ballast pour

After months of hard work we finally poured the ballast! This marks a major turning point in the whole project because we can now move on to building our frames! We poured on the 23rd, and we have to let it sit for at least two weeks before we can stand it back up right. We have started the process for building our frames which we were really hoping to knock out while we waited for the keel to cure. Unfortunately the wood for the frames wont be ready for at least 3 or 4 more days so we will be delayed a bit. No big deal though, whats another few days I suppose… Anyway back to the subject at hand! The ballast pour went fine as frogs hair. We had some friends show up just in time, and they were a huge help. We hired a local cement company to bring a truck up which was totally worth it. It was inexpensive, on time, and the driver was really laid back. If anyone in the columbia river gorge needs some cement poured I recommend rapid ready mix in Bingen WA. We ended up with just the right amount of scrap iron, and the whole process took less than two hours!

DSCN5029 DSCN5031 Bolts driven through. Me and DJ building the ballast mold.

DSCN5039 DSCN5044 All the scrap iron about to be treated with ospho.

DSCN5045DSCN5054 Coating the rebar, and dry fitting scrap before the pour.

DSCN5057Here it comes!

DSCN5062Final touches.

DSCN5063 DSCN5066 A bit of a tight fit!

DSCN5071 He poured a little out at first to check the consistency. We added a bit more water…

DSCN5075 DSCN5078 All scrap, and second layer of rebar in.

DSCN5087 Smoothin things up.

DSCN5094 Pretty stoked!

DSCN5096 DSCN5100 For hydrodynamics…

DSCN5114 DSCN5116 DSCN5119 That is a damn stout keel!

keel flip part 2

We finally did it! And we didn’t even break anything! The tripod worked swimmingly. We had total control of the keel, and were able to inch it down nice and slow. The whole setup is way overkill for the keel right now, but we are planing to use it to flip the keel back up after adding 6 or 7  thousand pounds to it. Hopefully that go as well as this did!

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Today I got the deadwood spiked to the bottom of the keel, and started building the mould for the ballast. We are just waiting to get our keel bolts from the machine shop. Then we will be able to get cement and pour the ballast. After the ballast is poured it will need a couple weeks to cure before we can flip the keel back upright. We’re hoping to get all our black locust from the kiln soon. That way we can start building all the frames while we wait for the ballast to cure.Then once we flip the keel up we can just start standing frames up. It will be such a incredible moral booster to see the boat start to take shape. Her massive skeleton coming together  for me is more than just exciting. It also represent at least some small preservation of a forgotten past, and a dying art. Wooden boats, and their history have become obsolete beside their modern counterparts. Other than a dwindling number of crusty old salts, and a few die hard wooden boat fanatics there isn’t much keeping them around. Yes they do take more work to keep them going, but in my opinion what you get back from that can never be equaled by a modern plastic boat. I could rant on for hours on this subject, but to save the readers from having to wipe away the boredom induced drool from their chin I will move on.

Back to work I suppose. Wish us luck that the cradle doesn’t collapse under the weight of the ballast…. That would be bad…

keel flip!

Alright, we have made the bolts, drilled the holes, got all our scrap iron, and materials to build the mold… It’s time to flip this damn thing over already! DJ and I devised a plan that is certain to most likely work. Most of the weight is in the back section of the keel where all the timbers are stacked up. That is also the tallest part where we can get the most leverage. We decided to build a big tripod from a few little pines, then use a come along from the side to start the flip, and a come along above to control the flip. Also we made a little A frame at the front of the keel to make sure it doesn’t start to spin

.DSCN4949  DSCN4951 Getting things into position. All four of us lifted the A frame into place. Then tied it up temporarily. next we all lifted the third log to complete the tripod.

DSCN4953 Who trusted DJ with the knots…

DSCN4957 Scientific method for determining structural integrity.

Hmmm i think we need more science…

DSCN4967 Thats better. Seems sturdy…

DSCN4955 Wait I don’t think this is very safe!

DSCN4968 it seems a little bit smaller on this end… I blame DJ.

DSCN4970 Setup complete time to drink a beer, and flip the keel in the morning!

more woodland shenanigans

Here are some more pictures of the mast acquiring expedition!

WP_20150710_004 From tree, to snatch block, to truck.

WP_20150710_005 Ruth behind the wheel!

WP_20150710_010 Me….. Supervising……

0710151306 Once we got it to the trail we just tied it right up to the truck and dragged it along. I felt as though a little tree surfing was necessary!

0710151409b Always keep it classy… Who needs a trailer when you have some sticks to throw under to keep from scraping everything up.

DSCN4932 yup…

DSCN4933 - Version 2 And cheesy group photo time!

DSCN4941  Perfectly straightish!

DSCN4944  A job well done now to celebrate!

All in all the whole thing went really well. It was two days of Hard work, but a fun experience to share with our friends. From complex problem solving, to inappropriate jokes about each others ”wood” we got it done, and had a great time doing it! Now onward to the keel flip!

drinking beer and felling trees!

Not many things go together better than drinking beer, and felling a tree with an axe! We have had a couple good friends hangin out with us for the last week or so. When we manage to stop sitting around drinking beer we have been able to make some real progress. Most importantly cutting down our main mast!!! It all started when my buddy DJ and I decided to take a drunken romp around the woods in “search” of a mast… Surprisingly we actually found one! A sweet tall narrow white fir. I would prefer to use douglas fir, but we were not able to find one of good enough quality to make a spar. When hunting for a spar you are looking for a tree that is strait obviously, but there’s more to it. You want to look for thick woods where the trees can’t grow in diameter, so they grow in height. They will grow tall, strait, and clear in search of the sun. This will also give you a tree with really tight grain. These are the reasons we went with this white fir rather than a lesser quality doug. We started off very carefully surveying the situation.


Once satisfied with our calculations we forged ahead!

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Once down we started limbing everything.


Now all we have to do is figure out how the hell were gonna get this thing out of the woods…..

We started off with a combination of come alongs, leverage, and brute strength to move it closer to the truck.


We were able to bush whack the truck to within a couple hundred feet, so we grabbed one of our 200ft anchor lines, and tied a big snatch block to a tree to control the pulling angle.


We managed to drag the thing out of the woods, but only with the proper application of beer, redneck ingenuity, and rebel calls…

More pictures of this endeavor to come when we figure out how to get them off of Ruth’s phone!

build update

We haven’t posted for quite some time so I figured it was time for an update. We were away for a week or so, but we have been making some progress.

We got the keel all glued up and poisoned (thats what the green stuff is).


Next we did a little trimming and fine tuning. Then tacked on the patterns and marked the stations, rabbet, and bolt placement.

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surprisingly everything lined up sorta like it’s supposed to!


Once we finished that up we took a trip out to Tacoma to pick up our keel bolt material.

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We had a bunch of 20ft steel rod sent out to be hot dip galvanized. We will cut them to size and thread them on each end to make the giant bolts that hold the ballast to our keel.

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We will have to wait for the machine shop to thread the rod, but we should be able to get everything else lined up for the ballast pour in the mean time.