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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Big Weekend

Varnishing Aeon with Tyler and Emily


(to start of project)

Had a great long holiday weekend, with lots of help on hand. Between the two, much got done. The new target date for at least one launchable boat is the end of June. “California” Doug Lawson and his pirate crew are heading East for a visit to Virginia, and I’d love to have a boat in sailing condition when they’re here, even if a few odds and ends get postponed. Doubt I’ll have the trailer modified to carry both boats by then, but who knows.

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Toe Rails Plugged

Toe Rail plugs on Aeon


(to start of project)

While epoxy cures on the rails, all the screw holes can be plugged. Yet another step.

I thought you could buy ready made plugs in various sizes and woods, but apparently that’s just not done. Instead, you buy a set of plug cutting bits. To do it properly, you cut the plugs from the same wood, and then align the grain pattern as they’re inserted.

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Toe Rails Installed

Toe Rails on Caesura installed


(to start of project)

Installing the Toe Rails took all weekend. It’s a job that needs a lot of planning, preparation, and either a lot of hands or a lot of clamps.

Given the way they’re attached, once on, there’s no easy way to take the rails back off for repairs or to fix mistakes, even if you don’t glue them down. But since Ash is prone to rot, it needs to be sealed in epoxy, and it seemed pretty clear the best plan is to seal everything up tight during installation, on both sets, so no water seeps into seams or screw holes later. Maybe doing that will delay repairs a bit longer. Working with epoxy, though, means a limited window of time for the whole process, start to finish. Everything has to go right.

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Toe Rails

Finished Toe Rails, ready to install


(to start of project)

It’s good to be back in the shop again after two full months away from it. Got two full days of work done on the Toe Rails. They took every bit of it, too.

There’s more labor invested in each of these pieces of wood already than any other single piece on either boat. More cutting, drilling, sanding and whatnot than meets the eye. And there’s still more to be done. Must be why so many people decide to do without them.

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