Notes from the Boatshop: Planking and a field trip

Wendy showing Hilary the proper technique for prepping a scarf on a plank
Wendy Lynch showing Hilary Stone the proper technique for prepping a scarf on a plank. (Photo: Tom Larsen)

By Nick Patch

Eight boat builders from the Diversified Occupations (D.O.) program at the Hannaford Career Center along with D.O. program teachers, volunteers and LCMM boat building staff have been hard at work on our new 32’ pilot gig. We are installing plank number seven out of eleven planks. Planking should be finished at the end of February. The next step will be to steam bend sixty five ribs into the hull that will be riveted at each lap. Things are right on target for our May 26th launch celebration. We love showing the work we’ve done, so if you’re in the area feel free to stop in and take a look!

Nick ____ checking the edge of a plank for smoothness
Nick Bassett checking the edge of a plank for smoothness. (Photo: Tom Larsen)

Volunteers Jon Woodbury, Don Dewees, Ed McGuire and Lianna Tennal have working diligently on planking repair and garboard plank replacement on Triton. In addition Eclipse, Bowfin, and Redwing have received their annual maintenance cleaning, oiling and painting. Spirit of Otter Creek and Northern Sun are now in the shop for the same treatment. An additional three students from the D.O. program come every Monday to work on fleet maintenance.

The boatbuilders with David Brynne of Vermont Family Forests
The boatbuilders and their biltmore sticks with David Brynne of Vermont Family Forests.

Two weeks ago the boat builders, staff and volunteers went on a forestry field trip with forester David Brynn from Vermont Family Forests, an Addison County-based collaborative of land owners committed to sustainable forestry techniques. We learned about how to evaluate and measure timber using a biltmore stick (a specialized ruler for measuring lumber), how to identify different species and what it means to harvest timber in a sustainable fashion.

The stern of the new gig takes shape as another plank is added
The stern of the new gig takes shape as another plank is added (Photo: Tom Larsen)

It has been a busy two months at the LCMM boat shop. On some days we have as many as 16 people at work simultaneously. It is loud but there is a palpable air of accomplishment and satisfaction in the air.

Nick Patch
Nick has worked for the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum since 1994. He initiated and directs both the Champlain Discovery Program (5 week summer kayak building/paddling program for teens) and Champlain Longboats (boat building / rowing program). Prior to working at LCMM Nick ran his own boat repair and restoration business on Lake Champlain, Patch and Co. Boat Repair.