Moving into April

By the end of May, we’ll begin the disassembly of the shed around the boat. Up until then, we’re putting in as many hours as we can on the hull. There are a lot of things that can be put off until after the launch, but not the hull. Duh.

Spring has been arriving in fits and starts. We use a fan and mister to blow water on the hull, trying to keep it from drying out. One morning, we walked on to the staging and found this.

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Come ON. Enough already. We are so ready to be done with cold weather.

Walt and I are closing up the planking at the aft quarters. To get the butt spacing right, we’re following the spacing of the existing planks. This means that if the last 7′ of a plank are bad, we’ll remove the whole plank up to it’s current butt joint. Unfortunately, that means taking off some sections of perfectly good wood. Case in point, on starboard, this plank has to be pulled about 10′ forward of the place it’s currently cut.

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At least the planks that we’re doing this to aren’t original to the boat. These are 1980′s vintage. The quickest way to get them off is to drill out the trunnels. That’s why you see these big holes along the plank.

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Even with the trunnels gone, the caulking and fit of the planks make them a task to remove. That’s good, and it reminds us to replace these with fits that are equally tight.

Just like on port, we’re making 3-D patterns of the twisted plank sections on starboard. The straight sections are easy to do, and only require basic width and bevel measurements, but the last 8′ or so in the aft section have a tremendous twist and curve. Looking aft from the straight section.

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Looking forward from the aft end of the plank. The batten marks out the lower edge of the outer face of the plank.

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And here’s the finished pattern on top of the stock that will eventually become this plank.

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In case you’re having a tough time seeing how that pattern will come out of that plank, here’s a sketch of the plank cross section drawn out on the end of the stock.

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Lots of sculpting to do.

Elsewhere around the boat, Dean has been making copper inserts for some small lights (windows) in the hull. Fitting…

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and then using wedges to get sharp creases in the corners for a tight fit.

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The captain’s quarters are at the aft end of the ship. The captain gets two small port lights that go through the transom.

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John has been cutting these (right through the planking he just installed).

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He did this by making a template, drawing the shape on the planking, and then drilling a lot of holes around the perimeter to remove most of the material.

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He used a router, jig saw, and rasps to refine the shape.

Down lower on the hull, many of the guys have been fairing the hull.

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You can see the piles of shavings from all the planing. Fairing a big hull like this is a Ton of work.

Here, Jamie is setting the trunnels just a little deeper in the section that he’s fairing. This way, he doesn’t cut away the wedged portion of the trunnel as he fairs away high spots in the planking.

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Trevor is working on the port side whale strakes.

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The top strake has a bead cut into it. You can see this clearly in the lighter strake near Jeff.

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The collections department was kind enough to loan us a plane with exactly the right shape for cutting this detail.

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The dramatic light in those photos is pretty much par for the course in the boat shop around this time of year. Case in point, Barry working on his plank…

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Kevin has finished up the beaded bulkhead planking on starboard and has moved over to port.

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He’s down to the last strake here.

Speaking of last strakes, I’d mentioned in the last entry that Jamie had finished up the port waist planking but I didn’t have a photo. Here you go.

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Pretty nice, eh?

Here he’s using a dumbing iron (feel free to correct me if that’s the wrong spelling) to open up some particularly tight seams.

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If a seam is too tight, it makes the caulker’s job harder. The dumbing iron is like a dull chisel that is driven into a tight seam to open it up a bit.

Just above Jamie, Matt and Roger have been putting in the risers and topgallant rails above the cap rail.

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Here, Matt is using a saw to go between the riser and cathead. The kerf that he cuts will create an even opening between the two parts. When the riser is slid a tiny bit to the left, the gap will close, creating a perfect fit.

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Roger has been working out the hawsepipe holes. He uses old photos as well as cad drawings that he developed to get the angles and locations of these holes just right.

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This is the opening at the top of the bow just above the stem. The two big posts are called knightheads. The bowsprit will protrude through this gap.

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And just below Jamie, Chris is continuing to plank up to him. Here, he’s lining out the next plank.

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You see a lot of new planking going on the boat, but we’re not kidding when we say that we try to save every plank that we can. Case in point, here’s a plank that was taken off the boat to work on the frames, and then fit back up against new planking. It’s the darker one in this photo.

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We didn’t steam it when reinstalling it since it already had the proper shape. Still, it took the usual collection of ring staffs and wedges to get it to fit just right.

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Sometimes, we have to get… creative… when working out how to clamp a particularly difficult plank to the boat. Here’s Walt’s carved plank on port being held in with ring staffs, a plank jack (that tall wooden timber with the jack embedded in it), and a ring staff clamped to the end and hauled upwards to induce twist in the plank end.

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It didn’t break.

He used a similar setup on a slightly lower plank that went in on starboard.

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That big clamp is holding a ring staff on to the end of the plank. It’s only there to induce twist into the plank as it’s hauled up to the frames.

This plank wasn’t carved. Instead, we used kerfing to help manage the twist and bend.

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On a smaller scale, here’s one of the climbing steps that’s being remade. It mounts on the hull near the aft starboard whaleboat.

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You can see these in the model photos at the midships and aft quarter.

All over the boat, painting prep moving along quickly. Here, Evie is applying stripper to an older section of planking around the starboard stern quarter.

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It’s everywhere.

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All getting ready for this. The starboard bow bulkheads are now painted with linseed oil paint.

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The bottom painting has begun as well.

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More soon!