Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Late fall update

It's safe to say I have a boat load of pics to show you all. This has been a great building season and we're not quite through yet. The weather is still cooperating with us and we've been in the shop most days.
The covering boards and border deck plank is all on. The planking just above the scuppers (and the scuppers obviously ) is completed.

We have spent a great deal of time plugging bolt holes and painting and varnishing deck beams and boards. Quite a bit of the decking is between 36 and 40 ft long. It's lovely stuff. Straight grain fir.
Today we started to install the decking. whoohoo !

We started making some of the supporting knees yesterday .  The 2 for the Samson post supports that post where it meets the keels on.  They are 7" × 4" (w x thickness).  They are made of laminated oak.
Warren has started to sand the hull of the boat again. We wanted to wait for the cooler weather to start because the caulk (5200) is so rubbery it sands better cold. Makes for a lot of work. We burned out one sander and had to invest in a new one. Not really any shame for the old one, it's done A LOT . 
I have to put in a couple of pics of our steamer. We couldn't fit the wood for the knees in the boiler so we nailed up a box with some old boards, worked like a charm and the oak stayed as beautiful as ever. Almost seems a shame that no one will really see the knees.

We started to do the design work for the bow carvings but that's a bit of a secret yet. Just so you know it's in the works. 
To those who have visited over the past couple of months it was great to have you here. 
Bye for now

Just took the knee out of the jig. Here's a pic planed but not cut to fit.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Hi all. I'm sorry it's been so long since I've updated but there has been lots going on in our little Shop.  We've had quite a few visitors over the summer and there has been lots of woodwork going on too. We did get the propeller shaft holes all done

 and the engines look great on their galvanized beds.
We made and installed all of the scupper blocks for the port and starboard sides of the vessel,
The scuppers allow the water to drain off the deck rapidly.
We also put in 4 x 4 pieces between some of the posts to  attach rigging tackle.
Today we finally finished the covering boards which is the start of the decking process. It looks fantastic. I am so excited about the deck going on. But the vessel is getting so high now that it's harder for our visitors to get a look inside.

We also formed the stern of the Lena Blanche. She will have a rounded stern rail. It looks absolutely beautiful. When the top rail is on the whole ship she will be a sight to see.
It will be a great area to sit and share a story and a laugh, holler at the person at the wheel and look back at where you came from. Maybe enjoying the sunrise or the sunset  (depending on which way you're sailing)
We're starting to dream a little about destinations.  Where would you go in your vessel? What wonderful sights would you like to be witness to?
Can't wait to hear from you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The shaft

A quick little update.
The interior has got a gorgeous coat of white paint on it.
Today we drilled out the 2 1/2" shaft holes and installed the stern tubes.
Tomorrow we pick up our newly galvanized engine beds, chain plates, dead eye bands and the chain plates for the bowsprit. Then....install.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Soles and such

Oh, we've had a great and busy few weeks. Let's see. ... we framed up the cabin sole. The sole will go in soon. There will be a 2 foot row of access hatches up through the center to allow for maintenance and bilge access. I took a couple of (not serious) tumbles on the very steep side of the vessel but it didn't hold me up. My arm got a bruise and my pride took a little beating but with a little good humor both seem to have recuperated pretty well.
Next we raised the sides of the main cabin. So below we will have about 7 feet of head room. Yeah for anyone tall who comes sailing with us- they won't bang their head. Ha.
Last week we started to sand and varnish the underside and side of the douglas fir deck beams. And one day we got a visit from Gary Stowell from Sherwin Williams paint and he blessed us with white paint for the interior and varnish to help finish the beams. If you ever need paints and supplies , Gary and his team in Dartmouth are great to work with and knowledgeable to boot.  We have 2 coats of varnish on so far and hope to get the third coat on next week sometime.

On Friday we got a call from Willie at Hubtown Crane wondering  if we wanted the  engines set in. Yes! So we spent the afternoon working with him to get each engine down through the hole in the roof of the shop  and then set on the engine beds in the bilge of the boat.  There were a couple of tricky  places but they are in there and we have spent the last couple of days tweaking the engine beds before they go for galvanizing.

We drilled pilot holes for the shafts (propeller)through the hull 4 years ago and amazingly everything lined up very well. We are extremely pleased with the fit.
While the beds are out of the vessel being galvanized we will enlarge the pilot holes to the full 2 3/8" to accept the shafts and stern tubes. It's all very exciting to see it coming together.
On top of all that we have had a few visitors here and there. We're always happy to share the building of this vessel with those who are interested.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

More deck work

 The cabin corners are all in. Little bits by little bits, it all gets done. We are sanding and cleaning the interior before we paint. The beams will be varnished inside as well. So excited to see it painted.
We had to add a veranda on the front of the boat shed to work at the bow. A great place to look at the whole inside of the vessel. I'm thinking she may grow with the planking- so maybe 77 foot by the time she's ready for the water. Who knew?

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Antique Tool Association

This week has been a busy week for both caulking- yes, the gift that keeps on giving, and for visitors. It's easy to tell that spring has sprung. People are starting to get out and about on day trips and such.
This is the weekend that we get our (now) annual visit from the Antique Tool Association.  We had a wonderful visit with old friends and met some new people from different parts of the Maritime provinces. If you are a collector of tools (woodworking or otherwise) give these folks a call. They are a great bunch, full of enthusiasm, knowledge, and a practical joke or two.
This year they surprised Warren with a family flag for our vessel.  I'm proud to say I kept a secret for almost a whole year and there were times the emails were a flying to get the right emblem. Much thanks to Art Keeble and everyone else in the association  and to Carole Aylard at the Flag Shop for all of the beautiful work. We absolutely love the flag and we enjoyed the visit with everyone yesterday.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

4H Clifton

We had a lovely visit today from the Clifton 4H group. We had leaders and parents come with 4H kids and kids not even old enough to be in 4H. Ages probably from less than 2 to around 14. It was nice to be able to share our work with them and answer their questions but it was also fascinating to find out about the projects that they are working on. One young man turns bowls and has several in a competition right now. I saw a picture and I am in awe of his talent, whatever the age. That bowl was beautiful!  Another young man is working on a 3D cutting board, which he promised to bring over for us to see. We are looking forward to that. One young lady told me she wasn't interested in woodworking but I found out that she is very involved in the animal side of 4H and didn't mind throwing around bales of hay. That's pretty awesome in my books too. We all take on different hobbies- it's what keeps everything interesting.

Before they left (amid promises to come back and visit) they presented us with 2 beautiful presents handmade by 2 of the leaders. David and Beau, I want to thank each of you and the whole group for the pieces of usable art. One gift is a knife holder for your wall, it is made of end grain black locust and it is truly lovely. It will have a place of honour on my wall. The other gift is a set of 2 hand turned pens that are almost to gorgeous to use. These, too, will be treasured.

Thank you for coming to visit. We hope you come back to see us again.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Cotton, oakum, seal it!

Well, it's been a busy month for sure. We started off at the beginning if the month rolling cotton in the seams of the vessel and using the irons and mallet to pound them in solid. If you saw the video on Schooner Lena Blanche facebook page ,you will see what I'm talking about. That was the first couple of weeks and 16 lbs of cotton later, she was all cotton caulked (corked, some call it. I had an older shipwright ,I believe he was in his late 80s or early 90s , correct my pronunciation. He had spent a lifetime building and caulking  (corking) boats- who am I to argue.)

Next we started on the oakum. A totally different kettle of fish,  as it were. Thankfully,  we have quite a bit of it pre-rolled. Each strand of oakum has to be bunched up and pounded into the seam until it fills the seam and then it's pounded to get all the little bits in. It's time consuming and your back hurts a little but , surprisingly,  it's very satisfying and when it's done you can look at it and take pride in a job well done.  AND, when the boat doesn't leak- you'll know you did a good job.  Haha.
As we caulk we are also sealing the seams with a marine sealant. This gives a finished look and keeps the water out.
Warren pounding in oakum

Two strands of oakum for a wider seam

Marine sealant after the oakum has been put in the seams. 

We'll keep at the caulking for the next few weeks until the vessel is all finished. It's  coming along great.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

New stuff going on

So, there's all kinds of stuff going on these days, as you will see from the photos.  This is me clinging to the sealing of the vessel plugging all of the thousands of spike holes (that the sealing is held on with). After they are all plugged, we will cut them off and sand them and then paint the vessel's interior. Whew! It will be great to see it painted and looking awesome.

 These are dummy shafts. They represent where the shafts will attach to the transmissions for the engines. We have put them here so that we can fit the engines properly before we get the engine beds galvanized.  It would be terrible to have to adjust it (cut it up) after the fact.
 This is the pattern for a hawse hole (basically) for tie up ropes. We will cast probably 6 or 7 sets of these in all. The pattern is made out of pine.
 These beauties are belaying pins.  Great for tying off rope. Or ,you know, keeping order. Just kidding. Wouldn't want to get a knock with these things. There are white oak ones and angelique ones in the bucket. Can't wait to see them on the rails.
And finally, although  not finally because there's another work in progress but I want to show the finished piece in the next blog post, we finally added grab rails to the dog house (scuttle, deck house) so now when we're heeled down we have something to hang on to. Definitely don't want to end up in the drink.
We've had lots of visitors lately and I got a lovely card of encouragement today from B and H Webber in Jeddore. Thank you so much for thinking of us and for being with us on this crazy ride. We hope to see you again soon.
Til next time.....

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


A lot of hoop-la around here these days. (I couldn't resist a horrible pun). The last couple of days have been so beautiful. We did work in the basement  and finished our mast hoops

But we also got down in the shop to work on the finish plank and I continued plugging spike holes in the sealing. It always feels like visiting an old friend when we're working on the vessel. 
Warren is finishing up a bunch (35) of belaying pins. Used to tie off (belay) the ropes, I'll put up a little pic after they've been coated in linseed oil. Some of them are angelique and some are white oak.
For those who would like to add a photo or ask a question or comment (or whatever) we given Schooner Lena Blanche her own Facebook page. Please stop by and have a look. We would love to have some feedback. The blog will still have all of the background information but the fb page will be a quick way to check on progress. Hope to hear from you soon

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

We're almost at the end of February and I can see spring's light at the end of our winter tunnel. This year has been a welcome relief from the last couple of very cold,  very  snowy winters we've had. We have even had the opportunity to work outside a few days and that is highly unusual.
 Varnished blocks waiting for sheaves.
 The three stages of a block. (Bottom) all rough (right) sanded and ready for router work, (top left) routered, sanded again and varnished.
Mast hoops being sanded. After this router in and sanding the inner edges.
 Mast hoops (60) in the process of 5 coats of varnish.
Warren at the end of a tunnel of mast hoops

We'll keep working on the components until we are able to get back in the shop. It's certainly  nice to see all of the finishing  touches being finished now instead looking for them later. When the vessel is ready to go I want to be able to attach the hoops, blocks, and deadeyes and raise the sails .
Next week. Making the irons for all of this woodwork.  

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Special guests

 We had some special guests in the shop today.  The TNR (Truro North River ) 4H club came for a visit and a tour of the shop. We had about 16 kids and adults come and take a look. The weather predicted was pretty crummy so some folks may have had a hard time coming out. That just opens up an opportunity for them to come again another time! The kids are involved with everything from woodworking to painting and scrapbooking to woodsman competitions and animal husbandry. I even overheard something about computer work. An amazing organization and a great bunch of people.
We want to say thank you for their gift of the 4H woodsman touque and the beautiful belt buckle.  It is fantastic and Warren will wear it with pride. We can't wait to see your woodsman competition this year and cheer you on. Thank you all for coming.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


Happy new year.
Yesterday we were able to do some work in the boat shed so we fastened on a plank and glued plugs in bolt holes and Warren put a bevel on a new finishing plank.
Today we:
Glued mast bands- check
Sanded 40 deadeyes, ready for varnish- check
Finished pattern for wheel hub, ready to be molded and poured in foundry- check.

We're  supposed to have a bit of a snow storm here tomorrow  (it's January in Nova Scotia, we will have snow) so we're probably going to varnish the deadeyes and then plow the driveway. 
Tonight we'll roll some oakum and dream of spring. :)