

All of the boats in my class earn a name over the course of the year. The Double Espresso belongs to a gentleman who owns a business selling coffee among other things and kindly brought a coffee machine to class for us to share every week! The Phoenix belongs to a man who is a professional cabinet maker and recently lost his shop to a fire that I blogged about here.

Another one of my students lost his boat in that fire. The school asks that if you take a class that you bring your work, finished or unfinished to the exhibition. Fortunately, he had a good sense of humor and brought this little diorama:

This canoe, the Tesseract (think Madeline L'Engle's "Wrinkle in Time"), is a Wee Lassie design being built by a novice woodworker. I think that this student has been doing a marvelous job and should be proud of her work!

Phoenix (fore) and Crossed Canoes (rear)

Crossed Canoes is being built by a woman who is a quilter as well as a boatbuilder and is named for the quilting pattern. If you look closely at the accent strip she chose, it is a quilting "nine-patch" that has been slightly stretched. Here's a picture of the quilt square:

Crossed Canoes

We also had a display of a paddles including a variety of Greenland-style paddles including a child-sized paddle, storm paddle and a full-size paddle showing the various stages of cutting during fabrication. There were also two traditional touring paddles.

Here's what I'm focused on at the moment - a 1/3 scale model of a Tom Yost Sea Tour 15R I'm going to be starting on shortly...

Last but not least is the absolutely stunning Harpoon. (The student carried his tools around in an old Harpoon beer box.) It is a staple-less Wee Lassie Two design. Accents are Peruvian walnut and poplar in the feature strip against a western red cedar hull.

Seat and unique swiveling backrest/thwart combo of his own design are made from Kentucky walnut and are hand-caned. Gunwales are ash inn'l and out'l with Peruvian walnut as scupper blocks.

Decks were more Peruvian walnut with a butternut chevron. Coaming is ash like the gunwales.