Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Quick update

Did you feel the chill in the air this morning? We have enjoyed such a beautiful fall with the warm weather it's hard to let go but the cooler stuff is coming.
Our winter shop is almost finished, we are waiting for the electrical inspector to come and then we will be able to finish insulating and put up sheet rock. We were planning what we would be able to do towards getting Lena Blanche closer to the water this winter. So exciting! Today we were planing the oak for the deck house beams and we are going to laminate them and start cutting them out. We will be back at the rail tomorrow and get that finished. It's so good to be back at the vessel.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Our New Shop

Hello all. We have not dropped off the end of the world but boy has it been a whirlwind kind of a summer and now it's autumn and things are just starting to heat up around here.
We have done quite a bit to the vessel so far this summer and will continue to plug away at our beautiful Lena Blanche until the cold drives us out of the shop.
Then what? Usually we try to find little things to do in relation to the schooner throughout the winter but a lot of the smaller projects are finished or nearly finished.  So what do 2 boat builders do when the snow starts to fly?  Why, they build a heated boat shop and take on outside work. And that is what we are in the process of doing. We have laid a steel frame foundation and the building materials were delivered today. We will have the concrete pads poured later this week and then the construction begins. There will be heat (finally) so that we can be productive in the winter too. We would love to take on a couple of students who are interested in learning boat building but we haven't worked out a curriculum or pricing yet. If there is interest in this we'd like to hear from you. If you don't want to blog about it you can send a message through the fb page schooner Lena Blanche.
We would like to be building vessels both large and small and maybe have a few woodworking nights to teach the basics of wood working and using tools. We'll pick a small project to get started and for those who are interested we could do something a little more complex.

 Can you guess what this is????? It is a wooden fairlead traditionally made by native Canadians to be used on vessels. A friend of ours brought it in one day to show us. I tried to snag it but he only let me have it long enough to get a good picture and a lead on where I could find more.
 Unloading materials for our new 24' x 50' insulated and heated shop. So excited.

 Good old insulation to keep in all the warm

 Delivery fellows and fellow boat enthusiasts.
Steel frame for new  building all welded up and waiting for concrete pads and then construction.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Wow! Doesn't the summer fly. We've been keeping busy at the vessel and doing a little casting and trying to do a little summer stuff too and now August is almost half way through. We've had the absolute pleasure of welcoming almost 300 people so far this year to visit the shop and have made some lifelong connections,  I'm sure.
We finally got all of the rail placed and now we are sanding, routering  and drilling to make way for stainless rod. Her forward and after decks are all finished and we should be able to get on with new business soon. Ahhhh
So.... pictures
Warren and our son, Sheamus, hamming it up while visiting the Bluenose display at the tall ships festival in Halifax. Hot and so many people.We're looking forward to maybe joining the ships the next time they gather.

Start of the inside of the stern rail.

Warren and his brothers and sisters on the front porch of the family home. Talent abounds with this group. Both brothers have built small boats as well and his sisters are masters at needle work along with many other talents.

Part of the inside rail laminated 

 The beginning od some of her scroll work on the bow

Sanding the finished stern 

Me and Warren's sister, Linda, goofing around at the tea party given for the community during their Seal Harbour Days celebration. We have to take days every now and then to remember that family is what it's all about. 

Part of the stern rail in the press after it's been steamed.

Doing a little planing on part of the oak rail.
Finished stern cuddy deck
A little look from the port side.

We'll keep on keeping on and thanks to everyone who follows our progress.  If you're ever passing through give us a shout.
Fair winds and Smooth sailing.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Summer 2017

So much has happened over the past month (or so) I'll just plug up a whole bunch of photos and say a few things about  them.
 This was a beautiful gift from one of our visitors Marshall Conrad. He came with a friend of ours and I got to asking about his hobbies (sometimes I feel like all I ever do I'd talk about us and our stuff) and he said he made rock sculptures. When people make things with their hands I get intrigued. I asked if he would send me a photo of some of his work and he went one better.  On his next trip to visit our friend Alfie had this beautiful piece which I am so thankful for.  It lives  in my kitchen and gives me great delight everyday.
Now back to work. We've been working on the rail for the most part .

We got a couple of orders for casting in the foundry. A little bronze  and some aluminum work as well. Above are the wooden patterns for the aluminum work we did. And below is the imprint it leaves in the sand after it has been 'rammed'. There is a core in this one so that it will leave a hollow  part in the casting.

Finished casting ready to be cut apart and sanded.

We also had to do a little maintenance on our sawmill.  It was feeding too fast through the logs and needed some other tweaking and a new coat of paint so we finally got at it. We sawed some oak with it and it is working perfectly. 

Warren sanding the supports for the cat heads. The cat heads swing the anchor over the rail to prepare for lowering or raising to store on deck.

These are logs that were delivered this morning.  Spruce. There's a main and fore boom there and a main and fore gaff as well as a bow sprit and jib boom. The rest will be some planking and maybe another smaller boat, wink wink.
Hope you are all well.
Fair winds and Smooth sailing 

Monday, May 8, 2017


Whew! What a morning. We started some decking this morning and then the company started to arrive. First our dear friend Les showed up and we had a great catch up time with him. Les, besides being a good friend, is the professional behind our engine rebuild for the vessel. We took two 1970s era Detroit diesels and totally rebuilt them with all new working parts under the guidance and actual hands on participation of Les. He has been a huge part in the running of these engines. Thank you, Les.
Then we got a visit from friends that Warren knew as a child, the MacPhee's from Port Williams, NS. Marilyn is actually Warren's cousin and they had a great time reminiscing about things on the shore when they were young and the influence of grandfathers and uncles in their lives. It was my first time meeting these wonderful people and they brought us a nice treat from the Valley which
we will certainly enjoy.
While they were here we were visited by new friends. Brent and Fran have been here before  but brought folks who they thought would enjoy our project. So nice to meet and have a chance to share what we do.
And of course our  friend John B. Great to catch up on the winter's happenings.
Now it's time to grab a bit of lunch. (I'm writing on the fly ).We have visitors dropping by this afternoon to see about some cannon work and we're hoping to get some rail work done before nightfall.
Smooth sailing, everyone.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Just a coupla photos

Perty,  huh! Looking forward port side.

Looking forward,  starboard side 

Little plug soldiers doing their duty. These have all been cut off now and more added. They look terrific. I could just write yippee and it would say it all. The decks are quickly getting closed in and they look really good. It's so much easier to walk (squat, crawl, whatever) around now that we don't have to keep only on the deck beams.
We have had lots of visitors lately.  There have been more than 70 people pass through our boatshed doors since the beginning of January. Thank you everyone for being a part of what we're doing.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

While I was sick. ..

While I am being sick with a cold Warren is being quite productive and making me feel guilty. I did manage to drag my sorry butt down there to get a short video for you.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sharp tools and signs of spring

We wanted to say a special thanks to some folks.
This season we are starting off with newly sharpened chisels , slicks and plane blades thanks to the amazing sharpening skills of Mike Illingworth of Cap Pele, NB. As much as we try not to, our tools take a terrible workout throughout the year and while we give them a cursory  filing and sharpening  our skills cannot even come close to Mike's.
These tools are anywhere from 10 to 100 years old and work just like new. Thank you, Mike. Also thank you to Art Keeble for picking up and delivering the tools. We appreciate it very much.

We read quite a bit throughout the cold winter  nights and we also appreciate the folks who pass on great maritime books for us, either on loan or just give them too us. We love to read about the history of our ancestors  and shipbuilding/sailing in general.  Actually, we read anything that has an interesting story and that relates to our history.
So, thank you to Charles Manthorne, Randolph Pope, Keith Knott and others who have been so kind as to share their love of books with us. Here's a small sample

We did manage to get in the shop one afternoon and got a little more decking laid but since then I have been held up with a nasty cold. Horrible stuff. We are looking forward to the better weather and the visitors that seem to come along with it.
Have a great spring.

Friday, March 17, 2017

The wearin' o the green

Happy St. Patrick's Day to all. The day when everyone has a little Irish in them no matter where you're from.

We were able to work on Lena Blanche a few days in March. So we did a little more decking and managed to get a start on the rail

We have also had quite a few visitors lately.
Our Nova Scotia friends brought guests from Toronto,  our New Brunswick friends brought visitors from Germany and we've had people stop in who just wanted to check on the progress. What an amazing opportunity we've had to meet so many people from different countries and walks of life.
We have decided on a colour for the vessel.  Drum roll please.........
Poison Ivy Green. Or as close as we can get to that amazing shade.
Here's an idea of what it will look like,

This isn't the exact colour but close enough for the model.
We will continue to finish out the decking and rails and by the time that's done hopefully the better weather will be here.  😉

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


It was a beautiful day after all of the cold and snow we've had so we decided to get into the shop and lay some decking. I'm a little sore tonight but it was worth it.
We got a visit this morning from our friend Eric and his brother, Alfie, who is visiting from NL. We enjoyed a cuppa coffee and caught up on all the news. During his visit Alfie gave us a box full of raw water pump replacement parts for the vessel. These will come in handy when we're out at sea. Wanted to show a pic and say 'thank you '.  We really appreciate his thoughtfulness.
  We're looking forward to a week of warmer weather and getting the decking nearer to completion.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Keeping on, keepin on

The knees are all bolted in the Samson post and the keelson. It took some planing and fitting to make it exactly what we wanted but I think it was worth it. Strong and sweet to the eye. But, oh, the vacuuming!  The poor shop vac earned its keep that day. 

 The grey/ black water tanks are well underway. They smell of polyester resin abounds throughout. We are making sure to keep everything well ventilated.  One of the great things about fibreglass is that if you can think it ip, you can make it. So these tanks are specifically made for this vessel. That way we can make the best use of the space we have without taking up living space.

This is sort of what it looks like when we're planning what's next. The design of the fuel tanks starts out with a bunch of calculations and cardboard. You'll notice that we have help with our floor work.

It's supposed to be fairly decent temperatures this week so we may get more decking/ structural work done to the hull. Have a great week.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A new year.

Happy New Year - 11 days late but better late than never.
We had a lovely Christmas.  Quiet but nice. Saw family and some friends both new and old. We often go a little stir crazy because for a few weeks it seems as though you can't find time to get at anything. We are now getting back to the routine.
Several people have asked us if we are going to be ready to launch for the 150 anniversary of Canada.  Unfortunately,  this is not to be. It would be a wonderful thing to be a part of the tall ships sail past to celebrate our great country and the great history of these beautiful ships. We look forward to the day when we can be a part of this proud tradition.
Now on to a mini update:

We have started the molds for the fibreglass tanks.

We have done quite a bit of glass work before- Warren used to run a shop way back when and we have made some steeples and other pieces here as well. Never get used to the smell though. Phew!
We have fitted the knees  fore and aft of the Samson post.  We're just waiting for a day when it's warm enough in the shop to bed them in before we bolt them in securely.
 We are still doing some decking when it's not horribly cold in the shop. And getting little fiddly things fixed up so that we won't be held up later.
Hope your 2017 has started  well and that good things follow you throughout the year.