Monday, March 30, 2020

Dory Progress

Been a while since I’ve posted here. Been busy quarantining and building.

Some pics below of adding panels, hull, and turning boat over with chain hoist.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Starting a New Briggs

Finally, after finishing some shop to-do’s (and deciding to ignore the rest and just complete them when necessary), I’ve started building a new dory. This one will be a wood frame classic Briggs style and size.

Except I’ve already made some modifications on the lofting, moving station 7 and station 8 slightly aft and forward respectively to enlarge front cross by almost 3”.

Now I’m thinking about decking over the rear with no rear passenger compartment.

Meranti hydrotek marine plywood, picked up at Strait Lumber in Denver. Good folks at this lumber yard.

Stacked all of the 1/4” side panel sheets and cut the scarfs at one time. 

Rolling bevel - Cut the stem at 51 degree angles using my sliding saw with a jig and some clamps. Later I’ll plane down the chine end angle to around 45 degrees.

Then finished up with the frames for stations 1 - 10 in Port Orford Cedar.

Friday, October 4, 2019


Looking at this blogs stats I see almost 50K views since inception, which is staggering. Don’t people have anything better to do than read these ramblings?

Especially you folks in Ukraine who seems to have a special affinity, only surpassed by the USA. Unlike the mess in Washington, I’m glad to report there has been no untoward attempt to influence the content of this blog or the relationship with its viewers.

Back to something simpler and infinitely more rewarding, more lofting...

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Lofting a New Dory

Started putting down lots of colored lines for a new dory. Lofting is fun and intricate. Plenty of places to make a mistake. Starting with the dimensions convention - 4 - 3 - 7 is another way of saying 4’ 3 7/8”.

This one will be a classic Briggs, wood framed.

Among these lines are the chine height, sheer height, chine half breadth, sheer half breadth, and outlines of frames 1 - 10.  Here’s a pic of lots of ice picks and a batten to fair the line.

Next up is expanding the transom. 

Here’s some Port Orford Cedar arriving:

Thursday, April 4, 2019


We’re back! Sorry for the pause. What can I say, been busy. Huerfano sits on her trailer in a lonely parking spot awaiting her next river permit. Meanwhile, I’ve been building a new shop. Out of the basement after 21 years. Woo hoo! The kids had a little fun with this for a Christmas present: So we’ll call it the MBS. Anyway, here are some build pics. A few of the framing:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Maiden Voyage

Since the Quail Lake champagne party really doesn't count as a "maiden voyage", this May Huerfano took her first river trip down Deso.

Not without some bumps and bruises on the way, starting with a flat tire on the Sand Wash road.  Here I've been saying for several years we've never had a problem, and the road has gotten better, and then boom- "tire pressure warning".  This was complicated with the fact the tire iron/jack kit did not contain the necessary key insert to fit into the spare tire release crank.  In the end a minor set back, with help from Marlyn and the folks at River Runners shuttle.  Thanks to all!

Here we are with the little Huerfano on the trailer at home ready to take off.

Some new pretty oarlocks from Brad Dimock's shop.

And here is a pic during the late packing stages.  Trying to figure out for the first time where everything should go - to be modified several times during the trip and I'm sure on future trips.

First impressions - she is fairly fast pushing in flat water - until the wind comes up when her bow catches a lot of air and lower profile rafts were faster.

If you look closely at the last pic, you can see where white paint rubbed off down to the primer coat, from rubbing by a raft at camp.  Learned to stay away from those nasty rubber objects.  Also a couple of small chine dings from rocks while pulling into camp sites.  All easily fixed with minimal paint upon return to the MBS.

Downstream rather than upstream ferries are much more effective.  In fact, I was disappointed how little progress I made pulling away from the left Cow Swim wall with an upstream ferry.  Maybe disappointed isn't exactly the best word.

Tippiness - in confused water with lots of side waves etc. she's actually pretty tippy, up until the secondary stability of the side flare kicks in, afterward which she's very solid. Not quite sure how to address this, since oars are often out of water, so can't keep pushing through.  But in big water, of which we had a good amount at 18K+ volume, as long as you tee it up, nothing (yet) seemed to phase her.  We pretty much took the meat lines in every rapid.

To confess, that was plan B at Coal Creek as I was trying to miss the Thunder Hole on the left but it did not work out that way.  Very good hit, but through and still smiling!

Still working on getting some of the videos and rapids shots.

Here's a curious visitor at Range Creek checking out Huerfano.  This turkey was persistent, looking for handouts, and hung around all evening. I'm just glad the bear cub (and presumed, but never seen, sow) stayed up by the groover and never came down for a closer inspection.

The obligatory petroglyph hikes. 

View of Rattlesnake rapid above School Section campsite.

Last nights camp before Swaseys.

Finally, here's a wonderful watercolor sketch by my friend Stacy one evening during our trip:

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Back Home and Luthier Wood

Finally got back home and once the weather got nicer began to finish the new set of oars I started at Brad's shop.

Sewing on the leathers with sinew, curved needle, water and contact cement.

Adding the leather oar stops.  This was a pain as we weren't quite as well set up as Brad's shop, and the plastic strips I used weren't tough enough, requiring doubling up.  Came out ok in the end.

Boiling up some paraffin wax for the leathers.

Meanwhile, elsewhere some flamed maple has arrived for mandolin backs, and here are several pics of me resawing some Brazilian rosewood I've had since the early '80's for guitar backs and sides.