Friday, December 12, 2014

Practical Skin on Frame Boats

With these beautifully functional small boats you can also see the water and bioluminescence as you row along!
Light enough to carry for launching.  This is James with his lengthened version
WOW tows like a dream!
After months and days working on boats for other people, Andy and James decided to take on a personal boat project and build these lovely skin on frame boats for themselves.  James had a friend come up for the weekend building.  Andy and James decided each to take departures from the designs, while James' friend stuck with original plans.  James modified his by stretching out the design  and Andy double ended his for a peapod type design.

Lashing, stem, 
Cloth ( ballistic nylon) is tacked on and stretched around the frame then coated with  urathane.

Close up of the stitching on the stem.

Lovely Symmetry

fitting the thwarts
Frames all oiled up

Applied urethane coating drying in the shed.

James knocked out a youth sized baidarka kayak as well.

The after-gathering for the 2014Anacortes Small Boat Messabout, Saddlebag Island

Heading back to Windsong after a near shore circumnavigation of Saddlebag
For more information:

Tender WOW on a November sail to Blind Bay at Shaw Island

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Anacortes Small Boat Messabout

Reviving an old Anacortes tradition, the Pull and Be Damned-Small Boat Messabout will be held Saturday May 17, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, at Seafarer’s Park in Anacortes.  Small boat enthusiasts will come from near and far.  The original events were historically held on south Fidalgo Island and named after Pull and Be Damed Road in the local area.

This is an opportunity for small boat enthusiasts to gather, share and have fun on the water. Bring your own boat if you have one. Come see all sorts of small craft and meet their owners. Vessels attending will include gigs, whitehalls, kayaks, skin-on-frame boats, various sailing craft and more.

The event is sponsored by the Anacortes Small Boat Center (ASBC) and Port of Anacortes, The Old Anacortes Rowing and Sailing Society (OARS) and The Hole in the Wall Paddling Club.

There will be a potluck lunch in the Seafarer’s building with barbeques provided for grilling. There is no cost for this event. Come share in our waterfront and enjoy the day, simply messing about in boats.

For more information go to

Monday, March 17, 2014

Center for Woodenboats casting class

In contrast to the modern day materials including carbon fiber and delrin and the magical bonding elixirs like two-part epoxy, it's nice to get our hands the ancient arts and methods including wood nails, frame lashing and perhaps the most awesome, bronze casting.  

A small crowd gathers on a winter's day around the glow of the furnace

On several occasions James McMullen has set up to cast special nameplates for the boats we have built, custom hardware, oar locks, pintles, etc.  The Marine Skills Center has been hosted for one such demonstration, and James has most recently rounded up many of his Sail and Oar posse for casting sessions with particular attention given to those who need pieces that are hard to find in the retail setting, such as gudgeons for a double-ender.

On the weekend of March 22 and 23, James will be teaching a casting class at The Center For Woodenboat-Cama Beach.  This class is sold out, refer to the link provided below for information on future classes.

Your basic small foundry furnace set-up

Wooden "flasks", ready for pouring.  

A pattern for a sounding lead, being made up into a flask.

skimming off the dross. . .
The graphite crucible in the center glowing with molten bronze
That crucible is actually dark gray-black at room temperature.
Not currently at room temperature.

Breaking the part loose from the sand.
The metal is still so hot that the sand bursts into flames again when exposed to fresh oxygen
The used flasks--the charred parts are where the molten metal contacted the sand.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Windsong's New Rudder and Tiller

On a drizzly day in November 2012, Windsong was hauled out for a few phases of work which would result in a mid to late summer 2013 re-launch.  The spars were removed and lain aside for inspection and eventual touch-up varnishing in the warmer months. 

Andy had ideas for a new rudder design which would perform better and the haul-out provide an opportunity to inspect a few other things he was concerned about below the waterline.  He was looking for more responsive steering, more predictability backing (if possible), better flow around the propellor aperture and way to remove the rudder with out having to lift the boat. As the boat is over 50 years old, it became apparent that building a new rudder was the best way forward.

Naturally, as things progressed, it became evident that with a new rudder, also should come new gudgeons, pintles and tiller. So it goes.

Bending the bronze rudder post

Preparing to cast the bearings for gudgeon and pintles.

The old rudder head 
Rudder head salvaged from Lyle Hess's Boat

Freshly polished 
Old and new parts and pieces.

Plane and chisel make one side of the notch that fits in the groove fitting rudder together

Bronze rods tie the oak pieces together

rudder post and strapping
New Gudgeon
Bedding compound where the bronze rudder post straps set
Hung and balanced

Andy clamps the glued tiller to the mold

James carves the scroll on the tiller head

Fresh paint and ready for launch
The beautiful mahogany tiller makes the picture is complete.
So while the summer of 2013 was full of spectacular warm weather and windy evenings, boating thrills were delayed.  But with paintwork all ship-shape, new rudder, steering system and tiller in working order, Windsong provided her crew with some late summer, fall, and winter outings.