Winter has arrived!

Now that the cold weather is upon us, we’re paying a little more attention to the cover surrounding the boat. Nothing motivates like a cold breeze. This shelter has withstood two hurricanes so far, but it’s getting a bit long in the tooth and the many repairs are pretty obvious.

The apprentices have recently done a good round of patching and sealing the walls.

On those days when the wind is blowing stink, a good cover makes an enormous difference.

Matt has been working out in the pole barn on the outer stem for a while, and now it’s time to take all of those parts and put them together on the boat. Here’s the lower section strapped in place.

Matt then drills through to the inside of the boat and a long copper rod will be used to rivet the outer stem to the inner stem.

You can see that the new stem is bedded in tar here.

We bed any place where where water could be trapped between 2 pieces of wood.

As I mentioned in the last post, we’re replacing the worm shoe along the base of the keel. As you might imagine, this presents some tricky problems since the boat is currently resting on her keel and the keel blocks get in the way of both removing the old worm shoe and installing the new one. The solution is to add other supports to hold up the boat when the keel blocks are removed. Here, Rob is attaching some new shores back by the rudder post.

Shelly and Evie have been working under the boat getting the underside of the keel prepped for the worm shoe.

They’ve inspected, scraped, and painted every surface that they’ve had access to.

You can see one of the keel blocks in this photo. When those blocks are removed, they’ll get a coat of paint there as well.

Shawn has been patterning some of the old cutting in guards using the same type of 3-D pattern that Walt was using earlier.

Here, you can see the pattern on the left and the finished part on the right.

Planking has been continuing at a steady pace. Here’s a stern plank that took a bit of work to install. The plank has just come out of the steam box and is being fastened in at the aft end as quickly as possible.

The curve is severe at the end of the boat, so we have to angle the plank down to the ground to get the end locked in place. This required moving the yellow scaffolding in towards the boat as far as possible to get out of the way of the plank. Once the end is set, we quickly haul up the free end using a series of blocks and tackle.

One set pulls the plank up, the others pull it in towards the boat.

Once the plank end is pulled up, we move the yellow scaffolding out and under the plank. This gives us a platform to work on the plank. At that point, we’re back to the well-practiced system of wedging the plank up against the boat using ring staffs and wedges.

We’ll often use 2 wedges in opposition to get greater force against the plank as well as to keep the ring staffs square to the plank face.

Trevor’s been prepping the starboard frames for planking. Here he adds shims as necessary and then fairs everything using a power plane.

Back in the stern, Walt was installing he last strake of yellow pine when it became clear that it needed some steaming to make the curve and twist in this location.

The solution: steam only the part that needs it. This required making up a small steam box out of a section of pipe.

The pipe slips over the plank and steam is piped in from the end. Here, you can see the pvc pipe on the right, looking quite noodly from the heat.

The pipe carries steam from one of our steam generators down on the ground. From here it goes through a hose to the steam box.

After a few hours, she went in with no problems at all.

John has been planking up the transom. You can see a new strake clamped in just below one that’s been fastened at the top of this photo.

Below that, a smaller strake of ceiling planking is being bent, using extra blocks to create overbend. This strake will be installed inside the transom once it’s cooled and the curve sets.

Speaking of steam, sometimes we pipe steam under the boat to give it a good dose of moisture.

One thing you’ll see if you walk around the boat are lots of notes that we write to each other.

With a project this large, and with this many people working on a variety of jobs, it’s important to make sure that information doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

Lastly, we’ll finish off with Ginger showing us how to properly wedge and set a trunnel.

Once the trunnel has been driven in with 1″ to spare

and the end trimmed, a modified caulking iron is used to split the trunnel vertically.

Next, she takes a wedge and shaves it a bit so that it will fit snugly into the split.

That’s a hand-made riggers knife by the way, made from an old kitchen knife.

The wedge is driven into the trunnel.

Next, the protruding edges of the wedge are trimmed once more to flush them up with the sides of the trunnel.

The wedged trunnel is then pounded home using a large wooden mallet called a Beetle.

The result: trunnels that are flush with the plank, with wedges that fit tightly along the edges of their holes.