Monday, July 2, 2018

Canada Day and other things

A belated but still celebrated Happy Canada Day. I am always amazed at the blessing of being able to live in this great country. We did not get to see the fireworks this year, however. Our town decided to change the location for setting off the fireworks from an open field (where we had a front row seat from our house) to the roof of the local library. (I'm not entirely sure how that got past the local fire chief). Anyway, we missed them and I'm pretty upset about it too.

On to happier things. This year so far we have had visits from about 175 people. It is always a pleasure to meet new folks and see old friends too. People have been great about coming on the weekends if they can and when they can't we've tried to make the time to show them around anyway. We are just cluing up the last of the first part of our clients new vessel that we're building. We will continue that in the winter when work on Lena Blanche is no longer practical because of the cold. This week we should be getting back to work on our beloved schooner in earnest.  It has been too long.
We were visited by the 4H group again from this area. About 20 kids, leaders  and moms/dad's came to see the progress in both shops. We spent 1 1/2 to 2 hours talking about tools, woodworking and interests that the kids had. A couple of the kids were pretty interested in the little skiff boat (a type of row boat) that we were building so maybe in the future they'll try that for a project . Before they left they presented us with a beautiful cutting board. It is truly a work of art.
They also gave a beeswax polish that they made. Oh my, does it smell good. Much thanks to all of you for coming and for the lovely gift.

We also received something very special. A friend of ours called us up one evening and said he had work for us the next day.  I was a little confused at first and asked what we could do for him. "I'm sending your masts tomorrow morning ". Wow. Late last fall we went on a hike with Brian Fields and his wife Sandy and we found a couple of black spruce trees that we thought would be perfect for the masts  for the boat. Brian cored them and they looked pretty good. Later in the winter he fell them but didn't like the look of one of them. A long story short he found another very tall black spruce on his father in law's  property and fell that too. On Sunday morning were saw our masts come rolling down the street atop a load of other (very small by comparison ) logs. It was a sight to see.

A big thanks to Ron Slocum of Great Village who trucked and unloaded this rather unusual load with excellence.  We have been de barking them for the last few days so that they get a chance to dry a little and to keep the bugs out of them. They look fantastic and we can't wait to see them bedecked with sails. Words can't say how thankful we are.

I guess that's about all for now. Smooth sailing.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Spring at last

It's been a long old winter but the warmer weather has finally arrived -shhh, don't say anything in case there's some cold weather lurking in the background .
We have had a great winter this year. I left you in the fall with our electrical inspection looming and , needless to say, that went well. We have been keeping busy in the new shop and have been working on different projects- some for us and some for other people. We are almost finished a new 13' 4" skiff boat that is for sale and we are working on some mast hoops for another vessel and we have started a 46' pilot schooner for a local family and they have been gracious enough to understand that we can only work on it in the winters. We also made 11 of our coach house beams including 2 of the mast partner beams. Today we set them in place and they look great.
Over the winter Warren had a couple of eye surgeries that were needed and he is coming along fairly well with the recovery and I have been battling with some shoulder and arm trouble which I am stubborn enough to fight with until it is right again. Having said that we are now between the 2 shops until we get all of our outstanding work completed and then we will be full-time in the Lena Blanche shop. This year we do ask that any visits take place on the weekends, if at all possible because we'd love to get as much done as possible with a vision of launching next spring. We do want to make our shop available to those who want to visit so if the weekend isn't possible then it's by chance. Come and see.
A couple of photos
Mast hoops

 Skiff boat before it was painted -green, of course.

Coach house beams
Till next time, happy sailing

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Quick update

Did you feel the chill in the air this morning? We have enjoyed such a beautiful fall with the warm weather it's hard to let go but the cooler stuff is coming.
Our winter shop is almost finished, we are waiting for the electrical inspector to come and then we will be able to finish insulating and put up sheet rock. We were planning what we would be able to do towards getting Lena Blanche closer to the water this winter. So exciting! Today we were planing the oak for the deck house beams and we are going to laminate them and start cutting them out. We will be back at the rail tomorrow and get that finished. It's so good to be back at the vessel.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Our New Shop

Hello all. We have not dropped off the end of the world but boy has it been a whirlwind kind of a summer and now it's autumn and things are just starting to heat up around here.
We have done quite a bit to the vessel so far this summer and will continue to plug away at our beautiful Lena Blanche until the cold drives us out of the shop.
Then what? Usually we try to find little things to do in relation to the schooner throughout the winter but a lot of the smaller projects are finished or nearly finished.  So what do 2 boat builders do when the snow starts to fly?  Why, they build a heated boat shop and take on outside work. And that is what we are in the process of doing. We have laid a steel frame foundation and the building materials were delivered today. We will have the concrete pads poured later this week and then the construction begins. There will be heat (finally) so that we can be productive in the winter too. We would love to take on a couple of students who are interested in learning boat building but we haven't worked out a curriculum or pricing yet. If there is interest in this we'd like to hear from you. If you don't want to blog about it you can send a message through the fb page schooner Lena Blanche.
We would like to be building vessels both large and small and maybe have a few woodworking nights to teach the basics of wood working and using tools. We'll pick a small project to get started and for those who are interested we could do something a little more complex.

 Can you guess what this is????? It is a wooden fairlead traditionally made by native Canadians to be used on vessels. A friend of ours brought it in one day to show us. I tried to snag it but he only let me have it long enough to get a good picture and a lead on where I could find more.
 Unloading materials for our new 24' x 50' insulated and heated shop. So excited.

 Good old insulation to keep in all the warm

 Delivery fellows and fellow boat enthusiasts.
Steel frame for new  building all welded up and waiting for concrete pads and then construction.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Wow! Doesn't the summer fly. We've been keeping busy at the vessel and doing a little casting and trying to do a little summer stuff too and now August is almost half way through. We've had the absolute pleasure of welcoming almost 300 people so far this year to visit the shop and have made some lifelong connections,  I'm sure.
We finally got all of the rail placed and now we are sanding, routering  and drilling to make way for stainless rod. Her forward and after decks are all finished and we should be able to get on with new business soon. Ahhhh
So.... pictures
Warren and our son, Sheamus, hamming it up while visiting the Bluenose display at the tall ships festival in Halifax. Hot and so many people.We're looking forward to maybe joining the ships the next time they gather.

Start of the inside of the stern rail.

Warren and his brothers and sisters on the front porch of the family home. Talent abounds with this group. Both brothers have built small boats as well and his sisters are masters at needle work along with many other talents.

Part of the inside rail laminated 

 The beginning od some of her scroll work on the bow

Sanding the finished stern 

Me and Warren's sister, Linda, goofing around at the tea party given for the community during their Seal Harbour Days celebration. We have to take days every now and then to remember that family is what it's all about. 

Part of the stern rail in the press after it's been steamed.

Doing a little planing on part of the oak rail.
Finished stern cuddy deck
A little look from the port side.

We'll keep on keeping on and thanks to everyone who follows our progress.  If you're ever passing through give us a shout.
Fair winds and Smooth sailing.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer 2017

So much has happened over the past month (or so) I'll just plug up a whole bunch of photos and say a few things about  them.
 This was a beautiful gift from one of our visitors Marshall Conrad. He came with a friend of ours and I got to asking about his hobbies (sometimes I feel like all I ever do I'd talk about us and our stuff) and he said he made rock sculptures. When people make things with their hands I get intrigued. I asked if he would send me a photo of some of his work and he went one better.  On his next trip to visit our friend Alfie had this beautiful piece which I am so thankful for.  It lives  in my kitchen and gives me great delight everyday.
Now back to work. We've been working on the rail for the most part .

We got a couple of orders for casting in the foundry. A little bronze  and some aluminum work as well. Above are the wooden patterns for the aluminum work we did. And below is the imprint it leaves in the sand after it has been 'rammed'. There is a core in this one so that it will leave a hollow  part in the casting.

Finished casting ready to be cut apart and sanded.

We also had to do a little maintenance on our sawmill.  It was feeding too fast through the logs and needed some other tweaking and a new coat of paint so we finally got at it. We sawed some oak with it and it is working perfectly. 

Warren sanding the supports for the cat heads. The cat heads swing the anchor over the rail to prepare for lowering or raising to store on deck.

These are logs that were delivered this morning.  Spruce. There's a main and fore boom there and a main and fore gaff as well as a bow sprit and jib boom. The rest will be some planking and maybe another smaller boat, wink wink.
Hope you are all well.
Fair winds and Smooth sailing 

Monday, May 8, 2017


Whew! What a morning. We started some decking this morning and then the company started to arrive. First our dear friend Les showed up and we had a great catch up time with him. Les, besides being a good friend, is the professional behind our engine rebuild for the vessel. We took two 1970s era Detroit diesels and totally rebuilt them with all new working parts under the guidance and actual hands on participation of Les. He has been a huge part in the running of these engines. Thank you, Les.
Then we got a visit from friends that Warren knew as a child, the MacPhee's from Port Williams, NS. Marilyn is actually Warren's cousin and they had a great time reminiscing about things on the shore when they were young and the influence of grandfathers and uncles in their lives. It was my first time meeting these wonderful people and they brought us a nice treat from the Valley which
we will certainly enjoy.
While they were here we were visited by new friends. Brent and Fran have been here before  but brought folks who they thought would enjoy our project. So nice to meet and have a chance to share what we do.
And of course our  friend John B. Great to catch up on the winter's happenings.
Now it's time to grab a bit of lunch. (I'm writing on the fly ).We have visitors dropping by this afternoon to see about some cannon work and we're hoping to get some rail work done before nightfall.
Smooth sailing, everyone.