A look at the past few weeks

Ali’s been all over the boat lately. Here she is down in the hold helping to peen over rivets that lock in the plank butts.

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These are wrought iron rivets, and much harder to work than the soft copper.

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They go from the planking, through the rib and through the ceiling plank as well. The butt of that plank is not going Anywhere.

She’s also been up on the foredeck, cooking up a yummy concoction.

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Looks like grits. What you’re looking at here is a combination of bee’s wax and pine rosin (also called pine pitch). This gets heated up just to the point where the wax is soft and pliable.

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She’ll then spread it like cake icing into the bung holes of the inner bulwarks planking.

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You can see the holes that she’s filled already. When it cools, it gets quite stiff.

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This is a traditional mixture for filling in bung holes. It’s paintable, waterproof, and it moves with the wood. Great stuff.

Matt has been working at the bow for a while now, first on the stem, and now on the cap rail. The last stem piece was fitted a little while back, and it’s lashed in place awaiting final riveting.

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Looking down from the upper staging, you can see how it butts into the other outer stem sections below it.

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Here, he’s working on fairing the outer stem to the inner stem with an axe and chainsaw.

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He’s marked the lines that he wants to cut to on the forward face of the stem. He then uses the chainsaw to cut little grooves that just barely touch the inner stem and go down to the marked line on the outer stem.

You can see the marked line along the right side of the stem.

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The chainsaw cuts show up as horizontal marks these pictures.

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He next uses the axe to cut the stem away, using the kerfs cut by the chainsaw both as guides for how deep to cut, and as a way to make the cutting easier. You can see the big chips to his right that come off using this method.

After fairing the stem, he’s moved up on deck to work with Roger on making new cap rails. This starts with fairing the frame tops, and then making plywood patterns for the new caps.

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The new yellow pine cap rails are cut out in the main shop using these patterns.

Here, Matt has just hauled up a section of cap with the help of another Matt on our crew (This other Matt was working with Ali on those iron rivets you saw earlier, by the way).

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The new cap rail goes on in sections. Each section is joined to the next using a joint called a nibbed scarf.

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And as long as we’re up at the bow, let’s take a look on the outside. On the port side, you may recall that Jamie installed his beaded strake as a square piece and then shaped the bead after it had been attached to the boat.

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On starboard, we decided to cut the bead in this plank ahead of time, and then install it. Bob had some knives cut for his moulder, and he made short work of transforming a 3 3/4″ x 3 3/8″ length of white oak into a beautiful beaded strake.

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This strake has to undergo a lot of bend and twist when it gets on the boat, so we soaked it overnight in the river,

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before putting it in the steam box.

To make sure that we could clamp this piece without deforming the bead, we made special clamping blocks that fit the plank’s shape.

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The strake was then clamped in the usual manner, using ring staffs to push it in against the frames, and wedges to push it up against the bulwarks planking.

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It went without a hitch, and the strake is now attached to the boat.

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Only one more plank to go in this particular section, just under the beaded strake. That should be installed in the next day or so.

By the way, this soaking things in the river is pretty common. For instance, Matt (yet another Matt!) and Bob are soaking the rudder right now to help close up some checks that have formed as she’s gradually dried out.

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That’s it for now. Lots more to in the hopper, though, and I’ll try to get to in in the next few days.