Our first week without our leader! Good thing he trained us well. Gary’s off to London this week to speak at a surveying conference. Apparently he really knows what he’s talking about!
Nicholas has been swinging between projects this week. For the Int-12, he milled wood for the new stem, soaked it overnight, and clamped into place to pre-bend it before fitting into place.
He came in this weekend to add another coat of varnish to the Grand Craft. He also began the process of tank installation.
Nicholas has been working on a design for the deck construction for the Continental. He’s been spending some time looking at old photos and reworking them with the new design.
The majority of his time this week has been with the Celebrity. He varnished and mostly installed the combings, refitted the interior shelves, and did significant bilge work including caulking, sanding, and painting. He also started dry-fitting the floorboards.
For the Lyman, he spent some time going through our massive wood inventory and carefully selecting pieces to mill for new wooden parts.
Jack has been dedicated to the Ski Boat. He installed the ski platform lights, moved it onto the new trailer, and aligned the engine. He also leveled the floorboards, which involves planing, painting, and reinstalling the supports underneath.
I filled in for Gary at the office and worked on varnishing and painting some pieces for the 18 Sea Skiff. I really love that Electric Sapphire Blue!
Our in-house sculpture has been busily sculpting away at his Billy Graham statue. Check out Jim Barnhill’s beautiful work when you get a chance!
I hope the Double Ender and the Barrel Back will get to swim this weekend! We miss those beauties in the shop already.
This week has just flown by, so in that spirit I'll keep this update brief! Anyone else have a short week? Must be the cooler weather following last week's heat wave.
This week we've started sanding pieces (windshield, seats, etc) for the 18' Sea Skiff. We've also finished wet sanding and buffing the deck and started refitting the ceiling boards. We've also reattached ceiling boards to the Grand Craft, installed hardware, and aligned the engine. Nicholas and Gary dropped off the Double Ender in Roaring Gap and picked up a beautiful new project, which I will refer to as Caroline. We also attached the fin to the keel of the Ski Boat, bedded the platforms to the brackets, and oiled the swim platform. The Barrel Back has had a nice bath, finishing touches, and a freshly washed canvas cover.
At Lowell Boats we take great care ensure quality and to avoid waste of time and resources. Plank removal is a slow and arduous process, but saving a plank and keeping it in good condition is significant. It saves us from needing to purchase a brand new plank, which would need to be milled, measured at every nail, cut to exact shape, steam bent, and dry-fit, costing immense time and expense. Sometimes a board is too rotted to save, but when it's good, solid condition, we use this process to slowly and carefully remove it, so it can simply be replaced later.
And the Barrel Back is off! We sure are going to miss having this beauty in the shop, but it’s time for it to soak up the sun! We ran two sea trials this week following a successful engine start-up and a few adjustments here and there to ensure perfection. In preparation for the sea trial, Jack worked to get it onto the trailer, installed the prop, aligned the engine, and installed the floorboards and interior.
Nicholas finished making the tiller for the Celebrity and flipped the Lyman to begin working on its bottom. He’s started removing the garboard and skeg to see which boards can be saved and what may need to be replaced, just like he did with the Int-12. Stay tuned for a short video in which he demonstrates and explains his painstaking board removal process.
Gary has been preparing the lead ballast for the Double Ender and working on the details and preparations for the completion of the Ski Boat and the Barrel Back.
Isaiah has been stuck in the varnishing room all week, but I got this great shot of him selecting a clamp.
I have been mostly in the office this week, but also got around to dry-fitting the custom swim platform for the Ski Boat and sanding it smooth in preparation for a good oiling. The brackets have also been dry-fit and should be ready for final installation as soon as we reinforce their supports.
Things are heating up!
We've got three boats headed for the door little by little. So this has been a week of finalizing this and that and getting things into place.
Gary has been working on every boat in the shop. He worked with Jack on wiring and final fit on the Barrel Back and the Ski Boat. He milled wood for the Int-12 and for the swim platform for the Ski Boat. He also spent some time upgrading the engine of the 18' Sea Skiff to 12 volts.
Jim Grant came to see us all the way from Georgia! He helped fix the engine for the Ski Boat. Check him out on Facebook.
Nicholas has been putting the frames for the Int-12 and the Lyman in their final position, ready for permanent installation. He's also had to remove the garboards and stem of the Int-12 and has begun work on fixing and/or replacing them. Check out his extremely detailed notes on the boards in the image below! He also added another nice coat of varnish to the Grand Craft.
Jack mounted the bed log in the Ski Boat and finalized the wiring in the Barrel Back. He also started reassembling the interior of the Barrel Back, such as the seat boxes and supports.
Isaiah continued varnishing pieces for the Lyman and the Celebrity. He also did some detail work for the Ski Boat and painted the back board.
I had my busiest week so far in the shop. I helped build the swim platform for the Ski Boat with Gary. I polished ends and bits for nearly every boat. I fitted the transom holes for fuel pipes and exhaust for various boats. I completed the detail work and insulation for the engine box for the 26’ Sea Skiff. And I polished and assembled the doors for the engine cabin of the Barrel Back.
This week we say goodbye to our intern Pierce as he completes his internship and prepares for graduation. We wish you the best at Clemson and hope you come by to visit sometime! Make sure you bring enough Goldfish for everybody though.
I hope everyone enjoyed the images and videos from last week to make up for the lack of an official "weekly update." We are back to our regular groove today. Last Friday, we took the morning to test the Square Stern and the Double Ender for seaworthiness. The rain held off and the Square Stern rowed and the Double Ender drove itself about successfully. I even got to bring my three-year-old aboard what she referred to as "the Moana boat."
As for the shop boats, Gary has been preparing the Ski Boat and the Barrel Back for engine testing and gathering all the necessary chrome parts. He has also been designing the teak swim platform for the Ski Boat. Jack's also been working on the Barrel Back like mad this week. He reinstalled the cockpit lining upholstery, painted a final coat of red on the bottom, installed the tail pipes, dry fit the spray rails, rub rails, and cutwater, and finished mounting the deck hardware. It's looking good!
Nicholas dry-fit the combings on the Celebrity and finished fixing the bulkheads. He also has been leading the steam bending process for the ribs of the Lyman and the Int-12 and has gotten each one bent and in place.
Isaiah has been ceaselessly sanding and varnishing all the non-attached parts of the Celebrity and the Lyman. They are just about ready to be put back in place! He's also sanded and painted the 26' Sea Skiff twice since we've last seen it.
I have been working on repairing a pipe and restoring the steering wheel for the Ski Boat. I've also been soundproofing the engine box for the 26' Sea Skiff and adding another coat of line paint and bottom paint to the Grand Craft.
And our intern has been busy! Aside from not drinking coffee, he's been varnishing and fastening and sanding and painting.
Last week we spent a lot of time on the Ski Boat, but didn't get a chance to blog about it (so did it even happen?) Here's some proof!
Have a great weekend everyone! Take your boat out!
We love a successful sea trial! Here's Gary and the crew testing the ins and outs of the beautiful restored 1933 Electric Double Ender. Enjoy!
The crew just got back from a team-building trip to Oriental, NC. We had a blast! Known as the sailing capital of North Carolina, Oriental boasts a population of 900 residents and nearly 3000 boats. During our weekend stay at the Oriental Inn & Marina (highly recommend!), we meandered through the town-wide yard sale, we explored local shops such as Inland Waterway Provision Company, we dined along the water at O'Town Restaurant, we enjoyed harbor-view Columbian roast at The Bean, and we enjoyed fresh shrimp off the boat in the comfort of our rooms. Gary was also kind enough to take his young crew out into the (nearly) open seas on his Islander sailboat, "Lark." It was (believe it or not) our first time sailing the fair seas, and we did a fine job of enjoying it. We also got to see and board a beautiful teak wood vessel that belongs to a friend, who is sailing and restoring it.
And here's the whole crew (minus Isaiah we missed you)!