Thursday, July 26, 2012

Goings and comings and staying puts

The clinker built Whitehall, sporting a very vibrant blue topside, took a step closer to the water as she left the shop and was carried by a host of strong backs down to the floating dock, where she received a final coat of oil to her transom.  Very soon, she will join the growing ISM fleet.  Like her carvel sister, she is a real beauty -- a credit to Bruce, the CHAD kids, and volunteers who worked on her the past few months.
One very pretty little boat all painted and ready to move out of the shop and into the water

Still pretty, even from the side.

Even as the Whitehall left the shop, the next project arrived.  She is a Lightening, named Flying Jib, and is in the shop for repairs to some storm-caused damage.

Flying Jib ready to enter the shop
 Our ongoing projects are making good progress.  While the shop is full of boats right now, soon we will be saying goodbye to the 1929 Richardson, as well as the restored Comet, and will have lots of space for new projects.  Lots of work is being done on To 'N Fro, including the gold leaf name on the beautiful transom, quart after quart of varnish, and coats of paint.
The name is starting to look great again, with new gold leaf and fresh varnish on the transom
Newt is sanding in preparation for another coat of varnish on the bright trim
Lots of pieces varnished and ready to reinstall

The Comet is coming along, too.  She got a final coat of epoxy on her new deck yesterday.  It was sanded smooth today, and is ready for a coat or two of paint.
Stuck in a corner, but not forgotten, the Comet's deck looking very, very smooth

Looking just as good from the port side
Meanwhile, a new boat is being started in the shop.  It is a student project led by Nick -- a Bevins Skiff.  With her hard chines, straightforward planking, and flat bottom, she is an ideal project to learn to build a boat.
The Bevins Skiff plan tacked up to facilitate lofting
Molds are starting to spring up on the strongback.  Planks are soon to follow
 Stuff is happening in the water as well as in the shop.  A nice breeze made the hot humid day almost tolerable, as well as making for a first rate sailing opportunity.  The crew from the Wooden Boat Factory  were sailing around the basin. WoW interns and volunteers were rowing and sailing as well.  Visitors were enjoying the water in the rental kayaks and paddle boats.  A real crowd was great to see!

Everybody was having a great time on the water
 Unfortunately, one WoW crew member, Jeff, couldn't join in the fun.  He was fully committed to his new responsibility as part of the new "Famous Boatbuilders of Philadelphia" exhibit, and just could not get himself free. . . .
Jeff on display in a very safe place

Friday, July 20, 2012

Painting Bottoms and Topsides

The whole shop was in painting mode, as the second Whitehall got closer to the water, and a double ended rowing boat in the ISM fleet each got bottom paint.  The job gave the CHAD interns a chance to learn some important lessons about gravity and the happy tendency for water to seek its own level.  Bruce taught a lesson in the using the laser level to mark the waterline.

First, the hull is leveled on saw horses, both for to aft and side to side using, in the case of the Whitehall, the keel as a reference point.  Then, the waterline level at the stem or transom is measured from the plan, and marked on the hull.  The laser level is set so that it points to that mark.  By pivoting the laser level, one person moves the light beam along the hull, while another marks the location of the beam every few inches.  The marks are connected and, voila, a good waterline is achieved.

The lapstrake Whitehall is primed, and the waterline has been drawn
 Work also continued on the 1929 Richardson powerboat, To 'n Fro.  A coat of topside paint has been applied and sanded, blemishes have been fixed, and it is ready for a second coat.  

The scarphed repair to the stem has been rendered invisible!
The hull is starting to look very nice.
 Bruce made some time to give a lesson on lofting, as he and the CHAD students began to prepare for the next small boat building project, proving once again that there is always something new happening at WoW.

The lofting table is the place where all WoW boats start their lives.
 While the press of priorities has drawn us away from the whaleboat for the past month or so, work is still going on.  Newt has been spiling, cutting, and installing ceiling, a tricky enterprise in such a curvy hull.  The last few sections are being done as the whaleboat moves closer to completion.
A full length ceiling plank sits on the bandsaw having just been spiled and rough cut

Friday, July 13, 2012

A bunch of stuff

With one Whitehall entering the ISM small boat fleet, and another nearing completion, the team is returning to work on the other projects waiting patiently in the shop.  The final step for Puffin, our carvel planked Whitehall, was bottom painting, which was completed by Bruce and the CHAD kids in 90 plus degree heatOnce instructed, the summer interns made quick work of it, working through the process with a roller followed by a brush, from stern to bow, and from keel to waterline, as taught by Professor MacKenzie. 
Bruce gives a lesson while eager painters watch and learn.
A roller man, a brush woman, and a supervisor/cheerleader, all hard at work.
Inside, where one could work in air conditioned comfort, volunteers and staff worked on the remaining parts of the second Whitehall project -- a bit of sanding here, a little gluing there.  Once they get their final coat of paint, the thwarts, floorboards, and seats will be fastened in place, and the boat will be flipped, sanded, and painted. She will be ready for the water before you know it.
A rare moment with no one picking, poking, or painting.

The interior has been oiled and is ready for floorboards and seats.
A good look at the beaded edge of the sheerstrake, and some fine planking,
 At the other end of the shop, work continued on the 1929 Richardson, "To 'n Fro."  A few last minute repairs needed to be completed before priming the hull, but the varnish coats are already beginning to build up to a deep glossy beautiful look.
Some of the many square feet of brightwork on the Richardson, "To 'n Fro"

A small bit of rot around a steel screw in the waterline plank at the transom needed to be dug out, cleaned back to good wood, and a new piece of cypress scarphed and glued into place.  
Block screwed over scarphed patch in plank. When glue is cured, the block comes off.
 A small area of bark inclusion was detected in the new stem when it was given its final shaping after it had been cut and installedWhile it could have been patched with filler, we went to the extra effort of cutting out the bad area, and scarphing in a new white oak block.  A fine old boat like this deserves the best possible repair.
The stem repair -- once the glue dries, it will get a final shaping.
A rowing program needs two things:  boats (we've taken care of that) and oars, on which we had some work to do.  Leathers need to be put on the fleet's oars, in order to protect them from being damaged by rubbing against oarlocks.  
That work was begun.  A rectangle of steer hide is cut to size, holes are punched every 3/8 inch on both edges.  Then the leather is soaked in hot water.  After that, the wet leather is molded around the oar and stitched into place.  As it dries, the leather will shrink to a very tight fit.
Leather cut to shape, and stitched onto oar shaft.
Bruce applies the final seizing at the end of the stitching.
 Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet's oars needed more varnish, because when dealing with boats, oars, etc., you NEVER have enough coats of varnish.  Christian was the varnish man today on the oar project, and a fine job he did of it.
Christian and his varnish.  He remembered not to start with the oar nearest him.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Puffin afloat

The team put the finishing touches on the carvel Whitehall, gave her a name (Puffin) and ceremoniously launched her for her maiden voyage on Barnegat Bay.
Puffin on the trailer and ready to go
Very sharp looking from either end
Work continued on the other Whitehall, the clinker built one, with Ben and Max laboring away. She will be done soon; most of the carpentry is finished, and paint is being applied to floorboards, thwarts, and benches.
There is always something that needs to be done.

 Work continued on the Richardson as well, with the engine going back in atop the new stainless steel drip pan.  It won't be long before she goes back into the water.
Jeff singlehandedly lifting the engine back into the boat
Meanwhile, the CHAD kids and most of the WoW team got to celebrate their accomplishments and demonstrate their skills at a party in Bayhead, NJ on Barnegat Bay.
Watch that drill!  This is a party
One can never have too many mast hoop bracelets
You wouldn't really break that bottle against the hull, would you?
Carl finally takes a break from oar making