Bateau Building V
The picture (at right) of the bow is put in to show how five pieces of wood come together to make the corner – the gunnel, the two top strips, the side strip and the headblock. And the bottom will bind together the headblock and the gunnel making this a six-piece corner. This is a really strong assembly!
A picture shows the front three timbers and the headblock just about ready to receive the bottom. The sternboard is planed to remove the excess wood and make it even with the gunnels. Throughout today’s work, Edward used a long straightedge (an aluminum level in this case)to follow the gunnels and plane down any wood that prevented the straightedge from moving from front to back or the reverse. When a timber would not stop the straightedge but still showed no light under it, it would be ready for the bottom. If light showed it meant that too much wood had been removed, an OhOh. That didn't happen, but he kept an eye on the apprentice just in case.
One of the satisfying things about hand tools is the slow and patient nature of their use. In this case, I mean the hand plane. Properly adjusted and sharpened, it peels off a ribbon of wood almost thin enough to see through (exaggeration, I know, but almost). When you push the plane it goes zzzzzz, and you can nearly imagine that it sizzles as it shapes the wood. I mean really, it zzzzzzzs. And the shavings are even pretty things in themselves. Lena Mae’s father Myon Bailey, a logger in his young days, used to say that he felt something similar about crosscut saws that were well sharpened, he said “Jim, they used to make those long spaghettis, if they were good and sharp”. He was of course referring to the long strips of wood the saws would remove from the tree as they cut through it. If the saw was dull, it would just make little chips.
About half of what needs planing has been done. Next meeting will finish with the preparation for putting the bottom on. Edward intends to pre-shape the plywood for the bottom by using hot water and then using the plywood’s own weight to bend it. Anyway, that was it for day five. Once again, the whole day was videoed for future editing and archiving. Visiting the project were Ray Brassieur and Greg Guirard, both of whom enjoyed some of Lena Mae's shrimp stew for dinner.
The river is at 5.1 feet on the Butte La Rose gauge, falling slowly to 4.7 by Wednesday. The Ohio and Mississippi aren’t doing anything very exciting to change things one way or the other very soon.
Rise and Shine, Jim