Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year

On this last day of 2015 we are able to look back on a great year working on Lena Blanche. We got so much done this season and are happy with the progress so far. We look forward to a winter working on components for her in the basement and installing them in the spring and then getting her even more launch ready when the nicer weather comes.

Happy New Year to you all. We wish you all happiness, health and peace for the coming year. God Bless your homes.

Thanks for following LB's progress

Warren and Andrea

Monday, December 14, 2015

It's Christmas time

It's getting toward that time of the year again when we all hunker down and get ready for the colder weather.  Brrr. To me it's never a particularly inviting idea. However,  in the midst of all this Brrr dom is Christmas ,which I like. I don't really care about the gifts and stuff but I really love the way that  everyone makes a special effort to make time for others. Family is so important.
Anyway,  enough of that.  We have been busy.  Bet you thought we had packed up for the year, didn't you.  Nope.  We had a couple of things to do in the house.

We put in a wood stove and built a new table for the kitchen.  Our original table was huge and we get tired of climbing around it. This one is perfect. 

We also have been finishing up the last plank on the boat- since we finished the deck beams. That looks fantastic.  Today we made 21 mast hoops for the main mast. The hoops attach to the mast and the sails to raise and lower them. We have the wood cut and planed to do the rest of them as well.
We have a list as long as your arm of things that have to be done over the winter.  Should be a good one.

We've been celebrating with our friends, Evan and Nick Densmore,  as they are completing their vessel Katie Belle to get it ready for its maiden voyage to the Carolinas in the new year. We wish them good luck and smooth sailing.  Way to go, guys.
Have a safe holiday season.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Work and pleasure

Special thanks to Zane Fanning  (a distant cousin and close friend) for coming to give us a hand today in the shop. We had him climbing over beams and ducking under head bumpers all afternoon and he was good humoured and hard working through it all. He also took some photos of us in the shop  which I will put in a later post.
We also had our friend and neighbour,Don Groves (facing in coveralls) stop in for a catch up on the progress.
We're back to work today after going to the launch of schooner Katie Belle in the tidal waters of the Shubanacadie River yesterday.  There were about 1000 people there to watch her slip into the water. A beautiful vessel and the guys sure had to know what they were doing in that fast flowing river. Can't wait to see her all fitted out with masts and sails.

We acquired the hawse pipes for the vessel last week when we went through the varied possessions of a collector of all things, Mike Parsons. We were invited to tour his yard and found these great pipes and made a deal for them on the spot. They will be perfect. We had a fantastic time travelling back through the decades (he has items from every decade) with him and his lovely wife, Val. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Officially got all of the deck Frames finished today. All of the full and half beams are in and bolted. They look fantastic  (to me anyway).
 Hard to tell but when you're sitting inside the vessel the beams are rounded like they are all converging toward a hub. It's an amazing sight. I could sit  there all day- but then I wouldn't get anything done.

We're going to put the last plank on now before we finish the deck.  It will be oak plank and the covering board will also be oak. 
We want to congratulate friends of ours, Evan and Nick Densmore, (cousins) who are launching their 80 foot schooner this coming Tuesday in the Shubanacadie  River. A beautiful vessel built by 2 fine  young men. Long may she sail, safely.

Friday, September 18, 2015

More deck Frames

 Finally an update this month. It's sure been busy. These are some of the half beams that are going on the main cabin.  They will be all double beams with  threaded rod through them for added strength.
 This is a angle gauge- yes, surprisingly homemade. Haha. It extends for the length of the half beam and both ends are adjustable for the angles of the clamp and the cabin side.
 Under the deck beams looking forward.
 Under the deck beams looking aft.
 Tried to get a good shot the whole length of the vessel but it's difficult when you can't get further from the boat.
 These are the carlins for the  main cabin. They are  27 feet long. Thank goodness for chain falls.
This pic was taken tonight. We are so excited about how the vessel is coming together.
As always we would love to hear from you if you're following our progress.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Deck Framing

Finally, putting up some pics of the new deck beams. It has been an exciting and busy time over the last couple of weeks. The vessel has certainly taken on a different dimension. We have had lots of folks through to check out the progress. So good to see everyone who comes.
 Warren using a 100 year old slick to do some finish work on a beam pocket. A slick is like a big push chisel. You don't use a mallet with this thing. Sharp as a razor, it makes short work of pesky little wood pieces.
 This is the underside of the beams looking up through the vessel. Those 'teeth' you see are the stanchion posts. The rail will sit on the top of those.
 A look from above. Those frames are 5 1/2" x 5" solid douglas fir , notched in and held there with threaded rod or bolts if we can find them long enough (so far the longest bolts we've been able to get are only 21" long.)
 This piece of wood has many names. The Samson post, poll post, and several others. It is established in the bow and there is tremendous strain on it from the bowsprit and the rigging from the sails. It has to be well seated and particularly strong.
 Notice the Samson post in the bow. It is fastened and secured to the keelson of the vessel and blocked on 4 sides of the decking with double framing. A nice shot of even more framing.
 You'll notice how close we're working to the rafters of our boat shop. A few head bumpers up there. We have certainly learned to duck and to look before we stand up! The fan is a must. It's been highly humid and very warm here the last few weeks. I won't grumble. I know winter's coming faster than I want it too.
Warren doing some fitting on the beams. Here he's setting up the partner beams so that the holes will all fit for the threaded rod.
In the bow the wood will be solid for the first couple of feet to give the vessel a good solid structure up front.
Until next time. Thanks for checking in and we'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Deck Beams

Lots of pics today. We have started to put in the deck beams and the vessel is starting to take shape. It's great to be able to see the usable space in the below deck and know that you're standing in "the galley" or the "Captain's cabin". When you look at the hull as just the hull it's hard to envision how it will be divided into different areas but put on a few deck beams and it gives you a different perspective.
 Some of the beams are double beams. This is one side of a double beam. It is the start of the bulkhead for one of the cabins above the deck. The bulkhead is integrated into the main structure of the vessel instead of being bolted on afterwards.
 "THE WALL" A lot of old tools and new ones. Our guest book is off to the right. We try to remember to have our visitors sign our book but sometimes we're so wrapped up in the visit that we forget. Oops. Let us know on the blog if you've forgotten to sign in and we'll add you. The arched beam on the work bench is the sister to the bulkhead beam in front of it. Just about ready to be laminated together and installed.
 A little brain storm session with our friend Corey.
 The deck beams are cut from douglas fir planks 3" x 12" x 36' . Absolutely gorgeous lumber.
 This is the 'old fashioned' way of making deck beams. It's a sliding gauge for making the arch. Works perfect but it takes a lot of room .
 One in and it's perfectly level.
 Three installed here.
Between the Captain's cabin and the pilot house there will be a walkway.

We're continuing with the plugging of the spike holes in the interior planking. Trying to keep busy and get the little things done too.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happy Canada Day and Update

Happy Canada Day to all of our fellow Canadians. A great day to celebrate the wonderful country we live in filled with family, friends and freedom.
We are still going strong with making the engine beds for the Lena Blanche. It is a rather tiresome effort measure, cut, tack weld, bring back in boat, fit, fiddle, take out, weld , bring back, add on.Quite time consuming but well worth it.

There are going to be center supports as well and then everything has to go and be sand blasted and galvanized. Then on go the engines!
We also have to cut an access hole in the roof of the shed to lower the engine in. This will serve as double duty for ventilation as well. The winters are cold and damp here but the summers (July and August) can be sweltering.
Besides that, I am continuing with plugging nail holes in the sealing (there are thousands) and then we'll cut off the plugs and sand and seal with S1 epoxy sealer.
We've had quite a few visitors lately. Especially glad to see a Master shipbuilder come through for a visit and give us his blessing. Our friend Stan Jacklin brought Bill Cox, at a young 97, and his 2 sons for a visit and we had a wonderful couple of hours with them.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Interior / Engine Supports

It's been a busy time since we've been able to be back in the shop. It was such a long winter that I suppose we are trying to get everything done at once. We started off planing and sanding the entire hull. It looked like a snowstorm INSIDE the shed for about 2 weeks. Then we had to make 3 batches of sealing for the interior. Lots of shavings to use for the chickens' house and a lot more that had to be burned. Now we are working on making the engine bed supports. The engines will be on a 2 degree incline and they will towed in to align with a center point in the stem. This is so that if the boat is being driven with only one engine it will require less rudder to keep it on a straight course. They are both 4-53 Detroit Diesel engines that have been rebuilt entirely.

 This is the beginning of the engine bed supports. It will all be steel in the end but wood gives us an idea of the elevation.
 We have been busy with the sealing (ceiling)- the interior planking. The areas that aren't sealed are going to be below the cabin sole therefore open to put in tanks and other things that need to go "below". You see Sheamus giving us a hand plugging all of the nail holes.
 And there are lots of nail holes!
 Looking forward. The piece of wood going crosswise about half way up is where the engines will sit.
Looking aft from the bow Warren is surveying his work so far and piecing it all together in his head.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fantastic Day

What a fantastic day we had. The last couple of weeks we have been planing and sanding the hull of the vessel, a huge job. Now it is rounded off and looking much more like the ocean princess/work boat/home away from home that it is or will be when it's finished. The result besides a beautiful hull was about 1/2" of dust on everything in the shop.  So, for the last few days we have been sweeping, moving stuff, sweeping again and vacuuming floors, walls, windows, the hull, the walkways and the shelf. It was a huge job. All this not only because it really needs to be done before we can start the caulking of the vessel but because we had the Antique Tool Association coming to visit today. They have an annual meeting around this time every year and last year they asked if their after trip could be to our boatyard. We said,  of course. Quite a few of them showed up and if you look back over the blog you will see the beautiful slick that they presented us with at the time. We were delighted when Art Keeble called us earlier this year and asked us if they could, again, come and visit the shop and check on the progress of the vessel. Back by popular demand, he  said. Some of the guys didn't get a chance to visit last year and some of them went home and told a friend and so today around 30 of the men and women of the association came and spent the afternoon with us. Folks from all over Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, from all trades and walks of life. We even had a fine little fellow of 8 years old who I can see as a budding shipwright. Our boat shop was certainly a hive of activity and chatter as questions were asked and answered all around. It is always amazing to find out who has ship building or sailing in their family heritage or who has been a part of that way of life themselves.
This year we were presented with a grappling hook and rope from the Association, for which we are very thankful. It is used to recover lost lines or chains overboard or to fling over the capstan of the wharf to catch yourself from drifting away when there's no one there to catch your line. As a permanent part of our deck equipment it will accompany us on many a voyage. One of the members (Ralph Milton)also donated a lipped adze with a fully offset handle to our collection of shipwright tools. They are a pleasure to use, thank you so much.
Have a look at the fine crew we had today and their beautiful gifts.

Professional Design Input

Last weekend we had a visit from Emanuel Jannasch  and Dean Dumaresq. Emanuel is an Architectual Professor and Dean is a student finishing his Master's degree, both from the Dalhousie School of Architecture. You may remember that last fall we invited the students in that program to use our vessel as a project. They came to our shop and measured the vessel up and down, backwards, forwards and inside out. From these measurements they produced a model representing the usable space of the inside of the vessel and Dean produced a set of interior designs for the vessel itself. It is remarkable to see what the inside of our vessel could look like. This vessel is not a blueprint from someone else's design so the inside was also up for grabs, as it were. It was amazing to see the berths and galley and focs'le, even good to know that a head or two would fit into such a compact area. It is easy to see that Dean is quite capable in both traditional architecture and could lend a very competent hand at naval architecture as well. We are extremely thankful to Emanuel and all the students who took on this project. You did a wonderful job.

Saturday, April 4, 2015


When someone hollers to 'go below' we now have a way to get there- that is... after we have a deck.We have spent the last month or so working on a beautiful deck house or 'scuttle'. It is made of pine and oak with a mahogany cover and inlay work. It will go through the deck and fasten to the deck beams.

Because Warren has links with Ireland we decided to add some shamrocks to the doors of the scuttle. Here is the template we used to mark them off. You will see I had excellent assistance from our cat, Maggie. She's always around for quality control. After that I used the scroll saw to cut out the shapes, then we sanded it all and laminated oak on top of the mahogany.

We also took some time to get some oakum ready for caulking. As soon as we are able to return to the boat shed we will finish the sealing and sand the hull. Then caulking. As a note to those who roll oakum- it may be a good idea to put some protection between the oakum and your leg for rolling. Extended contact with the pine tar could cause hives on your legs. Not serious but terribly itchy.:)
We had a couple of friends come and help us one afternoon. It was a great time of story telling, laughter, and good food and we got some work done.

Until next time, we are still battling snow and snow storms here. Hopefully, by this time next month we will have blue sky and warm weather.
Happy Easter to all.