Making sawdust again, part IV – a mast and its partner

And so, it came, my last of four trips out to Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s Apprentice for a Day program. What a great experience it has been – I can’t wait until life’s other demands allow me time to head out there again.

Bow of the skiff

The boat is coming along well. The frames and deck knees are all in and shaped, the forward deck beams are in, and the centerboard trunk is now snugly in place. Having worked on a number of these pieces over the last few weeks, I love seeing them in their rightful home.

Skiff looking aft

Mast partnerTask #1 for the day: the mast partner. This was a matter of putting the right bevels and such on a pre-milled piece of oak. The boat certainly is solid – the structural stuff is white oak, for the most part, with cedar planking. Pretty much what the doctor ordered. Anyway, the job required a decent bit of fussing with the plane to get it to slide home the right way. It’s almost a shame it will be decked over anyway.

Cutting the mastWhile we we with the partner, the others were with the mast. The museum has a massive ship’s saw and master boatwright Dan Sutherland (of Sutherland Boat & Coach in Hammondsport, NY) cut the rough shape, which my fellow apprentices planed to shape. eight-sidingThen we all joined in the rounding process, with Dan again leading the way. The mast is – what else – Douglas fir, and I think it will be sharp.

Smoothing the eight sides.I hope to see her one last time at her launching, which should be later in the Spring or in the early Summer. It will be thrilling. There will only be a relatively small bit of “me” in this boat, but she is a beauty and I am proud to have played a part. “Honey? The kids don’t need a back yard, right? I can just put up a barn back there?”

2 Comments for “Making sawdust again, part IV – a mast and its partner”


Intersting to see this design that was built at the Essex shipbuilidng Museum in Essex Mass – their design was a Hudson River Gunning Dory. They also put in a centerboard based on the design plans obtained from Mystic. However, the design calls for the CB (almost 5 feet in length) to be almost midships and then when CB is lowered it only drops about 8 inches down way aft. Tacking and tracking a problem. How does your version sail in this respect? About where in the boat is what I would call the pivot point? It seems to be much further forward. Thanks

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