Wednesday, December 24, 2014

We wanted to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and the best of the New Year. We have had an amazing year and have so much to be thankful for. In this season we often reflect on all the things we are grateful for. We have been blessed with a home and great kids. We have welcomed new members into our extended families this year- babies and in laws. We have had good health and are still able to do the things we want (no skiing or skydiving). We are surrounded by old friends and new ones.

We have gotten quite a bit done on the vessel this year and hope that in 2015 we will make an even bigger step toward getting Lena Blanche in the water and setting sail.

All the best to you and yours.
Warren and Andrea

Thursday, December 11, 2014

After the flood

Hello from the boatshed. Yesterday was a great rain throughout Nova Scotia and Truro got it's share. The cutting room of the boat shed, which is a dirt floor, is soaking but not underwater. It just makes your boots clog up a little with shavings. Scrape them before you enter the vessel! Today, however, was sunny and gorgeous. It was at least 15 degrees Celsius in the afternoon and we certainly enjoyed it while we were putting ceiling in the Lena Blanche. We had a couple of friends drop by to check on the progress and to have a little visit- and to smell the oakum- and we had some other things to do in the basement workshop.
Warren has been making a little forge in which to make the irons for the deadeyes,the boom bails and mast bands,goose necks and all the irons for the schooner and it has a powerful blast to it. When he starts engaging it I will post the pics of our fiery friend.
Today I have pics of the new interior that we are working on. We have 5 strakes of ceiling on so far. We can usually put in one strake on in a day.
 Warren removing the clamps, getting ready to put the next piece in the vessel.
 Each piece of ceiling is 2" x 3" v-joint pine. It will all be painted white.

A close up of the work. All of the nail holes will be plugged before it is painted.
If we don't update before Christmas, we would like to thank you all for your interest in this project and to wish you a Merry Christmas or whatever celebration you celebrate in your home.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


We are into December and thankfully we are still working fairly steadily on Lena Blanche. She is now planked and we have started to install the ceiling in the interior. We sealed it all with S1 on the interior  and painted all of the ribs with oil paint. Now we're covering it all up with pine ceiling (sealed, of course, with S1 epoxy).
We have taken delivery of 320 lbs. of oakum and 18 lbs. (so far) of cotton so that in the spring we won't be held up with the caulking. All that has to be done before that is planing and sanding off the entire exterior of the sweat.  Well, probably a lot of sweat, but good sweat.
 18 bags of cotton each weighing one pound.
 One bag opened up to have a look at the quality of the oakum. Hemp and pine tar. Mmmmm
8 bags of oakum- 40 lbs in each.

We've had quite a lot of visitors this fall. So nice to meet so many new people and so nice to have folks return who make our boat shed part of their yearly visits. 
Tomorrow it's supposed to warm up again and so we'll be back in the boat continuing with the ceiling. Pics to follow later.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Exciting News

Today's been a bit of a flurry here at the shop. Colleen Jones (and cameraman Steve Berry) from CBC News spent the morning here asking questions to the result that we are supposed to be on the news tonight. They were very kind and gracious. We stumbled over the answers and they patiently asked them again to get a better shot. Can't wait to see the result. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Students in the shop

Something new today.

A couple of weeks ago, I had a bit of a brain storm. Bit of a hurricane really. We have been trying to figure out how we are going to finish out the inside of Lena Blanche and what her deck design will be like. We've been keeping track of some of the things we'd like to have and where things will go like the galley and salon, heads and storage and, of course, bunks. Nothing definite, you understand, but we know these are essentials.
Digging deep in my poor wood laden brain, I remembered that we have a dear friend who teaches brilliant students at the Architectural school in Halifax. So I asked myself, "Self, do you suppose they need a different kind of project to occupy them for part of this term. Something they could sink their teeth in, be a little experimental with, dive into a new world (so to speak). Hmmmmm".
So I called Emmanuel and ran the prospect past him and asked what he thought of the idea. Long story short a week or so later we had 6 students crawling through our "little" schooner taking measurements with machinery used in surveying but higher tech and much greater usability and asking all sorts of questions about the vessel and her needs.
Here are some of the pics from that day.
 Noah and Emanuel (outside of vessel) going over drawings and labeling vessel parts in sketches.
 In the vessel deciding which points of the vessel they're going to use as a benchmark for their project
 Setting up to use the bottom of the clamp as their baseline for the machine. They also used every 4th frame to fill in the dimensional aspects.
 Ben, Tomas and Dean (brown t-shirt).

(back row l-r) Noah Jacobson, Tomas Ramos, Robert Cuthbert
(front row l-r)Ben Weiss, Ben Angus, Dean Dumaresq, Emanuel Jannasch (Professor)
Dalhousie School of Architecture 

We are so excited to see what these fellows come up with. When they're all done, then we'll share what they have drawn up with all of you.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Welcome to fall.

So it's time for an update. Hello to all those who we hear follow the blog from all over. Hope you all had a great summer and a beautiful fall. We are loving being able to work every day without sweltering or freezing.
We are on the 4th strake from the sheer. Whoo hoo! Now when kids ask if the vessel would float RIGHT NOW if it was in the water I can honestly tell them yes.  You can tell from the pics that she is getting that finished look to her hull. Notice the wine glass shape of the stern and the thickness of the planking as it borders the transom.
 Port side looking forward from the rudder.
 Taken from the cutting room. Notice the trunnels as yet untrimmed.
 Knightsheads. The planking is getting up there.
 Looking aft of the port side. All of the trunnels will eventually be trimmed and the whole side sanded.
Starboard side looking forward
We are going to keep working this fall until all of the planking is finished. Hopefully we'll be able to heat a small portion of the boat and do a little work this winter. We will need to coat everything with sealer and paint and then put the wooden ceiling (planking) on which should go faster than the exterior planking. We are trying to decide how to divide up the area below decks and have a few ideas. We plan to have the interior all drawn up before we put in the deck beams.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Stanchion Posts

 Warren sealing the posts with epoxy sealer.

 Looking aft

All the stanchion posts are in and sealed and cut off. We moved the interior walkways out by the sides of the ribs making everything less cluttered in the bilge. We are going to sand and paint the posts white and then drop the staging to continue planking.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stanchion Posts

We have planked as far as we can before we move our staging planks..... so before we do that we are installing our stanchion posts which will be planked over when we continue the planking. They are looking fantastic.

They will be sealed, painted, cut off, and routered. They are made of 4 x 4 solid oak and they will support the top rail.
We will then drop our staging about 3 feet and continue with the planking. There are about 7 strakes left to do. Whoo hoo!

Saturday, May 3, 2014


What a fantastic day we had. We have many visitors come through our shop each year and we are always thankful for the wonderful people we have met while building Lena Blanche.
Today we had the Antique Tool Collectors Association come to visit.Some are not only tool collectors but boat enthusiasts as well, much to our surprise. It was a great afternoon with us showing and describing how this vessel is going together as well as a visit through the foundry and through our workshop basement where we rebuilt the engines for the Lena Blanche and built  our little skiff boat as a winter project.  These fellows (and one lady) showed themselves to be people of great knowledge and experience in so many different areas.
We demonstrated some trunnel making and then got a couple of guys to work driving them in the planking.
They surprised us with a present. They presented us with a slick that is over 100 years old. They had a leather sheath made for it and I can guarantee that the blade is razor sharp. A slick is a large chisel that is used by just pushing it through the wood, there is no mallet involved.
The weather agreed with us today and it was sunny and warm so we even got a chance to stand around outside and have a chat after the tour.I always love hearing about the grandfathers who were boat builders and about the different trades and hobbies that people pursue. It was a great opportunity to reminisce about our maritime history and different trades that you don't see very often nowadays and to hear stories that keep them alive in our memories. We also got to talk about the crafts and woodworking skills that so many of these men keep active with in their daily life.
Much thanks to them for their visit and for the slick. It will hold a place of honour in our boat shed and in our hearts.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Coupla New Pics

Since last week we have put on the gunwales, breasthook, and quarter knees. Next come rising,thwarts, after seat and forward cuddy.
We also got a plank fastened on Lena Blanche and will be  adding another today. Stay tuned for more pics in the next few days.

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Little Update

Welcome back. Come on spring!It's been a cold winter and we haven't spent a lot of time in the boat shed. We have missed Lena Blanche over the winter but we visit and give her a pat along the hull and let her know that spring IS coming. We have shimmed out a couple of her frames along the stern and will be planing them out to receive the new planks in the coming weeks. Over the weekend it was warm (?) enough to get in and carve out and place a new plank and the one for the other side is ready to go in place too- after we get this next storm over with. Our goal is to have the exterior planking finished by July and have the stanchion posts in too.

 We have not been idle though. We built a 16' lapstrake skiff in the basement during late Feb and early March. We are now waiting for a wood sealer for the hull so we can place the ribs in this little beauty. She is all pine planked with the stem, stern, transom and keel all oak. This type of skiff is excellent to row and takes a motor as well. They can also be adapted to sail.

 We have also been making knees for Lena Blanche and for the little skiff. Knees are angled wood with a continuous grain- no cross grain. They are used for bracing deck beams, gunwales, floors etc as a gusset. A natural grown knee would be the root of a tree and the wood as it turns up the trunk- usually of hackmatack or spruce. The laminated knees are steamed wood bent in a jig. They are equally as strong. The ones we laminated are of 3"oak. The knees pictured are for the Lena Blanche. The grown one next to it are some we purchased and are typically used in dory building.

So that's what we've been up to. We are looking forward to the warmer weather and being back to great days down in the shop.Thank you to all of you who have visited or called or emailed over the winter to find out about the progress on the vessel. We hope to hear from you in the near future.