With a profile exceptionally low to the water, the melon seed skiffs were originally used to hunt ducks on the Jersey Bays. Built around Little Egg Harbor in the late 1800s…please click here to continue reading.
Spars are a vital part of any sailboat, allowing us to stretch the sails to catch the wind. They must be strong and light, and proportioned correctly to take the wind’s force and transmit it to the hull.
I make all the spars for the boats I build, and have crafted many replacement sticks for boats that have need over the years. Most of my spars are built up from local black and red spruce, a species essentially equal to the famed Sitka spruce for high strength with low weight…
Mashnee, a 1902 Herreshoff Buzzards Bay 30, was completely rebuilt and relaunched in 2008…please click here to continue reading.
I have been an outdoorsman as long as I have been a woodworker, which is to say as long as I can remember. Having spent countless hours hiking our country’s wild places, I became steadily more aware of the damage that irresponsible logging causes to our environment. I am the first to admit that forestry can be practiced responsibly and with little long-term impact to the environment. Unfortunately this is rarely the case, and all too often the manner in which timber is gathered borders closer to rape than stewardship. I know trees are a renewable resource; but in all reality a thousand year old cedar is not. Yet I knew I was supporting these destructive practices when I went to the lumberyard to buy stock for my work. This dilemma came to a crux when I began building boats. Yes, that old-growth fir was wonderful stuff to plank with, but the cost was too high, both monetarily and morally.
Fortunately a solution presented itself at about the same time. (more…)
The molds were up, the ribbands in place, it was time to put in the frames, and I was a little worried. I was building a melonseed—a great little traditional sail boat with shallow draft and a hard turn of the bilge in the aft sections. I was framing with steam-bent Black Locust, as I do with all my boats, and I just wasn’t sure if the 3/4” x 5/8” frames would be able to take that much bend. I knew from experience that good Locust bends beautifully, and I had good stock—nice, even grain with little or no run-out—but this was going to be a severe test. (more…)
“Where do you start?” That’s a question I hear a lot when folks are asking me about building a boat. It’s a good question; it’s an obvious question, and it has a deceptively simple answer.
“I start with the backbone” I tell them.
“You mean the keel?”
That’s the response I almost always get. And I explain that yes, the keel is an important part of the backbone, but that it is just one component in a large assembly of pieces that provide the foundation for the rest of the boat. (more…)