Sunday, December 3, 2023

Bahamas Boatbuilding

29 Nov 23:

While sorting through 288 back issues of WoodenBoat Magazine, the cover photo on NUMBER 135 March/April 1997 caught our eye.

Inside are articles on Bahamas Boatbuilding, which includes a story on Abaco dinghies that were built by Mr. Winer Malone. (Image Credits: WoodenBoat, Number 135. March/April 1997)

There are very few documented records of  boatbuilding in this beautiful part of the world. We'd like to thank the WoodenBoat crew for researching and publishing the article, Kurt Adams for writing and Benjamin Mendlowitz for taking the photos. But most of all, to Mr. Malone and for sharing his knowledge and skills, many, many times with boatstruck total strangers. 


WoodenBoat Magazine Digital and Print Issues $42.95/yr

All Back Issues - Digital. Individual Issues up to Complete Collection


22 Dec 20: 

Boatstruck. Author Michael Ruhlman spent some time at the boatyard of Gannon and Benjamin, learning about the craft of wooden boatbuilding. He offers up the definition of "boatstruck" in his book Wooden Boats: In Pursuit of the Perfect Craft at an American Boatyard.
"Some people become boat smart; others are simply struck. Something happens to certain men when they see a boat, and they become crazy. A man, or the occasional woman who is boatstruck shows no discernible outward signs of the illness....On the contrary, the boatstruck look more than reasonable. They are successful people. They are smart, cool, self-possessed, and they are pretty good on the water. They brim with a free and adventurous spirit. You tend to like these people - - they can be inexplicably magnetic.
And yet there is something exquisite about the condition of being boatstruck. An ecstasy runs through it, compulsive and contagious. You can see it, sense this delight, even if you happen to be free of this affliction yourself or don't sail or even if you don't particularly care for boats. Sometimes a beautiful boat is simply worthy of devotion, reverence and awe, and no one doubts it. A beautiful boat is as obviously invaluable as a Leonardo sketch or Monet's water lilies. The boat can be a magnificent structure." (p.11)
We know all about being boatstruck, and so do our friends Dozer, Murray, Webb, Richard, Alan, Scott, Doug, Steve, Ned, Maynard, Benjamin, Nat, Chris, Ann, Anne, Aileen...we've left out more than a few...

BARBASHELA struck us hard, especially Skipper.

...and now HENNING, among others... be continued...

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Grizzly Belt Sander

02 Dec 23:

This 1/2" x 18" Grizzly Belt Sander ought to come in handy in the nooks and crannies. The head is adjustable to different positions and there is a dust vac port on the other side.

Born To Be Wild

02 Dec 23:

Skipper tricked me into thinking I needed a new bike, turns out she got one also. We bought Momentum Vidas and are very happy with the smooth ride and easy shifting. I got a rack and saddlebags so we can raid our local grocery. 

Last ride for the Schwinn and Huffy. They're in good shape, and will probably roll up to our nearby D.A.V. store in time for Christmas.


WoodenBoat Magazine Collection at the Mariners' Museum

01 Dec 23:

We came across a sailor named William Benson who was looking for a new home for his collection of WoodenBoat magazines, which dated back to the first issue in 1974. He also happens to be a fine artist. We checked with the Mariners' Museum in Newport News, VA to see if they needed copies and found that they had gaps in their collection, so we arranged to have the collection shipped down to Virginia. Summer came and went and we finally got the magazines sorted. Here's the first 200 issues. 

And here's 60+ missing issues, starting around issue 219, delivered to the front desk at the Museum. The Museum staff was amazing, they coordinated transfer with the Library staff and the little tubs rolled off happily to their new home.

The magazines will be cataloged and added to nice binders that will protect them from damage. Part of the library collection is in deep storage, with plans underway to expand storage space. Much of the collection can be accessed with prior coordination with the Library staff. The spare issues will be archived in our library, so if you need info you can contact us or find all 50 years of digital copies at WoodenBoat.

Admission to this wonderful Museum is $1 USD, and a membership will help support future growth and expansion. Don't forget to check out the online catalog of archived items.

We are still looking for Issues 219-226, so if you have a lead, please drop me an email at lewis.kent at gmail, we'd be happy to pay shipping plus a few pesos to get them added to the collection. Or send them direct to the Museum.

Huzzah to the Benson family!

FMI: Mariners' Museum


02 Dec 23:

Our favorite maritime artist Charles Lundgren painted this scene with USS VIRGINIA for his for his Fighting Ships of the 50 States series. We found the cancelled letter on ebay and thought that we needed it. 

USS VIRGINIA had a short career with the Continental Navy, and ended up fighting on boths sides during the American Revolution, later as HMS VIRGINIA. 

Friday, December 1, 2023


 01 Dec 23:

From the Calendar of Wooden Boats...

We have our 2024 Calendar ready to go. Have you ordered yours yet?

Thursday, November 30, 2023

Alcort 14' Sailfish For Christmas

 09 Nov 23:

You did remember to order your Alcort 14' Sailfish for Christmas, didn't you? 

Monday, November 27, 2023

Messing About with Murray: Two Bows

27 Nov 23:

We hear amazing scuttlebutt from our friend Murray, he's been a few places during his family travels and manages to take a camera with him. Recently he asked if he'd told us about the "two bow" boats, and here is his story, led off with a note about "two transoms."

From Murray:

The Two Bow boats of the Grenadines, West Indies

Is Excusez-Moi a Two Transom? Is it easier to build a boat with two transoms? Or with two bows?

What did we do before plywood?

Were the Two Bows descended from whale boats seen on the whaling ships visiting the Grenadine

Islands for provisions and crew?

Were the British Royal Navy Whalers, used for training sailors, adopted from the American whale boats?

And why were whalers double enders (or “Two Bows”? Did the poor whales sometimes pull whale

boats backwards?,-no-monkey-and-iron-duke/

These 27 ft ketch rigged whalers were a common sight in Plymouth, UK, sailed and rowed by Navy

recruits and Sea Scouts after WWII.

I first saw the Two Bows in Grenada, West Indies in 1974. They were small fishing boats for one or two

people. What interested me was that they were using square sails, supported by two vertical spars

which were supported by the rowlock sockets, I think. Sail shape was adjusted by moving the masts into

different sockets along the gunwhale. Looked like they could sail on a beam wind or downwind. Not

sure they could sail to windward, though they did have deep garboard strakes for lateral resistance.

We thank Murray for sharing, and if you have a Sea Story to share, drop us a line at lewis.kent gmail

Clark and Skipper

Calendar Update

December 2023

Lowell's Boat Shop & Museum (Since 1793)
Amesbury, MA

Post your events in the Comments to add to the 2023-2024 CALENDAR

Friday, November 17, 2023

Bahamas Dinghy HENNING Mast Repair

17 Nov 23:

HENNING came with two masts, the original mast is split along a scarf line right around where the boom jaws would sit. There is also a bit of rot there, most likely from corrosion where an old fitting would have been, a downhaul cleat possibly. The wood appears to be fir, based on what we see, the weight and what was commonly used. The scarf shows no remnants of glue, it probably soaked into the wood and dried up decades ago. Whether there is a "There I Was" Sea Story to go along with the split, we don't know, but we'll make one up as the restoration progresses. 

Skipper's fleet of Gorilla Carts were called into action to act as mobile workstations, which meant I needed to air up some tires, which meant one tire's dry-rotted valve stem gave up the ghost, which meant I had to find the spare, which meant that the spare hub didn't fit the axle for some odd reason, which meant a spare needed to be ordered, which meant order two in case they are a little different size, which meant scratching my head as to why Gorilla Carts don't sell their own tires on their website, which meant crossing fingers to hope the ordered parts would fit...Spoiler Alert...The spare fit.

We used TotalBoat THIXO PRO thickened epoxy adhesive to reglue the mast. PRO refers to the larger two tube system of THIXO, industry pros who use a LOT of adhesive can save some money and time by buying THIXO in this configuration and using the special High Thrust caulk gun to dispense the thickened resin and hardener. Single tubes are available that fit regular size caulk guns, but if you go that route be sure to buy a High Thrust 25:1 ratio or similar gun vs the basic level 7:1 cheapo gun.

To get THIXO into the small crack at the end of the scarf, we squirt some THIXO into a small plastic syringe, sold by folks like TotalBoat or West System, and use the syringe to inject epoxy as far into the void as we can. Then we hope that light clamping pressure distributes the adhesive throughout the joint.  Only light clamping is needed, just enough to see "squeezeout" along the joint line, to ensure the joint is filled. And when clamping raw or dry wood, avoid the urge to wipe off excess, as the wood will soak some of that epoxy back into the joint. 

The split scarf was about two feet long, but we added a clamp every foot or so to hold the mast level along the forward face. We used all of our Jorgensen clamps, which are named for family and friends. Richard, Webb, Doug, Alan, Murray and Hazlewood are friends who are exceptional Mariners, as well as serial boatbuilders, serial circumnavigators and serial sea story tellers. Hazelwood was Capn Jack's friend, he helped Capn Jack build his first sailboat in the 1960s, a 16 foot Petrel. Skipper watched, fascinated by the thin shavings that curled off of Hazlewood's plane and the thin wisp of smoke from his cigarillo. Skipper was then pressed into service puttying all of the screw holes with her little fingers, peeling off a layer of skin or two in the process. Unfortunately the fingerprints grew back, spoiling her potential career as a bank robber. 

Dust Collection

 05 Nov 23:

Our setup for dust collection is a Dust Deputy cyclonic separator hooked to a ShopVac with a HEPA filter. Dust and debris collects in the Dust Deputy bucket, while the ShopVac bin stays very clean. 

The Vac and Dust Deputy are bolted together, and then we put them on a  Milwaukee furniture dolly for mobility around the shop.

Patent Swivel Oarlock

 01 Nov 23:

HENNING has some interesting patent swivel oarlocks. First ones we've seen in person. Well, half or the mechanism anyway. The oars and top part of the oarlocks are missing in action. We also learned the proper salty pronunciation for row-lock is "rollock." We like it.

The stern also has an rollock fitting, or maybe it's called a scullock.


Side Project - Shelf

17 Nov 23:

Today's side project was to knock together a display shelf. We used select pine and silicon bronze fasteners from our stock of boatbuilder's supply. The frames were cut using a pattern from the 1880s Mississippi River Skiff BARBASHELA's frames using a DeWALT 20V jigsaw. The we ripped the shelf and shelf cleat with the DeWALT portable table saw. 

Edges were eased with a 1/4 inch roundover bit on a DeWalt Compact Trim Router, and screw holes countersunk and piloted with Fuller bits. DeWALT 20V drills ran the bit and set the Frearson head screws. 

The shelf is off to the paint booth.