Mountain Orchards

Apple Orchard in Bloom, Blue Ridge

We drive through the little valley below Jefferson’s Monticello every day. Up above Monticello, along the ridge of Carter’s Mountain, is an orchard and vineyard with wide views of the Piedmont to the East and the Blue Ridge to the West. We’ve been going there since the kids were small, picking warm peaches in summer, pumpkins for Halloween, then apples and cider right up to first snows. In Spring, cycles of bloom sweep over the ridge like vast, slow moving clouds, starting first with the cherries. Continue reading “Mountain Orchards”


Draping 6oz Fiberglass Cloth


(to start of project)

A Metamorphisis

The process of glassing a hull is like riding a roller coaster – there’s a long, slow buildup, but once you start there’s no turning back, no matter what, until it’s all over. If you make a mistake, too bad, cuz anything you can’t fix quickly you pretty much can’t fix. You just have to suck it up and keep going. Continue reading “Glassing”


Skeg scribed for cutting


(to start of project)

The instructions on the plans for making the skegs consist of the words “Make skegs.” The Barto plans do actually indicate a taper from 1 1/2” down to 1” but that’s about it, leaving quite a bit to the imagination. Took me several days of thinking, and looking at pictures of what others have done, to come with something I thought would work. Continue reading “Skegs”

A Season Passes

Twilight, Blue Ridge & Barns


(to start of project)

Spring is finally here. A full season, plus a bit, has now passed since the boat project began. I’m about a month behind the optimistic schedule, but still fairly close to the more realistic one. No worries, yet. I expect to use several three day weekends sprinkled through Spring and Summer, and a couple of those should catch me up pretty quick. Ignoring other house projects of course helps, but those are piling up – painting, repairs, yard work, and on and on – none of it getting done. We’re going for shabby chic this year, and succeeding wonderfully. Continue reading “A Season Passes”

Final Fairing


(to start of project)

Blogging has been light lately. Between doing taxes, family obligations, etc., boat progress has been a little sparse. On top of that, there are no dramatic changes during this phase. You just kind of sand and smooth ‘til you’re tired of it, then quit for a few days and start again. At this point, though, the fairing is essentially done.

The next step will be adding skegs, and from here on out the boat will take on weight quickly, so flipping will not be so flippant. Because of the way I’m doing the transoms I need to visualize how the skeg, transom, rudder and hull parts will come together before committing. Hard to do that upside down, so gave me an excuse to turn one up again. Just walking into the room is nice – the smell of cedar, the gentle curves, smooth surfaces – but turning them over is a sensation like the humming of a gong. You just can’t help but go “wow . . .” Continue reading “Final Fairing”

Road Along the Ridge

Forest Fog


Spring is taking it’s time getting here, like it lost its way, stumbling about.
Mornings are cold and damp. Not really raining; just steady dripping from eaves and limbs, buds closed up tight. Hills and valleys stay swallowed in fog.



Filling and Fairing

Staple Holes Filled 


(to start of project)

Some people really hate this part, but I love sanding and smoothing. It’s slow work, but the wood goes through a pleasing transformation, both visual and tactile.

Before sanding and fairing, the staple holes, sloppy joints, and other imperfections are filled with a mixture of glue and sawdust. The first trick to filling the staple holes, and making them less prominent, is to make them smaller. You do this by soaking the wood well with a wet sponge. This causes the wood to swell and the holes to close up. In some cases, almost completely. Since the outside of the hulls will probably be painted, this is not so important now, but getting the technique right here will help later on the inside. Continue reading “Filling and Fairing”