Sheer Clamps – Second Layer

Double Sheer Clamp Lamination


(to start of project)

An odd and disconcerting thing about this sort of project is it takes just as long to make a little piece of wood fit as it does a big one. This means when you make a lot of little pieces it doesn’t look like you’ve accomplished much for the time spent. It makes it hard to gauge how long it will take you to finish, since you tend to overlook the little things when thinking of what’s left, and the little things add up. Continue reading “Sheer Clamps – Second Layer”

Catching Up

Richmond Skyline from Church Hill


(to start of project)

Cicadas are synonymous with Southern summers, the air and light simmer with a pulsing, tinny buzz. This morning, at dawn, bagpipes joined the metallic chorus. Played badly, I might add. It’s Fourth of July weekend, and the Scottsville Parade does pre-promenade staging on the road in front of the house. Hay wagons, antique tractors, fire engines, politicians, Shriners in go-carts . . . not much good for sleeping in, but gets me out of bed early. Continue reading “Catching Up”

Decked Out and a Swim

Tom supervises the deck operation.


(to start of project)

Spent the weekend on more prep work. Though there’s not much to see, a lot got done. Used a round-over bit to take the sharp corners off all the exposed edges on the framing. It’s a small detail, but keeps the wood from splitting and splintering when stuffing gear inside. It also keeps you from getting bit when reaching in to retrieve things. An especially nice touch on grab surfaces, where hands naturally go for carrying or moving a boat. Continue reading “Decked Out and a Swim”

Holes in My Boats

Centerboard Slot, rough cut


(to start of project)

(Happy Birthday, T!)

This weekend was all about cutting holes in the hulls for centerboard slots. This is one of those things you only have once chance to get right – no do overs – so it took a lot of time to get up the nerve. Made my mouth dry and my palms sweat. There’s just something instinctively wrong about cutting a hole in the bottom of a boat, buried deep down at the genetic level, like a fear of snakes or spiders; as though our ancestors, who had the good sense to keep such holes out of their boats, thus lived to pass on their genes and a wise aversion to said holes. Continue reading “Holes in My Boats”

Coins Under the Mast

 A Morgan Dollar, epoxied in place.


(to start of project)

Traditions die hard among watermen. Sailors and shipwrights have been putting coins under masts of ships for several thousand years, and still do today. They’ve been found in the mast steps of ancient Roman shipwrecks, even recently. The hope, still, is the offering will bring good luck and safe passage. The original practice had much in common with the consecration of ancient Greek temples as construction began and, more eerily perhaps, putting coins in the mouths of the dead before burial. It was believed that you had to pay the ferryman, Charon, to take your soul across the River Styx to your final resting place in the underworld. Otherwise, your soul would be doomed to wander the earth. A silver coin was preferred, usually an Obolus, placed under the tongue. Continue reading “Coins Under the Mast”

Attaching the Stems


Finishing the Centerboard Trunks


(to start of project)

Continuing with the process of permanently attaching all the parts. This weekend it was the stems and mast steps.

I wanted to screw the bow stems in place from the inside. It just seems to make more sense. I try not to make any more holes than necessary through the outside of a boat, where they might develop leaks and invite rot. Doing that, though, means one screw needs to go beneath the mast steps, so the stems have to be attached first. That may be why Barto has you attach the stems from the outside – if you follow his build sequence, the steps would already be in place. His plans show counter sinking deep holes into the stems from the outside, then driving in screws and bunging the holes. Given the order I’ve been following, it’s easier to use long bronze screws and attach them from the relative safety of the inside. Continue reading “Attaching the Stems”