Friday, June 10, 2011
It's not always glamorous and exciting around here. But it's always rewarding.
Many of my friends are avid fishermen and women. This may not come as a surprise. The beautiful wood boats you see on these pages aren't very interesting to a work-a-day fisherman. The heritage is certainly there but about fifty years ago, fiberglass replaced wood as a favorite boat building material. Most of the time I prefer to pretend that didn't happen.
From time to time someone talks me into repairing their fishing boat made of fiberglass. If I'm lucky they will tip me with a fresh salmon or halibut.
Here in Oregon we developed a particular type of dory for running down river rapids in order to fish for salmon in the pools at the bottom of a stretch of white water. The McKenzie River Dory can be found in fiberglass, aluminum and wood. Each material has it's adherents who swear their boat is better than the other.
So, what you see here is the best river dory made. Of fiberglass.
The problem with fiberglass is it's vulnerability to ultraviolet light. This boat is forty years old and years of harsh weather had destroyed the finish and exposed the fibers imbedded in the resin. I spent the last week sanding down the rough fibers and paint (no fun at all), resealing the fiberglass with epoxy and giving the old girl new paint.
Keeping adequate footing while careening down boiling rapids is not easy, so we finished the inside bottom of the boat with pick-up truck bed liner. I hope it works as well as it looks.
Let's take a moment to make a comparison. This is what I would call a McKenzie River Dory. Isn't she a beauty? Refinishing a boat like this is a joy.
I'll leave you to decide.
By the way, this wood drift boat is also forty years old, which refutes the claim that fiberglass lasts longer and requires less maintenance.
On the way home on Thursday and Friday I stopped off at the Boathouse to see what was going on. There in the back is a skin on frame kayak. This is a new building process to me (and everyone else) so it's been very educational.
In the foreground is a strong-back for a new mold. Rick and I are building a Gloucester Light Dory. Just to the left of the ladder frame you can see the lofting board and outside the photo are the hull panels laid out on the floor waiting to be cut.
Next week we expect a flood of kids now that school is out. We have a lot more projects planned.
From left to right: Jim Reim, John Kohnen and Andrew Linn.
Charlie is sitting down and not feeling too perky. He is the lucky recipient of a new knee.
The 11th Annual Wooden Boat Festival on the Snake River