January 10, 2007

Champlain Longboats
Notes From the Boatshop

Boatshop Vocab

Garboard - The first plank in a boat adjacent to the keel
Clench nail - A cut nail used in boat building to join two pieces of wood. The nail is driven through both pieces into a backing iron that turns the nail in on itself thereby clenching the wood together.
Scarf joint - A diagonal joint used to join two pieces together. In the gig we are building there are scarf joints in the planking, gunwales, keel and floorboards.

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Students measure the width fo determine board footage.

January 10, 2008
Nick Patch

It is our hope that you will find the News from the Boat Shop compelling reading. We plan to send out an ongoing photo and written journal of this exciting project until the boat is completed and launched in mid-May. Please let us know what you think of the News and certainly let us know if you do not want to receive it.

We have just started to build our newest rowing gig for the Champlain Longboats program at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum boat shop. Eight students from the Diversified Occupations program at the Hannaford Career Center in Middlebury, Vermont began their five month project on January 2nd. The Diversified Occupation Program is a regional special education program that serves students with special academic, vocational and behavioral needs. They will be coming to the boat shop four days a week from 9:30 until 1:30 until the boat is launched in mid-May.

The boat we are building this year is a four-oared 25' Whitehall style rowing gig designed by Mike McEvoy. This is an expanded version of the traditional New York Whitehall built in the 1800s to carry passengers and gear to ships anchored in New York harbor. LCMM owns one other four-oared gig of this type as well as seven, six-oared pilot gigs. They all get used in our extensive Champlain longboats rowing program.

The boat will be built of locally harvested white oak and white pine with a garboard plank made of marine plywood. Planks will be clench-nailed at the laps with copper nails and riveted to the ribs with copper rivets. Our lumber primarily comes through Vermont Family Forest a local non-profit organization that facilitates sustainable, responsible logging in Addison County. The pine planking for this years boat comes from the woodlot of Ron and Karen McEachen of Bristol, Vermont. The logs are cut at sixteen to twenty feet and we mill them right here at LCMM with a portable band saw mill. The students are able to track the boat building lumber from forest to boat.

Please stop by the boat shop to view our progress or if you have any questions about the project please call Nick Patch at 802-475-2022 or email me nickp@lcmm.org.

The newest gig in the fleet - January 10, 2008

Written by: all the student boat builders

We are a group of D.O. students building a Whitehall four-oared rowing gig at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. There are eight students and five adults working on the boat. The students are Ashley Butler- Vergennes, Shawn Bedard-Bristol, Jon Carter- Starksboro, Rosemary Jerome-Cornwall, Sheila Larrow-Ferrisburgh, Stephanie Miller-Vergennes, Samantha MacDougal-Vergennes and Justin Vieu- Ferrisburgh.

The first thing we did before we even got to the boat shop was to go to the University of Vermont's Jericho Research forest with David Brynn of Vermont Family Forest and Nick Patch of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. We learned to identify trees that are good for boatbuilding. Those were not the trees for our boat, but will be used for next year's boat, as the lumber has to dry for a year before we can use it. It was cold and nasty out and Polly (our teacher) planted the bus in a ditch. We walked a lot and got to see lots of trees. We measured them for width and height using a Biltmore stick.

We began working on the boat January 2, 2008. The first thing Lianna taught us was to make scarf joints. Scarf Joints are used to join two planks into one. Each of us did one for practice. Meanwhile the brave souls who moved the entire pile of White Pine planking lumber in to the boat shop, Justin and Jon, spent the day in the cold. Ashley and Sheila were kind enough to clean the not-so-clean classroom/lunch room in time for lunch. Now it is cozy.

Students rowing around virtual Lake Champlain on rowing machines.
Speaking of lunch, during lunch we will be rowing the equivalent of circling Lake Champlain on Concept 2 rowing machines. Justin just loves to row, but Ashley and Stephanie are the true powerhouses and rowed three times.

Planing rough white pine for planking.
We are under way with the first plank. Shawn spent time with Nick planing boards and discarding bad wood. Justin and Jon came back to school with shavings everywhere. We are very excited about our future boat and have already begun to think of names.

It is so hard to believe that what we are working on will ever float. This looks to be a very fun semester. Come visit us and see what we can do.

Phone: 802-475-2022