In Which I Gain a Transom.
No silly, I haven’t been in Brooklyn all this time. I’m a little behind that’s all. No excuses, I’d just like to take you right back to August and the Wooden Boat School where I left off. It was Tuesday morning and we all installed our transoms. A pretty and practical transom it is: sturdy enough to handle a small outboard engine and it also has handles for handling – eureka! 💡 I never noticed the relationship between hand and handle and handling before . Did you know that hand is to handle as thumb is to thimble? But I digress. I was building a boat. In Maine. With a bunch of other people building the same kind of boat. Actually it more like assembling a boat in many ways but I’ll get into that on another day.
We also added the breasthook. When I say we, I often mean it took several of us to the task. This was one of the benefits of being at the school; many of the tasks took a second, third and even fourth set of qualified hands. In this case they demonstrated on my hull so I got to take pictures. By the way, I am usually pretty conscientious and ask people if they mind me using their photo in my Blog but I neglected to do so at the course. Blame it on all the glue. So sorry folks, if you don’t want your likeness out there in the wide world please email me at the address below and I will take down the photo. Back to the boat…
The flipping of the boats was an adventure in itself, especially given that at this point they were still hairy with sharp wires. The hulls were much sturdier than they look because all of the planks are temporarily spot-glued with cyanoacrylate (pretty much Crazy Glue – crazy, eh?) so there were no traumatic incidents, at least not in our room. Once the boats were flipped we had to crawl in under and snip all of the copper wires wires where they went through the holes. This was not fun. Squatting on a low stool with the neck bent beyond the normal range to look up and find little nubs of wire, all in an enclosed space which still gassed off glue did not do me any good. In fact I got seasick. Yup. There is probably another name for it like vertigo or something yet it is exactly the same feeling as seasickness except worse because you don’t have the promise of being cured once you hit dry land. You are already on dry land. Did I say it wasn’t fun? I did recover with time and was well enough pull the wires. So many wires. Here’s a close up of the wires. Once snipped from behind you just grabbed the twist with a pair of pliers and pulled. I should back track a little here. These were all twisted by hand and it was a real pain if one snapped because you had to replace it. I came to notice that every time someone said the word “break” out loud I broke a wire. Not sure if it was the jinx or just a case of me doing exactly what I was told but I had to threaten all my fellow boat-builders to get them to stop using that particular word.
That was the way with this boat, almost a two steps forward then one step back approach. Install the wires. Take the wires out. Install the seats, take the seats out. And on it went, usually until well into the evening. There was scarce little down-time. By dark we were all sweaty and tired and ready to be fed. This is where The Wooden Boat School excelled: in feeding us. And the nice part was no one cared if you came to the trough in your work clothes. Every meal was excellent. Not overly complex, just good solid fare and great desserts. The root beer float was a memorable treat and the blueberry pie was so good I had two pieces. But the dining room wasn’t jsut a place for eating; it was a place to share the joys and woes of your day, to hear of the adventures of the people in other classes like sailing or fundamentals of boat building, and to always have a few laughs. And best of all, no one talked politics. All ages and professions shared in the camaraderie which I think makes the Wooden Boat School the special place it is. No they didn’t pay me to say that.
This is probably all a little boring for you non-boating readers. I’ll post a few turtle pictures tomorrow.
© Judy Parsons 2018
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