Mid March Progress

The vernal equinox passed by this morning around sun-up. Just another reminder that the July 21 launch day is inexorably marching towards us. No worries, we’re getting planks onto the boat at record speed.

Here’s the starboard bow section from the first week of the month. If you look closely at the lighter planks, you can see that the top two are wider than the ones below it.


The wider planks make up a section of planking called the whale strakes. These planks gradually thicken as they go up. By the time they get to the waist planking, they’re almost 4″ thick.

Shelly, Shawn, and Maggie have been moving like the wind to get all the new planking trunnel fastened. In the above photo, the clamps and ring staffs old everything in place while the trunnels are installed. Once they’re in, each clamp and ring staff will be removed and the area beneath it will be fastened. Here, Shelly is tuning up a trunnel with a hand plane in preparation for this next step.


In the last entry you saw Walt removing a section of rotted frame. Here is the good wood that was left.


The frame has been cut at an angle with a flat section at the bottom of the cut. This is called a scarf joint. You may recall seeing this same kind of joint before in the keel.
It was oriented horizontally there.


Walt has drilled a series of holes into the flat at the base of this scarf and inserted a number of Impel rods into the holes.


These are solid borate rods that will slowly dissolve when moistened. If any water gets into this joint, the borate will be activated and act as a preservative. The yellow circles along the the face of the scarf are old locust trunnels that were cut through when the old frame was removed.

Dean started installing the copper cladding along the keel,






Phil has taken this job over and is working steadily forward with the help of Bob and Ryan.


As of today, they’re close to the front of the boat.


Back up at the bow, the final waist plank was finally bent onto the boat.


As before, the final plank is clamped to the plank just below it’s eventual location. This imparts the twist and bend needed to fit in its location. Once it has cooled, the plank can be fine-tuned to fit this shuttered space.

The next day:


It was a tight fit, but a lot of wedging and pounding persuaded it to fit just right.


Matt and Paul drilled and spiked it in,


and that’s it for the upper starboard bow.


After final fairing, Evie came in with her caulking mallet.


Once the seams were caulked and primed with paint, Ali and Maggie moved in to seal the whole affair with a generous coat of boiled linseed oil.

2013-IMG_5860 2013-IMG_5866Jamie and Jon have been moving like the wind on the port bow. As of March 12, 5 of 7 planks were on.


Followed by Shawn, the drilling machine.


By 18th, only the shutter plank remained.


Inside the bow, Roger and Matt have been steadily moving forward on the caps.


Here are the starboard pieces, primed and ready for final fitting.

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Quick quiz: can you tell what tool has been used to shape this part just by looking at the wood bits on the deck?

If you guessed an adze: good brain!


The only other tool we use that makes big honking chips like this is the axe.

Speaking of which… Matt has been fitting the cathead on port with exactly this tool.


The cathead is used to hold the anchor when it is stored, as well as to hold the anchor away from the hull during raising and lowering.


Matt used a pattern of the cathead before cutting to establish the exact location for his cuts in the rail.


The outside face of the starboard cap has been beveled and rounded over now.


Very nice.

And meanwhile, the hull planks keep coming. This is one of Jeff’s planks at the port quarter.

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Followed quickly by Shawn.


John has turned the corner with the transom planking. This is the first plank at the “knuckle,” the area blow the relatively flat section of the upper transom where the planking angles in towards the lower hull planks.


The Morgan’s name board will go on these planks that he’s now installing.

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Just around the corner, on the starboard side, Kevin has been installing the beaded bulwark planking while Ali putties seams.


That’s it for now. More soon.

Oh, and in case you were interested, remember that thin slice of wood cut from the beaded strake that immediately began to warp? Here it is after 2 weeks of drying.


Yep, it’s the same piece. And we choose to make boats out of this stuff…