Tuesday, July 13, 2021
For the last year I’ve been having an interesting correspondence with someone who I believe found me via the lofting page at my website. I loft boats — drawing them full-size — on sheets of large format paper for amateur boatbuilders. Lofting is the first step in traditional boatbuilding, a method of deriving fair and accurate patterns for building moulds. Its use overlapped the former method of designing and building boats and ships from half models carved of wood. While I loft boats from a designer’s drawings (specifically their table of offsets), it is also possible to measure an existing boat and record its measured shape. This is called lines-taking and in my early work for museums I’ve measured many boats, including helping measure the lines of the 220' three-masted lumber schooner CA Thayer at the maritime museum in San Francisco. Josef remembered a favorite rowing boat from his days studying at the Apprenticeshop in Rockland, Maine, one he said was built largely by eye, modified from an L. Francis Herreshoff 17-foot rowboat. Josef had donated the boat to the Apprenticeshop but decided he wanted to document its shape for future reference. We worked out a schedule coinciding with the Apprenticeshop’s summer break and met in Rockland.