Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Vermont Folklife Center Apprentice Program

The third boatbuilding project I have been involved with this fall is a teaching program sponsored by the Vermont Folklife Center called the Traditional Arts Apprentice Program.  I was approached by Tim Cook, an experienced timber framer and builder, about applying to the program so I could teach him boatbuilding.  I am happy to say we got our grant and we have been working together one day a week since October.
A year earlier I found this boat on the shores of Lake Champlain.  It has been there over thirty-five year according to its owner.  Many of the construction details are similar to a boat my high school students documented last year.  What was amazing and fortuitous is this boat had still retained its shape.  Critically the thwarts were intact, so we knew the flare of the sides was correct.  The only bottom planking remaining was in the shadow of the thwarts, but it told us the beam on the bottom was right also.

Tim and I brought the skiff into the shop and set it up on the lofting table and Tim measured it, and then I taught him how to loft the measured lines full-size.  Jake Burnham, the STEM teacher I work with on the high school trapping boats project, volunteered and created a detailed CAD drawing of the boat.

All in all, the lines required very little correction on the lofting.

From the lofting we built a mould setup on a strong back and got to work building the boat.

The original skiff has single-plank sides over sixteen inches wide, but I wanted Tim to learn as many boatbuilding techniques as possible, so we decided to plank it lapstrake.  The photo shows the gain, which allows the next plank to lay flush at the stem and transom.

Our two planks on, which later were fastened at the laps with copper rivets.

We crossed-planked the bottom and cut the caulking bevel by setting the table saw to 8 degrees.

Note how the caulking bevel is not across the entire edge.  The planks fit tight about one-third of their thickness and then the bevel begins.

Before planking the bottom Tim planed a caulking bevel running the length of the lower edge of the bottom plank.  This too will get caulked.

We cut the ends of the planks on the bandsaw, tilting the blade so we got a bevel equal to the angle of the side planking.  This saves us some work later.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wrapping Up Trapping Boats

The last week before Christmas break was our last week working as a class on our trapping boats at Hannaford Career Center.   Students will be busy over break writing papers about this project, which includes CAD drawings of our two boats (which I will share in the new year).

The Bessette boat getting final trimming.

The Mulliss replica waiting for thwarts and decks....

... and the original, which provided us all the information we needed.

Three students putting the final touches on the Mulliss boat.

Bessette boat done, except for painting.

Until one student noticed the edges of the rub rails needed rounding.

The Mulliss boat with thwarts and decks installed.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Anderson Japanese Garden -- The Tenmasen

This year the Anderson Japanese Garden in Rockford, IL launched a boat I built for them the previous year.  The garden director promised me a portrait of the boat in the water (since I only had photos of her in my shop under construction, a project I blogged about here.  John Braud took the photo and won an honorable mention in the Garden's photo contest, well worth a look here.

The boat is modeled off the tenmasen canal cargo boat I built with my Tokyo teacher in 2002.  The Garden designer had restrictions on length so the blunt bow allowed me to maintain a bit more volume in the boat.  The bow is clad in copper, already gaining a brown patina.

I am scheduled to give a presentation on my work in Japan at the Garden on June 16, 2016, part of their Third Thursdays lecture series.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Hannaford Career Center Trapping Boats

The larger of our two trapping boats finally coming off the moulds.  This is the biggest trapping boat I have built with students, though we need to do more research on its use.  It may be this boat was used primarily for lake fishing.  Yet its double-ended shape is similar to most of the trappings boats we have found.

Building this boat took a bit longer because of the cross-planked bottom.  Our other boat has a plywood bottom, the first of its kind we have seen in a trapping boat.

One of the students taking a class selfie with their boat.

Our other boat off its moulds.

Rub rails being installed.

The stem cut off flush at the sheer.

The Bessette boat replica.

The Mulliss boat replica.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Boatbuilding at UVM -- The Auer Boat

The Auer boat is taking shape.  All that remains is the painting and then students are producing CAD drawings of the boat, an edited video of their interview with Christine Auer, as well as additional research.

A view of the stem of the original.

Students caulking the bottom seams.

We are hoping to launch this boat, perhaps in the University pool, sometime early next semester, but it will go on display at the Rubinstein Center on campus.