Saturday, September 24, 2011

Since we have last updated the blog we have been quite busy. We are still waiting on those logs to be delivered so that we can finish the floors of the vessel and the keelson can be installed and fastened. Sometimes it's hard to get things organised when you're waiting on others to get things organised too.

We have been busy planing lumber on our not so new 112 year old planer. Our very wide pine planks fill the poor beast but it is of excellent quality and has been lovingly restored by Warren and myself and it is responding well to the demanding work that we are asking from it. Surprisingly, we have had people call and request to come and help us plane pine planks. They are 27' long and 3" thick and range from 20 - 26" wide. Can you say heavy lifting? Each one has to go through the planer about 3 times and finally they have to be moved with the skidsteer. My goodness they are beautiful when they're finished.

We are building a cutting room addition on the boat shed. We, quite frankly, have no room to cut planking or anything else under the vessel. It is surprising how a 73' vessel can take up so much room in a 75' building. You'll see that our cat, Maggie, has enjoyed climbing the ladder to get to the roof of the new building. She's in charge of quality control so she has to inspect it daily.

We have had a busy day with visitors today. We had 17 visitors in about 4 groups. We saw old friends and met some new ones who had either "heard from a friend" or read about us in a magazine.It's wonderful to meet people who share our love of the wooden boat.

Our first visitors this morning were a Dad and his 2 young sons. They had been here before and the little fellows fell in love with the Lena Blanche. Today, they brought their own version of a boat that they had built. What a great feeling to think that maybe they had gotten a little inspiration from what they saw here the last time. I see a future boat builder (maybe two).

Tomorrow we will finish up the new addition and move a container or two from the yard. Then we'll get back to planing next week.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Keeping On, Keeping On

Well, we're back to the template board, as you can see. We are drawing the templates for the floors- those in-between wedges joining the two sides of the frames together. We have some of them placed but not installed yet and we're working on the upper ones now. More pics to follow next time. The knightsheads are all placed, ready for their bolts. They need a little fine tuning but that should be done by next week. Almost ready for the keelson- yeah. Should see a pic of Warren and Ronnie deciding if THAT oak is going to be okay for the keelson. (They decided yes). Ronnie Mosher and his wife Susan have been our primary suppliers of the oak in the vessel and they popped by for a visit the other day to see their wood as a schooner in the making.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Frames Finished!

We are FINALLY finished putting all the ribs in the vessel. She looks gorgeous! (If I may be so bold to say) It represents a lot of very hard, hot work. But it was good fun and very rewarding. We had a few friends give a hand a time or two and we are grateful for any who came to spend the day and swing a hammer. Sheamus spent two afternoons this week helping to bend and clamp and give me a much needed break in the nailing process. Not having to be in all places at one time is great. He took the upper part of the vessel and made it look easy.Our neighbour, Alden McNutt came up time and again to help clamp, drill and made sure everything went smoothly. Everyone needs a neighbour like him.

Knightsheads have been started and will be finished next week. We have some temporary molds to remove and replace with permament timbers and then we have many floors to cut (they bridge the keel)and join the frames from one side of the vessel to the other.

Next will come the keelson which will be cinched down to hold it all together on the keel.

A couple of pics of Warren and Bria relaxing in the bow and stern of the vessel. Always relaxing.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Sightseeing Day

Today was sightseeing day. We drove to Lunenburg to check on the progress of the Bluenose II rebuild. Before we stopped in there we stopped by the boat builders at the Twin Schooners project. It was a crisp sunny day and they were hard at work and what a fantastic job they were doing. They were fairing out the decking. It was great to talk with the craftsmen and we also spoke to the keeper of their blog (Susan). She was great and showed us around a little and gave us a little history on the project. We also got a chance to visit in the Dory Shop and speak to the craftsman, Jay Langford, who builds the dories there. He told me that he has built over 160 dories. Apparently, he’s also a talented artist.

After our tour there we went to the Bluenose site. Amazing. Everything there is so BIG. The guys there are doing an spectacular job. We really appreciated the office staff there who speak with you and accompany you to the boat shop. They field questions from the public and often are on the front lines of any criticisms or complaints. They were pleasant and patient when we wanted to stay longer to look at the vessel- even though it was very cold just standing there.

We had a great lunch in town at Big Red Restaurant on Montague St. Scallop burgers… yum.

After lunch we went down to the waterfront to look at the dories. We took some measurements in case sometime in the future the inclination strikes us to build one of those. It was beautiful there looking over the water but quite chilly so we didn’t linger. I was already quite cold from standing in the boat shed at the BNII site.

We took a leisurely drive back through Mahone Bay with its purple and blue houses. Even the bank there is in a yellow building so it blends with the character of the waterfront. What a beautiful drive.

All in all it was a good day seeing the different sizes and types of vessels being built in just that one small town. Getting a chance to speak to some of these people and finding out a little about them somehow makes working on our own vessel and being a part of this great group of people a little more satisfying.

Friday, April 1, 2011

It's spring and we're back in the shop again. Actually we did some work on the vessel during the winter but cold weather gives me the shakes and it's really hard to hold the hammer.

We finished more of the rigging blocks and they're ready for irons. As you see above all of the frames are finished behind the deadwood. (14 full sets of frames)Some of these frames much resembled an "S" so they were a challenge to get into place. There were a few that didn't make it through the process. When you hear that crack as your bending an inch thick by four inch wide piece of red oak into an impossible shape your heart falls to your boots and you grab something to hang onto so that you don't fall forward. It cracks fast and completely. Just 8 of those impossible shapes per complete frame and your all set. There are 32 sets installed now and there are 68 sets total- still a ways to go yet. The midship frames are so much better to install. The curve is not extreme and so they can go in a lot faster.

We sawed the heavy spruce timbers for the bilge stringers and shelf and clamp (gunwhale) which support the ends of the deck beams. We also sawed the oak for the floors and knightsheads. The floors are heavy timbers that join the ribs across the keel on which the keelson lies at 90 degrees. The knightshead are the uprights at the bow that fill it in solid for strength and to support the hawshole fittings (ropes that tie up the vessel or anchor).

Sadly, at the beginning of March, we said good bye to Warren's Mom, Lena Blanche, for whom this vessel is named. She was a wonderful woman, mother, mother in law, sister, aunt, grammie, daughter, and friend who will be greatly missed. She took a great interest in this boat building project. Her ancestry was filled with shipbuilders and ship Captains. She had many stories of spending time in her grandfather's boat shed as a child, playing in the shavings and chipping at wood with her grandfather's tools. The ocean was a great part of her life for her 92 1/2 years. I hope that this vessel is as strong and noble as she was.

Work is continuing on the frames and we hope to finish sometime in May.