Friday, December 28, 2012

Work in progress

Christmas is a few days behind us so we're trickling back into the shop. (Trying to work off all that turkey and those chocolates we've been eating) Thought you might enjoy seeing someone sweating a little- every trunn'l brings us closer to her finish.
We've heard of quite a few people who follow the blog quietly. Thanks for following and please let us know who you are in the comments or become official "followers". I'll try to update more often.
Hope you all had a Merry Christmas and that the new year brings health and good times.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

New pics

We're still planking. We thought you might like a couple of new pics. Sure is getting colder to be in the boatshed. Brrr with us, we'll keep on planking, we're at the tuck and head for the belly planks.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

A short update

A long overdue update on the progress of the Lena Blanche. You'll notice some beautiful planks on the bench ready to be installed on the vessel.  It's been a great time of learning and perfecting what works best with this  trunn'l method.We're drilling through 2 1/2 inches of pine and another 4 - 6 inches of oak and then pounding in the black locust trunn'ls.  All you need are strong shoulders and back and a stubborn spirit. Hard to go in equals harder to get out, that's the plan. We'll be working on the planking for the next little while as long as the weather doesn't drop too far below 0. We've also drilled holes where the propeller shafts are going to exit the vessel and marked the location for the engines.
We've been enjoying visitors from all over the world over the past little while. Word has certainly gotten around about the project. It's been a busy time.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bolts Out Trunn'ls In

So..... because of the unavailability of bolts that we need for the planking for Lena Blanche and because secretly we have wanted to plank the vessel without bolts, keeping the vessel as close to authentic building practices as possible, we have decided to use treenails (trunn'ls) to fasten the planking. What are treenails (trunn'ls), you may ask. Good question.Trunn'ls are wooden nails, as the name suggests. They are as strong or stronger than iron bolts because they become part of the hull and, as a bonus, they don't rust. Black locust and juniper (hackmatack) are what are traditionally used for trunn'ls. Those woods are very dense and non porous and they swell in the drilled hole to make an excellent fit in the hull of the boat. They will be 7/8" in diameter and various lengths depending on where they go through the hull. The red oak that we used to frame up the vessel cannot be used for trunn'ls because they ARE too porous. You can actually make a 10" dowel with red oak and then blow bubbles with it in a glass of water.
Now that you're back from blowing bubbles.......
About a week ago we put the word out that we were looking for black locust and this morning we got a call from David Lee at Atlantic Arbourists Ltd. He said he had a few black locust logs for us in Hantsport. So we jumped into our trusty ole one ton and headed in his direction. He certainly did have a few logs! Many huge, beautiful logs. We couldn't fit even half of the logs on our truck. David and his crew graciously cut them in half so that we could get some of them on the truck and then chained and cinched them. He's got a great professional bunch of guys on his crew and we are much obliged to them.

Now we will have many happy hours making trunn'ls with our new dowelling gear.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Framing Almost All Finished

View through the bow sprit port.
 Looking forward from midships. The new shelf and clamp are in.

 Looking aft from midships.

The next thing to go in will be sister keelsons. Then we'll start fairing the hull to receive planking. Whoo hoo!
Lots of hard work over the last couple of weeks.

Had a visit from Peter Allen and his lovely wife tonight (May 26) He had a beautiful gift of a fid and a marlin spike that he forged and finished himself. He did a great job of them and we certainly appreciate the workmanship involved in their making. They will be cherished and used often. Thanks, Peter.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bilge Stringers and Clamp

So, we've been working hard for the last couple of weeks now that the weather is fit to be out in. The first pic is of the floors and keelson in the Lena Blanche The keel, floors and keelson make a great backbone for this vessel. A strong foundation to build on.
The second pic is just to show the ribs, and keelson when they're all fitted out.
In the next two pics we've finished the bilge stringers and the clamp. The shelf is the next thing to be added. She looks like a giant skiff boat- would need some giant oars to go with that row boat!
The last pic shows the stern.  You can see her tumble home.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


We have tried to mention people , as we go along, who have helped or encouraged this undertaking and we have some of their names in the sponsor area of the blog. We thought we would take one post (at least ) and mention some folks and what they have done. Forgive us if we temporarily forget a name or two- it will come to us later with the apology for being old and absent minded.

First of all, Christiann Luddington, who is a great encourager and is dying to come and "chink" the vessel when it is planked ( that would be caulking the boat), stripped some poor sheep and an alpaca of their wool to knit 2 of the most beautiful sweaters that we have ever seen (Grandmothers not withstanding). Whereas I have worn mine because I can't stand to see something that gorgeous sit on the shelf, Warren is much more patient and is saving his for the Christening Day of the Lena Blanche.

Bruce Hill trucked all of the logs from North Brookfield.

Jeff Sibley and Reg Holman volunteered several days to help plane planking, which was no easy task, among other things.

Nello Romagnoli, who was our emcee for the keel laying party and is a wonderful friend, picked up the transmission, shafts, and struts in Ontario and drove them down to N.S. last summer.

Alden McNutt is a neighbour and friend who drops by often to lend a hand where he can (peeling logs, helping to set frames, etc) and never seems to tire of the work that we're doing.

Page Baird another neighbour and friend who has helped with sawing and finding tooling used in days gone by. He donated a mallet and chisel handles that we use often.

Don Groves helped with the mill and donated 2 large beams that will be used to build the trailler for transporting the vessel.

Ron Mosher cut all of the oak and pine logs for the vessel.

Burton MacPhee donated a lignum vitae mallet which we use for rabbetting.

Barry Hunt donated the ash logs from which the rope blocks were made.

John Little is a renouned blacksmith who presented us with an Asian compass during our keel laying party and reminded me that it points South and not North it being an Asian compass.

Emanuel Jannasch teaches architecture at Dalhousie. He has been an avid suppporter of this project. He gave a 20" table saw and a 32" bandsaw to us for the shop which we have used and appreciated greatly.

Angus and Arthur Hill traded a wood splitter for the floor and rafters for the building. It is also time well spent when they come to visit and tell stories.

Eammon Doorley is the resident boat builder at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. His knowledge of boat building has been a great resource and he also contributed a piece of the HMS Victory to incorporate in the woodwork of the Lena Blanche.

Alton Toole donated enough spruce logs to saw all of the long harpens for the vessel. We spent a day on his land cutting logs, it was a great day.

Last but certainly not least, our neighbour and friend Lawrence Baird. The only man we know who can provide a flat belt for a 100 year old planer at the drop of a hat and saved the whole day of planing when our belt broke.

Often what I have written about these people is just the tip of the iceberg. There has been great support and little (and big) things that they have done that can't all be written. They know who they are and what they've done. Much thanks to them.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Work

The floors are finally in and all bolted. Now we are installing the keelson. Warren got the easy job running the chain fall and I had to swing the 10 lb. sledge hammer to make sure the wood seated itself! This is the first layer of 2 solid 3" oak layers and they'll all be bolted down through the floors and through the keel.

We took advantage of the beautiful weather last week. It certainly was nice not to have to dress up in a parka to work in the boat shed.