I traveled to the U.P. (that’s what we Michiganders call the Upper Peninsula) on June 7th to attend the graduation ceremony and participate in the yearly on site PAC (Project Advisory Committee) meeting which I currently sit on. I arrived on a beautiful sunny day with temperatures in the mid 70s, a stark contrast from my last trip to the school in mid-April when I awoke to 4” of new snow and 3°F! For those of you who live in the southwest where the temperature has been hot for some time, by contrast, the great lakes finally became 100% ice free the beginning of June. Continue reading →
On November 27, 2006, ground was broken on a perfect waterfront site overlooking the Les Cheneaux islands in Cedarville, Michigan in a ceremony that marked the end of a two-year fundraising effort and the beginning of The Great Lakes Boatbuilding School.
The Les Cheneaux islands are a group of 36 small islands, some inhabited during the summer months, along a 12-mile stretch of the southeastern shoreline on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan about 30 miles northeast of the Straits of Mackinac. Les Cheneaux is French for “the Channels” which describe the extensive system of Continue reading →
After attending the 2012 Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, I visited the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock, Washington. School instructor Bruce Blatchley was excited to show off their one-of-a-kind boat project, Sliver. The 62-foot double-ended daysailer was designed by well-known yacht designer Robert Perry and commissioned by Kim Bottles of Bainbridge Island, Washington. The Northwest School students of the 2011 and 2012 contemporary boatbuilding classes worked on the project. For a school that teaches traditional wooden boat building, learning to build a hybrid of wood/composite construction using epoxy was a unique challenge. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: Greg Hatten battles white water on a trip trough the Grand Canyon in his replica dory, PORTOLA.
On March 21, 2012, river runners from five western states, Canada, Japan and Chile launched five homemade boats, replicas of important historical designs, in an attempt to complete a 24-day self-guided traverse of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. The replica boats represented a snapshot of river running in Grand Canyon during the 1950s and 1960s, just before Glen Canyon Dam took control of the Colorado River through Grand Canyon. Continue reading →
When I told my brother that I was going to build a boat he asked me, “Why?” I didn’t discover the answer until after the project was completed.
I work in the Operations Department at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. and have been here 12 years making WEST SYSTEM® products: epoxy resin, hardeners, fillers, packaging fiberglass etc. But I’d really never used it on a big project. The company has always been involved in boats and boatbuilding, so I figured a boat project of my own would provide me with some ‘how to’ epoxy experience.
I could envision my two young daughters rowing a boat their dad built, but I had to convince my wife. I like to fish and so do my girls, so a good fishing skiff couldn’t hurt. “Think of all the fish fries,” I told my skeptical wife. Continue reading →
This article is Lesson 3 of a series. See bottom of page for links to additional articles in this series.—Ed.
Designing and building a successful skeg for Sparks (our 30′ hybrid electric launch featured in Epoxyworks 32) took some head scratching. But in the end, it was just another combination of wood and WEST SYSTEM® epoxy. Our skeg needed to be functional and age gracefully, yet be reasonably quick and easy to build and install. This project was an ideal opportunity to explore the limits as well as the advantages of combining wood with epoxy to engineer simple solutions to complex problems. Continue reading →
This article is Lesson 2 of a series. See bottom of page for links to additional articles in this series.—Ed.
With our strip-planked hull faired and the outside stem attached, there are many techniques that could turn these strips into a boat.
Strip-planking may have been the first step after the dugout in the evolution of boatbuilding techniques; the way the quality of wood is going, it might be the last to survive. At the La Routa Maya canoe race in Belize, SA., we saw a natural progression from chopping canoes out of logs to strip-plank construction with WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy. Continue reading →
This shortened version of a Grand Laker canoe is very popular on the big lakes in Maine. It was built by architect Victor Trodella of Yarmouth. It is 16′ 6″ long, 42″ at the beam, and is equipped with a 2 hp Honda outboard, oars and oarlocks, and of course, paddles. Trodella says, “WEST SYSTEM gave me fabulous results… again. Thanks for your advice.” Continue reading →
Cover Photo: Ted Moores ties up SPARKS at the blue line at Kilmarnock Lock n the Rideau Canal.
After three years of painstaking work and many interruptions, Ted Moores of Bear Mountain Boats completed the Bear Mountain 30 Hybrid Electric Launch Sparks on June 22, 2010. The boat is unlike any he had built before.
The Bear Mountain 30 Hybrid Electric Launch is designed for low-speed cruising while using the least amount of fossil fuel possible. It normally runs on batteries charged by solar panels and shore power. When necessary, a diesel generator powers its electric motor and charges its batteries.Continue reading →
This article is Lesson 1 of a series. See bottom of page for links to additional articles in this series.—Ed.
Sparks is a science project. A professional builder working for a client has the responsibility of delivering the boat on time and budget with no surprises so we generally stick to what worked last time. But as a science project, questioning the way things are usually done, pushing the limits of the materials and then taking the responsibility becomes the objective. Because failure is anticipated with any experiment, testing is an important part of the project and has been a whole lot of fun with few surprises, mostly pleasant.