We are now one week into the winter trimester. Things have started to settle down and I feel a little less scattered. The skins boats have their gunwales and breast-hooks together, and we are milling the stringers. The shops band-saw ‘went south’ just when we need it, but when the new one is up and running, we will cut out the knees and stems and rip the cedar rib stock.

A finished Chester Yawl

On the kit side, we are gluing the scarfs for the panels/strakes of the boats and the shears and rubs so we have all our full-length pieces before we start stitching things together. These photos are from the Chesapeake Light Craft website. (I assume they won't mind me using them, as I'm giving them free advertising).

This is the Chester Yawl being stitched together.

Sassafras pair


The new Boat Building year begins...

Kits from Chesapeake Light Craft .
We'll also be building six skin-on-frame canoes. Whew!

Sea Kayak

Sassafras (looks like the skin-on-frame boats, yes?)

Chester Yawl


Today was so beautiful; I took a trip down the Housatonic, from Ashley Falls at Rannapo Road, to the dam and Great Falls in Falls Village. Left the car at the falls, and Amy dropped me off at the start of my run. The river was moving pretty fast, and I did nearly nine miles in one hour and forty minutes.

Just after I put into the water I spotted a Great Blue Heron. He stood on the far bank as I paddled by. The big excitement of the run was the old, failed dam in Canaan (I believe it is called the Hefter Dam). I’d been through this before in a kayak, but never in my skin-on-frame boat. Today there was a two foot tall standing wave that tossed the bow pretty high. I got through upright, but took on 3 inches of water, so I pulled over to the bank to empty out.

The rest of the trip was beautiful but uneventful. The water going over the falls was pretty spectacular.



Well, we tried. We waited for the rain to stop on Wednesday, and by the time we got on the water it was late. We paddled for a half hour, and realized that at our pace, we would not make the island campground until late, so we returned to Old Forge and extended our hotel stay.

On Thursday morning we put in further down the chain and spent some time paddling around 4th lake, including the narrow passage (above) into 3rd lake. Then back to Old Forge and the water park.

Friday we spent some time at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. They have lots of boats here, from Wee Lassies (by Henry Rushton) the ancestor of our skin-on-frame canoes, to Adirondack Guide Boats, one of which was being built in the shop on the premises.

When I was a kid, I thought the guideboat was just a canoe with oars, but it is so much more. In this photo, despite the no-flash limitations at the museum, you can see the dramatic shear of the gunwale, the flare of the sides and the pivoting yoke that allows the boat to be portaged easily. What you can't see is the precise fitting and many nails that make the boat sturdy, yet light.

Here is a link to Cape Falcon Kayaks with steps in building a skin-on-frame guideboat.
Below: a canoe rigged for sail, and a metal, bolt-together boat made to be transported in a car.


Off to the Adirondacks

Heading out to do the first four lakes of the Fulton Chain, the start of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.


Guilder Pond

For my birthday, my wife gave me a book entitled Water Trails of Western Massachusetts, by Charles W.G. Smith and published by Appalachian Mountain Club Books.

In it is described this modest trip to Guilder Pond on the shoulder of Mt Everett in Mt Washington, Massachusetts. I had visited here many times as a boy, but had not been back for ages. It is a beautiful spot. I was also lucky enough to be joined by the fellow below, though I had to be stealthy to get anywhere near him.


August Paddling

Haven't been out much this summer, but today I did a section of the Housatonic, from the old covered bridge in Sheffield north to the Green River and back . Had to work for it, against a strong current in places, but the return trip was speedy. Seven plus miles round trip. Saw one snow white egret and a Great Blue Heron.

Slide show in left column.



The tally for this year is four skin-on-frame canoes, one Oxford shell and two Grain surfboards. The surfboards were a new addition to our repertoire, and were challenging, as described in the previous season's posts. The canoes were a bit different this year, making use of an 'acid dye' and 2-part polyurethane from the Skin Boat School in Anacortes, WA. The consensus is that we like the new look, and I'm sure the skin will be more durable than our previous water-based coating.


Glassing of the first surfboard - laminate coat and 'hot coat' done on the top. Now we have to turn it over and do the underside.


This is the cover photo from Woodenboat #191 (July/August 2006). The article is about camp-cruising in the Sea of Cortez, Baja California, but also about this cool skin-on-frame sailboat, which is very much like the boats we build. See also http://www.capefalconkayak.com/



Dan Biega is attaching the cockpit combing on his shell. Then we will begin installing the Pantidosi Rowing wing.

Here is a close-up of the blocking for the surfboard leash cup and the vent plug. These boards being hollow, and tightly constructed, need a vent to accommodate pressure changes due to the weather.

Below we see Derek's board beginning to take its final shape. Once this is done, the entire board gets fibreglassed.


Surfboards moving along

Jon Guay is catching up, by doing more than one row of strips per day. Meanwhile, Derek Sweet is adding blocking for the fin box(2), leash, vent plug(3) and along the frames(1) to increase gluing surface.

Instant Boat

Faculty member Ken Stone made use of the boat room over the spring break to nearly complete this small rowboat.