Jan / Feb progress

While the storm has slowed us down, we’ve been making steady progress over the past 3 weeks. Here’s a recap.

John has been working on the transom planking as well as the transom ceiling planking. Here’s a look at his progress.

Mid January, one plank fastened, one clamped on just after steaming,

2013-IMG_4942 2013-IMG_4941and 3 more ceiling planks left to go in the stern.


By the end of the month, that had moved to 5 planks installed, and one ceiling plank left to go.

2013-IMG_5141 2013-IMG_5143With the advent of really cold weather, we’ve had to up our game to keep the steam boxes running. This means wrapping the water supply hoses in insulation and incorporating a heating cable as well.

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It’s worked like a dream, and we now have a fully functional steam box no matter how bitter cold it may be.


The cold is just something you have to work around. For instance, if the yellow forklift needs some repairs and there’s no space in the shop, a few salamander heaters can help to both loosen frozen parts and make a reasonable work environment.


Back to the boat.

The waist planking up in the bow has been moving along nicely. Here’s the view on starboard as of mid January:


Here’s another view of that section of the hull, looking forward in early February. Four planks are now installed (out of 7), and a 5th plank has been bent to shape, and then removed.


Somewhere along the line, I managed to cut a beautiful plank that was exactly 1″ too wide along its entire length. Bonehead move. The strip of wood nailed to the top of that plank is a batten for marking a fair line at the proper width. One of the things that you have to learn in any trade is how to fix your mistakes, so this one required cutting a twisty length of wood to the proper width, with the left edge exactly square to it’s inside face. It’s a good skill builder, but as Bartleby says, I’d prefer not to.

Jamie has finished his beaded strake on the port bow and is moving into the waist planking.


Matt has finished installing the last section of the false stem.

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This is it protruding above the stem. It will later be trimmed to match the top of stem angle.


Lately, he’s been fairing the tops of the frames on port in preparation for installing the new cap pieces.

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Meanwhile, Barry, Chris, Trevor and Jeff have been steadily planking up the side of the boat. Here’s an aft plank going in. The photo is taken on starboard, looking aft. The tip of the plank is being fastened in first, and the crew holds the forward end low and as far away from the boat as possible to make it easy to fasten the end.


With the end fastened, everyone wraps the plank around the hull.

2013-IMG_5100 2013-IMG_5102 2013-IMG_5105 2013-IMG_5110 2013-IMG_5114 2013-IMG_5116The plank is left to run long past the butt for now. Later it will be cut to fit tight up against the plank end (in the foreground).


You can always tell when a plank is being made for one of the ends of the boat. It will always have some serious shape to it.


Phil, Bob, and Ryan have been making excellent progress on the worm shoe. Here’s Bob pounding in a wedge underneath the new shoe (the light colored wood) to restore the keel support for the boat.


They’ve got one more section of worm shoe left. Here we’re at the bow looking aft. You can see the lighter worm shoe wood at the base of the false keel ending about 5 keel blocks back.


That will be the last section. You can see a number of supports and heavy duty hydraulic jacks (the grey cans under the forward sections) all making sure that nothing moves when the blocking is removed to allow the shoe in. The jacks will be removed just prior to installation. The guys have been making careful height measurements as they’ve removed keel supports to make sure that the boat isn’t settling at all.


John has been working with Matt (inside the boat and out of view) to fasten plank butts with copper rivets that go all the way through the hull. This is part of the original building specifications laid out to the Hillman brothers in 1840.


You can see that he’s wrapped the rivet with a few turns of oakum.

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The oakum will be compressed beneath the head of the rivet and act as a gasket to help seal the hole.

And that’s the news for now. More later as the snow melts…