As usual, I headed down to the WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport about this time last month. Unlike other years, it was hot - like Africa hot. And muggy. And still.
That never diminishes the fun to be had at the show - sweaty or not!
I started out my Friday morning by running into a group of good friends just as I came in the gate. The show always seems to be a place to run into friends both old and new and that's one of the things that's really great about it. I then headed down to the DuPont Shipyard where a live display of steaming and hanging a plank on the Charles W. Morgan was happening. They took volunteers from the crowd to help and I managed to sneak by to get some good pictures. I posted about this previously here.
As I was starting to walk around and see what was on display, I ran into Nick Schade of Guillemot Kayaks strarting to strip a new canoe design of his in his booth. It was one of the few booths where he had a good combination of shade and a cooling breeze coming off the water. I asked if he might want a bit of help later - the response? "Sure." I'm not sure if he thought I was kidding or not...
I managed to take in most of the boats at the docks that I was interested in as well as most of the vendors before I had to head back to do my first stint in the WoodenBoat School booth. C'mon - ya gotta have some "booth babes", right? ;-)
After that stint, I headed out to get a bite of lunch where I ran into one of my friends again. I know he hasn't built a boat, but would like to. I figured heading over to help Nick might give him the push he needed. So, we went over and spent most of the rest of the afternoon helping Nick strip his canoe and enjoying the cool breezes from the harbor.
That evening when the show closed up, I headed over to visit friends at the annual EBS. EBS? Yup. Elbow Bending Symposium - a gathering with great company, great food and a good time. Thankfully, the host and hostess let us camp on the grounds for the evening which is very convenient.
The next morning after a hasty breakfast, I headed back over to the Seaport for another stint in the booth. I arrived to find that the main parking was full and that the secondary parking was as well - they were putting people on the grass at the sides of the road!
After my stint in the booth, I went out and took a good look at two particular things. The first was the Interlux sponsored, "I built it myself" display of boats. Most are built by amateurs and it is fun to see the creativity and talent that is on display. What is always particularly interesting to me are the unique solutions that they come up with for challenges that they find in the building process. Some of the solutions are really neat.
The other excellent event is the Family BoatBuilding that goes on under at tent at the show. Families that have signed up for this event build a boat from start to finish in 3 days. When the three days are up, all they need to do is to paint, varnish and launch! Always an impressive display.
I'll leave you with a few of the sights from the show.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Monday, July 23, 2012
This past weekend, two of my students launched the canoe that they built together. The canoe has been the fruits of their hard work over the past three years and has wonderful details including Peruvian Walnut feature strip and trim, and Mesquite decks. The weather was perfect and the attendees included friends of the couple as well as fellow students from the class. As you can see from the photo above, even before the launching ceremony, the canoe was garnering lots of attention and getting many pictures taken.
The event started with a wonderful pot-luck picnic luncheon and then went on to the launch ceremony. A little bubbly was poured over the bow of the boat and offered to the waters:
After the bubbly was poured, her name was disclosed - Bonnet Rouge or Red Cap - a subtle pun on the toques of the coureurs de bois - the fur traders who wore woolen nightcaps as they travelled. (as the canoe design is based on a Canadian Prospector design) In addition, it was also a reminder of all of the time spent looking for the small red cap that was used to cover the top of their glue bottle.
Finally, the builders put their craft to it's intended use!
Thursday, July 19, 2012
We took a trip back in June with some friends on the Pemigewasset River in New Hampshire. The Pemi, as it is known up there, is a fairly gentle river that is known for it's sandy bottom and clear water. Trusting in the scouting reports of friends that we were paddling with, we brought two wooden canoes - the lapstrake Charlotte and a cedar strip Wabnaki and DW's new Tupperyak. We drove there on a Friday and stayed at a private campground right on the water in Thornton, NH.
The campsites were small, but clean and there were great amenities and services for campers. The sites that our group had were literally right on the water. Our plan was to get a shuttle upstream that was provided by the campground and paddle back downstream to the campground on Saturday, returning home on Sunday. That's one of the wonderful things about the Northeast US. There are many accessible mini-wilderness experiences that you can enjoy on a weekend. At any rate we spent Friday evening setting up camp, having dinner and enjoying a campfire with old friends and some new ones as well. Here's a view of the campsite:
Just beyond the canopy and the trees was the river. This was the view from the campsite - an old railroad bridge:
I noted that the Pemi was a sandy bottomed river. Well, it was, until Irene came through last year. Most of the river bottom was a bit "bony" in that most of the sand had been washed up onto the banks of the river and new channels carved out by the rushing flood-waters from Hurricane Irene. While I understood that there was a rockier section of the river up near Woodstock, I'm not sure that I was fully ready for what I found. When we finally put in on Saturday we'd gone a few hundred yards downstream and had to get out and walk the boats. The river was shallow and fast with barely enough water to float the boats in some spots. Some bits included some pretty fast Class I and Class II water with obstacles to paddle around.
I was particularly impressed with DW and DD's abilities to read the river and find safe routes through the whitewater stretches of the river. What was even more impressive was the amount of water toys on the river. Our group had brought squirt guns of various forms and some Stream Machine water blasters. We ran into a group of Boy Scouts who were of a similar mind and were "well armed". When the first overtook us, they pulled out squirt guns and began to ply streams of water in our direction. They definitely regretted that shortly after. Two of our group had the Stream Machines out and soaked the Scouts with 1/4" streams of water. This went on for most of the day.
Timing seemed to be with us as we approached the end of our journey. A stiff breeze blew up that portended some heavier weather. Thunder and a bit of lightning appeared upstream from us and we managed to get off the river just as some sprinkles of rain began to fall. Fortunately for us, the storm went around us and we stayed dry.
Dinner was a pot-luck affair with a campfire to follow. Another great evening.
The trip was not without casualties, however - the Wabnaki has some new battle scars:
Be prepared for me to use this boat as an object lesson for some Tech Tip Tuesday learning to follow. People often talk about how fragile that cedar strip and fiberglass canoes are, but I'll be showing you the wonder of how you can restore the canoe to like-new glory!
Monday, July 2, 2012
How to Hang a Plank on your 1841 Sailing Vessel:
Step 1: You must assemble a (large) group of willing friends to help and provide them with the appropriate safety equipment.
Step 2 : Provide your willing friends with clear and concise instructions on how the process will go and how not to get hurt.
Step 3 : Prepare a plank of live oak ~3" thick, 14" wide and about 30 some-odd feet long. Create "dutchmen" to fill in any checked areas or loose knots in the planking. Put in the steam box to soften for 3 hours or so.
Step 4 : While the plank is softening up in the steam box, prepare the hull with eyebolts (above and below your plank location), pry-timbers, pipe, and have wedges, ropes and mallets available for your willing friends.
Step 5 : Roll the hot plank out of the steam box and onto sawhorses. Caution : the plank may be very hot.
Step 6 : Using your readily available 12 ton forklift with gantry boom and lifting gear, pick the plank up at it's balance point and bring it around to your patiently waiting friends.
Step 7 : Have your friends pick the plank up and put it in place.
Step 8 : Tie the ends of the pry timbers to the eyebolts previously installed in the hull and install pipes in the holes above the plank. At this point, the plank should be held in place with the pry timbers like so:
Step 10 : Using your wedges and a maul, drive the wedges between the pipes and the edge of the plank to assure that it is in intimate contact with its neighboring plank. Also, drive the wedges between the plank and the pry timbers to assure that the steamed plank will conform to the contours of the framing beneath. Again, use plenty of elbow grease.
Step 11 : When done driving wedges, relax and smile a bit.
Step 13 : Using a large auger bit and drill, make at least 3 holes through the planking and into the ribs at every rib. Then, taking a maul, drive the trunnel through the plank and into the frames.
Step 14: Shellac the plank and caulk the planking.
Well, this is how you do it if you're the owner of the 1841 whaling ship Charles W. Morgan and want to hang a few planks. If you missed this at the WoodenBoat Show last weekend, you may not be too late - head on down to Mystic Seaport and check out the progress!