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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Weird Weather (updated)

Hyacinths blooming in fresh snow


(to start of project)

A few weeks ago we had snow on daffodil, crocus and hyacinth blooms. Yesterday it was almost 90 degrees. Abnormal is pretty normal here this time of year. I have photos taken several years ago of roses blooming in a snow storm. They don’t sleep well nights at the local vineyards and orchards until April is over and done with.

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Toe Rail Layout

Toe rail, rub rail, and hardware mockup at the stem.


(to start of project)

There are more posts to do on Guatemalan boats, but in the meantime we’ve got our own boats to attend to.

Time for Toe Rails. This is a good example of how to take something simple and make it complicated. Or maybe things that look simple are more complicated than they seem.

Chapelle’s scantlings for the Toe Rails are 3/4” x 1 3/8”. Barto specs them a little thinner at 1/2”. I’ve seen Melonseeds done with big thick rails, no rails, and everything in between. Frankly, they all look good. I made some mockups to try different sizes out.

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Boats of Guatemala: Lake Atitlan Cayucos

Dugout Canoes on the beach at Santa Catarina


(to start of project)

The boats native to Lake Atitlan are the cayucos, a unique form of dugout canoe. You see these boats all over the lake, from dawn to dusk, though usually near shore where the fish are, as fishing is their primary use. Rows of them are pulled up on the beaches of every small village and town along the shore. Continue reading “Boats of Guatemala: Lake Atitlan Cayucos”

Boats of Guatemala: Lake Atitlan Launches

The Mayan crew, pounding the boat across Lake Atitlan, just ahead of a storm.


(to start of project)

I’ve started on the toe rails, and hope to have progress to report soon, once I get it figured out.

In the meantime, here’s some boat related reporting from our trip to Guatemala. Coming from such a car-centric culture, the widespread use of boats for transportation there was fascinating; not only the extent of it, but the types and their construction, as well. Continue reading “Boats of Guatemala: Lake Atitlan Launches”