One that didn’t get away.


(to start of project)

Doug, Giselle and the kids got in from California on their whirlwind tour down the coast, and he set a day aside for boating. No sailing – this time – but we did manage to get on the water for a much needed break from jobs and stress. A little float fishing trip down the James was definitely in order, on a Friday when the river isn’t crazy with tubers.

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Painting – Rolling and Tipping

Aeon in her new blue dress


(to start of project)

Had a very, very successful weekend. Not without its bumps and mistakes, but it all ended well, and results exceeded expectations. In fact, T no longer mourns the obliteration of all that gorgeous wood, which is really saying something. Those fairing problems I was worried about? Miraculously, it seems, they’re now silent as the grave, all forgotten like dirt in a hole.

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No Fair

Second coat of primer, ready for sanding.


(to start of project)

You never finish sanding. You just sort of give up. I’m stubborn, so I had to give up three or four times.

Surely, thinks me, I’ve been sanding for weeks. But I looked at the calendar and it’s only been ten days. Overall, though, the job has been going on a very long time, spread out over years, in fact. It’s such a big job it’s best to do a little here and there whenever there isn’t anything else to do. It starts, of course, when the hulls are still bare wood, and never really stops. If you added it all up it would be a solid month of sanding, no doubt about it.

Continue reading “No Fair”


 A job well done.


(to start of project)

I once had a job digging up the bones of dead monks for room and board. The pay wasn’t great, but it was a good job, and I liked it.

On the first day, a portly, pompous Frenchman named Bernard, the foreman, lined off a big grid on the ground with string, making six foot squares separated by one foot borders. Each digger was assigned a square. The job was simple: Dig the six foot square eight feet deep. You could not, however, use a shovel. The only tool you could use to remove 288 cubic feet of dirt was a small mason’s pointing trowel, which you had to supply yourself. Furthermore, you could not dig with the point of the trowel – doing so would be grounds for immediate dismissal. Instead, you had detect and carefully scrape away slight variations in colored layers of dirt with the edge of the trowel, a thin skin of soil at a time, like peeling an onion, scoop that into a pail, then empty it onto a spoil pile 100 feet away. We had three months to finish.

Continue reading “Fairing”

Large Image Detail


A large image, shows detail before the fairing and painting. Pretty rough.

melonseed skiff, mellonseed skiff, melon seed, mellon seed

Haymaking in Sunshine

Bumper crop of fresh hay, rolled and ready


(to start of project)

Wow. Signs of summer. Magnolia blooms scent the air with lemons in the evening, and the rumble-hum of tractors cutting and bailing hay can be heard deep into dusk.

The first hay cutting is the biggest and best cut of the year. This is a big year for hay, too – twice as many rolls filling the fields as years past. All the rain and cool weather. It looks like a random modern art installation when the fields are full of those big round rolls. One day the grass is elbow high. The next day it’s cut and laying down flat like a blond carpet. Then boom the field is green again and covered with golden rolls – giant toffees spilled across a green felt tablecloth. Or a game of Brobdingnagian billiards.

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Rub Rails

Rub Rail detail on Aeon


(to start of project)

Passed a bit of a milestone this weekend. The Rub Rails are on, and they constitute the last pieces of wood permanently attached to these boats. No more. The basic boat part is done. Whoohoo!

There’s still a floor deck to make for each boat, but those lift out for cleaning and remain separate pieces, so, for celebration purposes, I’m not counting those. By all accounts, too, they’re a real pain to make, so I’ll likely save them for last.

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