We welcome guests to the Apprenticeshop to visit with apprentices and interns and to observe boats in progress on the Shop floor.
Stop by any time of the year, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. If you can’t make it up to Maine to pay us a visit, we’ve created this section of the website to post updates on boat projects and to announce boat launches. Check in on us often to see how things are going.
Current Boat Building Projects and Launches
at The Apprenticeshop: Spring/Summer 2013
Whaleboat for CW Morgan: A Contribution to a National Preservation Effort
|Morgan under sail|
In 2012, The Apprenticeshop was invited to participate in the restoration of the Charles W. Morgan, the world’s only existing wooden whaleship which resides at Mystic Seaport, the renowned maritime museum in Connecticut. We were asked to build a whaleboat, one of the seven 30-foot boats that accompanied a whaleship on her years-long hunting expedition.
Whaleboats were stored onboard until a whale was sighted. They were then lowered into the sea and sent in pursuit of the whale. Each boat was operated by one of the ship’s officers and five oarsmen. Traditional whaleboats were beautiful craft adapted for a brutal purpose. Light and strong, these double-ended boats were packed with whale hunting gear. The Morgan carried five whaleboats hanging in davits, with two more in reserve on deck. About 1,200 feet of whale line were coiled in two tubs, then run around a loggerhead at the stern and forward over the oars to connect to the harpoons at the bow. Over her 80 year career, the Morgan carried whaleboats from yards around the world. The Apprenticeshop will replicate the Leonard Boatshop’s design, probably the most obscure of the Morgan’s hunting fleet.
The very last of the wooden whaleships in existence of some 2,700 that were built between 1700-1900, the Morgan is undergoing a massive restoration that began in 2008. The 106-foot bark will re-launch in July of 2013. Mystic’s ambitious project then sets the Morgan on her “38th Voyage,” sailing from her homeport up the coast to Stellwagan Bank off Cape Cod. With an Apprenticeshop-built boat on her deck, the voyage will culminate a national preservation effort and place the Morgan in the forefront of maritime education.
Apprentices Daniel Kreisher, Kirk Folk, Simon Jack, Tim Jacobus and Chris Konecky completed the lofting phase of the whaleboat with help from the plans on loan from MIT’s Hart Nautical Collection. Tim Jacobus, Kirk Folk and Chris Konecky, apprentices who are currently working on the whaleboat, will see the project through to it’s completion with an anticipated local launch in Rockland on June 14, 2013. The whaleboat’s second launch, aboard the Morgan, is scheduled for July, 2014 and will likely claim national attention.
Photos by Tim Jacobus and John Snyder/MarineMedia
The Herreshoff Columbia Dinghy ProjectApprentices on project: Simon Jack and Rachel Davis Anticipated completion date: June 14, 2013 Blog posts and photos: Rachel Davis
Post 21: June 7, 2013
We pitter pattered our way through layers of varnish and paint, sanding and tack cloths, still however the invasive dust and pollen and particles found their way onto our shiny coats, carried by wind, and footsteps, falling off of our clothing and contaminating brushes. It’s a losing battle, fighting the quiet stealthy elements, and our frustrations only end in more sanding and another try. With local genius around, we were able to call in a friend who is an enthusiastic expert in the art of finish work. He very thoroughly described to us techniques and dangers, with expressive hands and great excitement. It is wonderful to learn from someone who has such joy and knowledge in such a specialized subject. The dangers of ‘holidays’–where the varnish is absent–and ‘curtaining’–where the varnish begins to drip or sag–were addressed, as were proper tack cloth usage, the effect of weather, and how to push the limits to get good results. We were advised to have a set of artist brushes on hand and bought the larger brushes he recommended. So we will give it another try this Friday afternoon.
We set the boat in water earlier this week to get a water line: it was a miniature ‘Moment’, to see her bounce there at the shore line, oh how little, three of us stooped, one hand on the sheer the other with a point sharp pencil to draw a mark here and there where her bottom was wetted. Ankle deep in water, we all let go, and there she was, afloat in the grey, splashing water, bucking gently, the stones and shells peering up through the foam and waves, and the curve of the shore line cupping around us, flotsome, tangles of seaweed, dandelions yellow among the grass and weeds, all straining toward the boat, all carrying her in delight and admiration.
Simon finished the oarlocks and pad, beautiful delicate mahogany pieces. I started on oars. We made a trip to get spruce. Paul Bunion was there, flinging 6x10x16 planks around like toothpicks, helping us find a clear one or two. His neck as big around as a schooner mast and carhartts to match. I used the plans to find dimensions for the oars, marked a center line and drew on the pattern. I will glue up today and hopefully be able to get them shaped by Tuesday.
We also oiled the inside. The lovely smells of boat soup, filling the workshop. The cedar planks turned golden, the oak, rounded out in hearty browns. Plank by plank, we worked down between the frames and colored the boat inside. My floorboards are set to go in now. All the pieces of completion are coming together, ready for launch in a week.
White Lady Cabin Launch RestorationApprentices on project: Daniel Creisher and Bridget Jividen Anticipated completion date: Fall, 2013 Post and photos: Kevin Carney & apprentices
White Lady, a 26 foot-long cabin launch arrived at The Apprenticeshop this winter for a complete restoration. It was built, at least partially by Norman Hodgdon, a well known builder in the Boothbay area. We were told it was the last boat he worked on before passing away. It was built of mahogany and oak in 1967. It has spent it’s whole life on the Damariscotta River in the Newcastle area.
When the boat was first brought in we took the lines off the hull ( which means we took measurements at certain points so that we could create a drawing of the shape) and began dismantling parts that would be replaced. Her windshield, house, deck, sole and ceiling have all been removed. Her engine, fuel system, head and electrical system are all out. We are now in the process of reframing the boat. We are replacing the busted steam bent frames with laminated ones as these are stronger and should not break as the originals did. (February 8, 2013)