SVEN (Another boat)

Some people like taking in stray dogs and cats….me, I like old wooden boats…..lots of rot but classic lines are a must. Here is the dory off the St. Lazaria which had been sitting on the dock upside down for about five years. Her gunwhales have flattened out on the dock so she’s lost all her shape and looks like a canoe. All the ribs are broken at both the keel and chines so there is a lot of work ahead.

One rib at a time–I pre-bend each white oak rib by springing it on our dock to shape it for the next day’s installation

Here I’m placing the pre-bent rib into the stern section carefully. Sometimes these ribs break–a real bummer because I then start all over bending a new frame. Worse is when you’ve fastened each frame to each plank and the last bend breaks…..then it’s time to get out the grinders and chisels and remove everything. (The next post will explain the copper fasteners.)

The ‘forefoot’ (bent section) was completely fractured which left the stem and keel separated–and this is a hard piece to replace. First you have to relieve all the planks where they land on the stem, remove the stem and then remove all the fasteners that tie the forefoot to the keel and ‘garboard’ plank (the one fastened to the keel).

Usually, you select a piece of wood from the woods that looks like this–a huge natural knee, but this is too big so, in my spare time, I make a wooden bench out of it instead:

This is sited on our point and we now visit there every evening.

OK, back to the stem–here it’s completely opened up. What a mess–it came out in about five pieces so I screw it back together to use as a pattern! Now comes the hard part which is to reshape a forefoot from a piece of wood 2 1/2″ thick, 13″ wide and three feet long–remember it laps over the keel and stem. And this is just the beginning. After all this stem business, I’ve got the same problems with the stern:

So this has to be removed and then I plug, glue and repair the stern section; here’ the boat is essentially only two halves–no stem nor stern. Fortunately, the stern-piece can be salvaged:

The stern has now been reinstalled and varnished awaiting gold leaf “SVEN” lettering but I’m pooped so it’s time to visit Juneau for a weekend–Martina is working there all week.

And the tourist boats continue to arrive. And I thought a rowboat was a hard project. How do people maintain these huge yachts? For size comparison, note the brown cover on my 73′ tug Katahdin on the right moored in front of the yacht–and this is a medium sized one!

OK….off to Juneau where we visit the Mendenhall Glacier which is a short drive out of town. An incredible place except for the helicopters hauling lazy people over to see it. Helicopters….bah, humbug!

OK–enough of a rant about helicopters. The SVEN is half done but this blog will have to be continued (and modified) as the project ensues. Stay tuned….

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3 Responses to “SVEN (Another boat)”

  1. Erich Says:

    I had to get back to Martina’s fishcakes post for some clarification, and saw your new entry in my reader. You really are industrious! Look at all the projects, completed and in progress! I repeat my good wish for Sven here, directly.

  2. Doug Says:

    Yes, fishcakes last night for dinner; we live the good life here in Alaska. After finishing SVEN, I’ll post my tractor restoration–which will be a useful garden tool also.

  3. Brad Says:

    Love this post (as I do all of them) Doug. Thanks for the photos and descriptions of all your projects and hobbies!

    Thrilled to see Sven’s “after” shots – sometimes it pays to catch up on a few month’s worth of posts at a time.

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