Last Sunday I got out to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum again for another Apprentice for a Day outing. Planking was the order of the day, as the lovely Merlin Yawl gets her skin.
I arrived to find the garboard planks glued in place and the starboard first broad strake glued and clamped in. I was pleased to hear that the garboards went on well against my planed keelson, with a minimum of filler goop required (and those spots weren’t mine; that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it!).
The first task was the port-side first broad strake. The prior day’s crew had marked it out, but we started by cutting it (yours truly on the jig saw) and then trimmed it off with hand planes. Happily, my cutting was fairly solid and we had light work here.
The test fit proved fairly successful. Some judicious clamping, pushing, and well-aimed mallet blows, and we liked the look of her. Off came the plank, on went the epoxy, and – boom – both first broads were on.
By this time, the starboard first broad strake had completed its clamp regimen and we could turn to the second broad strake on that side. First we fit a batten along the marks for the next plank, with the batten inside the marks. We then cut up scrap planks to lay between the batten and the first broad strake, joining them with butt-blocks and hot-glue. We then glued on scraps that pointed to either or both the batten edge or a line 3/4″ inside the first broad strake representing the overlap of the second broad strake. By moving this template to the plank stock and connecting the tips of the pointer pieces with a batten, we got the plank outline on the plank stock.
From here, the team split tacks. While some worked on cutting and planing this new plank, I took on preparing more plank stock. And that meant scarfing plywood, something I had not done before. Me and a nice, long plane got to it. It is a little tough to tell from the picture, but the sheets are at a bit of an angle to each other to account for the sweep of the planks. Additional scarfs will continue this sweep; hopefully they’ll get a couple planks out of the completed stock piece (the sheets are fairly narrow).
Finally, to finish this productive day, I went back to the boat and did one bit of final prep for the starboard second broad strake: cutting the gain in the first broad strake at the stem. While a saw cut helped set a nice edge, this was mostly work with a chisel and, for my first time, a rabbet plane. It came out pretty well, I think.
So, another great day as an apprentice. I definitely learned some useful tricks and got practice in areas I hadn’t touched yet. This boat is going to be great and I am eager to see her afloat. Now I have to negotiate for another day or two out there… At very least, she launches on June 8th and I am hoping it will be a fun family outing.
When I have been out to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum I have kept tabs on the restoration of the skipjack ROSIE PARKS. Longtime readers first saw pictures of her in tough shape in 2007 (see right).
By this time last year, there was much better news to report: ROSIE PARKS was well along in a proper restoration. The other day, happily, I found her where she belongs: in the water and looking sharp. Here’s to a great job by the Museum waterfront staff!
You Editor-in-chief here at Chine bLog spent the day over at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum‘s Apprentice for a Day program again today, and, as always, I had a great time. In my haste to get to making sawdust and shavings, I didn’t catch the name of the design [Editor's note added after publication: it is called "Merlin Yawl" and was designed by Kees Prins and Bill Bronaugh] for the boat the program is working on this year, but, unlike most of the others, this is a new design, not a traditional Chesapeake boat with traditional construction. This boat does, however, have a traditional style, but it will be done using lapstrake plywood construction. Today’s focus was the backbone.
Let’s look at the design. She is a bit whale-boatish in appearance, roughly 17′ LOA and 7′ abeam. She is called a yawl and has yawl proportions, but, as is generally the case in small, open boats, she is technically a ketch (mizzen forward of the rudderpost).
Looking at the lines, you can see she’s pretty. Even if she was drawn in 2013, she would look at home a century or more earlier. We here at Chine bLog are generally fans of her basic look: double-ender, plumb stem with a nice round in the forefoot, and somewhat raking sternpost.
When I entered the now familiar building shed, I found the strongback and molds set-up with the keelson laid down and attached to the inner sternpost. One guy was shaping the inner stem. My job was to finish shaping the keelson, then two layers of 5/8″ (I think) angelique plywood [Editor's note: our bad - it is okume] laminated together and cut to shape in plan view. One guy had started to plane the bevels in, and I took over the task today. If you look at the lines, you can see there is a bunch of twist in the garboard at either end, and I had to get the keelson beveled to receive that twisted plank. This is to say, I had to plane in a pretty crazy rolling bevel along the length of the board. You can get some sense of the job from the results pictured here.
We also got the inner stem in (that’s program manager Jenn Kuhn checking it out) and, ultimately, glued it and bolted it to the keelson.
I did the shaping of the keelson from this fitting (at left) to the roughly finished result below. I am fairly happy with the results.
With that done for now, the last prep was cutting the slot for the centerboard. My handiwork here too.
Another guy spent much of the day doing calculations to line off the planking. They will be carrying on with that tomorrow, and I am sorry to miss the task. I got a bit of a flavor of it and picked up some tips. #1 – don’t forget to calculate in the rubrail! They’ll have to backtrack a bit on that tomorrow. I would surely have missed that and ended up with a puny sheer plank.
I tried some new things, learned some good lessons, and had a great time. I can’t wait for round two in two weeks, when planking will be the order of the day! Stay tuned for more on this lovely boat.
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum has a great fleet and will be the better for adding the restored skipjack, ROSIE PARKS. I have blogged about her before and the museum does a nice job of tracking the update in its blog. I checked in on her while I was there. She’s coming along nicely.
See the “before” pictures in this post from 2007.
It happens all too rarely, but I was able to cash in a Christmas gift and spend another great day with Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum‘s Apprentice for a Day program. The current boat is an enhanced reproduction (a reproduction with some more modern updates incorporated) of GHOST, a deadrise bateau from about 1920. She is a longtime fixture in the museum’s collection but has not, as I understand it, seen the water in that time. Little is known, therefore, about her performance. She is just shy of 16′ LOA with a beam shy of 6′. In her day she carried a sprit rig with 146 square feet of sail.
I found her reincarnation with two rough side planks clamped on to molds and an oak stem. Her chine logs and transom were in place – check out that upsweep in the chines and the laminated keel – as were the initial stab at that most curious of Chesapeake boatbuilding creations, the chunk bow. Rather than planking the forward portion of the bottom, where planks could get twisted and tricky, the builders took a page from the dugout-builders of yore and carved pieces from solid stock. Arduous, but it did the trick.
Our first task was to fit the bottom-most port side plank (the bottom will be diagonally planked).
Continue reading Learning to plank – a great time as a CBMM Apprentice for a Day »
I learned recently, via the Cheaspeake Maritime Museum Facebook stream, the the Apprentice for a Day program completed the North Shore Sailing Skiff I worked on for a day this spring. As expected, she came out quite well. She’s a nice design overall, and I hope I can take a few pulls in her at some point.
While at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum it is, of course, imperative that I cruise around and check out the fleet of boats there. There is a good deal going on with the museum’s collection of historically important working boats, and I thought I’d share a bit of that (for a fuller picture, follow the museum’s Chesapeake Bay Boats blog).
Most significant is the restoration of the skipjack ROSIE PARKS. I had seen her a few years back, looking pretty hard up. What a difference a top-flight restoration effort makes. She museum’s shipwrights have salvaged about 25% of the original timber and a breathing substantial new life into this boat, and she looks great. She has new planking, with some obvious scarfs showing on the unfinished hull. Decking is starting to go in and many major timbers are in place. Amazing to see.
I suspect this is one of ROSIE PARKS’ spars, in the making. Makes me feel bad about feeling sick of 16-siding AL DEMANY CHIMAN’s 3 spars.
Elsewhere, the bugeye EMMA LOCKWOOD was up on the ways and a cute sharpie was getting some upkeep.
Excellent times Saturday as I took advantage of a Christmas gift of another day in the Apprentice for a Day program at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. I hadn’t been there since the passing of Dan Sutherland, who ran the program for the past few years and a much-missed genius. Happily the program has rallied to continue Dan’s final project, a North Shore Sailing Skiff, “Miss B” Model, and I was thrilled to get a chance to participate in building this nice-looking classic small rowing and sailing boat.
I confess I didn’t get to learn much about the boat. It was designed by Robert H. Baker and a version of it appeared in the very first issue of WoodenBoat. More recently, the hull, NELLIE, appeared as Miss November in WoodenBoat’s 2010 calendar (via Benjamin Mendlowitz, of course). CBMM’s blog has a bit of additional info.
The boat had been fully planked and framed. The boat is going to be gorgeous. She will have a bright-finished Spanish cedar transom and I must call your attention to the black locust breasthook and quarter knees. My goodness, that breasthook is treasure.
So, on to the work I did. The morning had us refining the fit of the seats. As is often the case, this meant a good deal of subtle tweaking and nudging followed by an extensive effort to find the right spot to cut the mast partners into the forward seats (there are two mast positions and the center-line had gotten a bit murky when compared with the seats). I eventually was able to have at it with the drill press and a 3″ hole saw. A little more clean-up and the seats got pulled again and spent the afternoon in the finishing room with another participant.
The afternoon was focused on figuring out the floorboards. The plans called for a single 3″ plank running fore-and-aft about 5-6″ off the center line. This seemed an odd choice and we decided, after extensive discussion and test-fitting, to add a second floorboard inboard of the designed ones. We milled the boards – barely – out of some sassafras and a spent the last part of the afternoon shaping and sanding these pieces. Satisfying as always.
I was incredibly distressed to see on the Facebook feed of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum today that Dan “Danny” Sutherland, who ran the Apprentice for a Day program there, passed away on Saturday. I have written often of Dan and the time I spent with him as part of the CBMM’s Apprentice for a Day program. I learned a ton about boatbuilding from him and it is this set of sessions, more than anything else, that set me up to successfully complete my current boat, AL DEMANY CHIMAN. Dan’s style was open and welcoming, showing deep knowledge and great willingness to share. He took participants at whatever level and taught them as they wanted to engage. His understated presentation masked the level of expertise he had and made it the more surprising when we nonchalantly made a perfect joint.
While I feel a great loss in his passing knowing the influence he had on me, I know that I am not alone in his wake. There are many amazing boats with his imprint on them out there and these will serve as wonderful monuments to him. Prayers for his friends and family and, of course, fair winds and following seas to you, Danny.
Toward the end of the day Saturday, I happened to be on hand when John Harris, father of Chesapeake Light Craft, took a spin in one of the two cocktail class racers that were about. For those who don’t know, these boats are 8′ plywood outboard boats that barely hold a single man. They go fast and have a devoted following. John was getting into the boat and setting of when one fo the other guys from CLC yelled out “John! Stop! You’re in the wrong boat! It has a MOTOR! [as John heads out] Uhhh… he’s gone to the dark side.” LOL. John came back after an out-and-back run looking somewhat exhilerated and more than mildly terrified. In the next three minutes I heard him say “the steering is really an art” no less than five times with his eyes the size of bulkhead ports. I wouldn’t be holding your breath for the CLC cocktail class kit.