Friday, June 14, 2013


With the whaleboats floating majestically alongside the dock outside our windows, the shop floor is, with the exception of the Bevins skiff (in for painting), completely boat free.  This is hopefully a very temporary state, and definitely a highly unusual one, but it has the advantage of allowing us to spread out and actually have enough room to work comfortably.

Our boat-free zone. A rare occasion.
Most of the WoW crew was engaged in tasks related to whaleboat propulsion -- making things that enable the boats to move -- under sail or by rowing. There is a bit of urgency in the process since the whaleboats are scheduled to be on display at Mystic Seaport on June 28 to 30, as part of the annual  Woodenboat Magazine show. Six of the ten commissioned boats will be in Mystic for the show, and ours will be among them.  Two sets of mast hoops were needed for the boats, and they were put together in assembly line fashion that would have done Mr. Beetle proud.  

First, oak strips are steamed for bending into hoops.
Bruce and Newt force an oak strip around the bending jig.
A bending jig in the vise with several completed hoops nearby.
Bruce drills a bent hoop to accept rivets.
Riveting the hoop on the horn of the anvil.
Bruce checks a riveted hoop prior to easing the edges.
The hoops were rounded over on all four edges, on the router table, and then finished up with a rasp and sandpaper.
Lee does final sanding on a completed hoop.
We completed all of the necessary hoops in a couple of hours and were able to move on to the other propulsion related tasks.

The hoops, coated with Waterlux, hanging out to dry.
The two beautiful sets of oars required a couple of more coats of protection, and that occupied much of the afternoon for Lee and Charles.  The finish was a special concoction including 60% linseed oil, 30% turpentine, and 10% japan drier.  It gives a slight sheen to the spruce oars, and affords considerable protection against the elements.

Lee works on the first couple of oars.  Twelve were done in all.
The newly coated oars drying on saw horses.
Bruce continued working on the standing rigging, including the rope shrouds. He used entirely traditional tools, materials, and techniques, and the product looks like it was projected from the 1830's in a time machine.

Grommets spliced into the ends of shrouds.
Serving protects the shrouds where they sit atop the mast.
A newly arrived canvas sail awaits completion of the rigging.
Meanwhile, Dan worked on the lone boat in the shop, the Bevins skiff, applying a final coat of topside paint to the hull and interior.  She will be back in the water with the rest of the fleet very soon.

The student-built Bevins skiff gets a new coat of paint.

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