Time for Names – Names for Time

Lettering style, ready for the printer.


(to start of project)

Sorry, no pictures here. Just a story.

Names are a very personal thing. Most people following along from the beginning know that “North” and “South” have just been convenient working titles, used to keep everything straight while all the pieces come together. I always figured the boats would name themselves when the time came, and they did, months ago, but I didn’t want to commit until it was certain. Last week I had to fill out the registration forms for the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival, and there was a blank there for “Boat Names” which had to be filled in, and I did, so I guess that time has come. Some background and explanation is in order, though. Continue reading “Time for Names – Names for Time”

Hatch Coaming and Mast Collar

Hatch Coaming, dry fit.


(to start of project)

You know when you’re so tired you do things like: spend ten minutes looking for the glasses you can’t find because you’re already wearing them, or the misplaced pencil you can’t find because it’s stuck behind your ear? Not a good time to be running power tools. I was so exhausted by last Sunday I had to take a nap in the middle of the day, just so I could get something done in the evening. Continue reading “Hatch Coaming and Mast Collar”

Cockpit Coamings

Thinking hard, from all angles


(to start of project)

Many things from List One have now been moved to List Two. A whole boat, in fact.

To try and have at least one boat sailable by MACF, I’m focusing on one boat now. By luck of the draw, South happened to be a one step ahead, so it’s getting all the work now, and the two boats are out of sync for the first time. By the time North gets its turn, I’ll either have everything figured out, or forgotten it. A lot got done, or at least done well enough, and it will take a couple of posts to catch up.

Continue reading “Cockpit Coamings”

The List

The “To Do” List


(to start of project)

There are now a pair of lists posted in the shop. Though the order on them is somewhat arbitrary, they will govern activities for the next three weeks. The first one is a bit daunting:

To Do

  • Finish sanding decks.
  • Cockpit coamings and centerboard case trim.
  • Install centerboard keeper pin.
  • Make jam cleat for each centerboard pennant.
  • Make hatch frames, hatch covers, and hatch attachment fittings.
  • Mast collars.
  • Final shape and trim of stems.
  • Toe rails, toe rails, toe rails, and toe rails.
  • Final trim and shape of transoms
  • Make rudders and tillers
  • Make and install rudder hardware.
  • Rub rails
  • Tung oil varnish all decks and topside brightwork. Twice each boat.
  • Fair and paint hulls. Twice each boat.
  • Add names and stripes if possible.
  • Install hardware.
  • Make oarlock thingies.
  • Get boats outside somehow.
  • Trim Masts and Sprits.
  • Test Sail rigging and make attachment points.
  • Make adjustable mast step sockets.
  • Tung oil varnish masts and sprits.
  • Modify trailer to carry two boats.
  • Pack for St. Michaels, and try not to forget anything.
  • Pray. Meditate. Make appropriate offerings to interested deities.
  • Breathe.


To Do Later

  • Varnish undersides of decks.
  • Add two more varnish coats everywhere else.
  • Add another coat of paint.
  • Add Brass Stem Band and rub strip along keel.
  • Install drain plug.
  • Make floorboard decks.
  • Make canvas spray shield.
  • Sail often.


Most of these things are simple and straightforward. Some, like the toe rails, are a little tricky and complicated, made only more so by the fact they’ll be so prominently displayed. A few things from the first list could be demoted to the second, but not many if we actually want to go sailing in St. Micheals this year. I’ll have to complete at least one item a day, and several on the weekends, to be done by the first weekend in October. If it turns out sailing is not an option, then heck, we’ll go rowing. Modus Operandi is attack the first list at the beginning, start chewing down through it, and see how far we get. Adapt as necessary.

It’s easy to get caught up in a race mentality, which would probably be a mistake. I have to keep remembering the ultimate goal of the last 20 months of work is not to make a big splash on one weekend. It’s to have two boats I’m happy with, proud of, that I’ll be sailing for at least the next 30 years. I could easily botch something trying to hurry, and then have to live with it for 30 years, which would kinda suck. And, I expect to go back to MASCF every year for years to come, not just this year. This is not to say I’m conceding defeat, just graciously accepting whatever comes.

With all that in mind, North got its Deck flush cut and sanded earlier in the week. This morning it got a pretty Walnut Transom. This afternoon, a deck gets sanded and work begins on Cockpit Coamings.








melonseed skiff, mellonseed skiff, melon seed, mellon seed   


A Transom and Then Some

Rough Cut Walnut Transom on South.


(to start of project)

Yesterday South got the flush cut treatment with saws and routers. The deck around the sheer line, the hatch and mast hole all got cut and trimmed, then the deck sanded. It took a while, only because I was cautious. The flush cut router bit actually behaved itself and made it pretty easy. I still remember the fiasco of the router eating my spars, so I didn’t want to take any chances. Continue reading “A Transom and Then Some”

All Hands on Decks

Frame/Deck joint on South.


(to start of project)

Both decks are now permanently attached, marking the last major structural step before these boats are done. Aside from the rudders, tillers and hatch covers, there’s nothing left but trim and finish work. Lots of it, granted, but nothing scary. They look like boats now. Continue reading “All Hands on Decks”

Basement Boats

Old Furnace Door


(to start of project)

Just a quick post while waiting for my lovely assistant to return.

This was shot a couple of weeks ago, and will be one of the last views of the interiors before the decks go on for good.

Gives an idea of what it’s like to descend into “The Cave.” Continue reading “Basement Boats”