Header photo (detail) courtesy Michael Eudenbach

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Alexandria Seaport weighs in

"Lofting -- Boat designs are often shared (recorded, sold) as a Table of Offsets, a matrix of numbers on regular paper.  In lofting, the offsets (numbers) are used to draw full size lines on thin plywood showing the exact shapes of key features of the boat to be built.

 Molds -- They define and support the shape of the boat while it is built. Note that we are one of two (Gannon & Benjamin being the other) building upside down. We generally prefer this method and are accustomed to it.  The other way to build this boat is right-side-up using hanging molds.

 Spiling -- A temporary template is clamped in the location of the next plank and it is marked to show the exact shape needed for the next plank.  The marks on the template are transferred to the material for the next plank to accurately define the shape of that plank. 

Getting out a plank -- Nails are hammered into Maine cedar(bark still on it) for the next plank at the points transferred from the template.  A flexible wood batten is then held against the nails to draw a smooth line along the marked points.  This line shows where to cut the correct shape for the next plank. 

 Progress -- Preparing to install the 5th of 8 planks.

 Almost finished planking -- Only one more to go.

Steaming the Inwale -- The inwale is steamed and bent on the outside of the boat while the molds are still in place, in essence using the boat as a bending jig. After the frames are installed and the molds are removed, the shaped inwale will be installed inside the boat.

Steam Bending the Frames -- Steamed white oak is flexible while still hot, and clamping it to a purpose-built jig allows it to cool and take the shape of the frames.

 Installing frames – note that many of the molds have been removed to make room for the frames and the workers installing them – Rob is under the boat setting screws into the frame held in place by Larry and Anthony.

All photos and captions courtesy Alexandria Seaport Foundation

Jack Crawford at the Alexandria Seaport was kind enough to send me an update on the progress of their whaleboat build. One of the last groups to join the project, they are making fine progress. See for yourself. Here's what Jack has to say about their effort and organization, thanks, Jack:

"The Alexandria Seaport Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia, is building a whaleboat for the CHARLES W MORGAN in their boat building shop on the Potomac River in Old Town.  Through the building and use of traditional wooden boats ASF helps young people turn their lives around and provides families, community groups and schools with meaningful educational, social and recreational experiences. The opportunity to build this whaleboat to the original design is a natural fit for ASF.  The project is a joint effort between the ASF volunteers and apprentices.  Boat building is an integral component of the training for the ASF apprentice program, and the volunteers provide expertise, knowledge and mentoring for the apprentices.  
ASF looks forward to joining the other boats and the organizations building them to celebrate the building of this little fleet and, of course, the CHARLES W MORGAN. "

posted by Thomas Armstrong via Whaleboats for the CW Morgan, all rights reserved.

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