Well, I’m committed. Or should be. Just received the first half of the lumber for a replica of Emery Kolb’s EDITH, which was built 100 years ago this coming summer. The EDITH and its twin, DEFIANCE, rowed by brother Ellsworth, were built out of white cedar planking with white oak framework in Racine, Wisconsin. Brass screws, copper riveted lapstrake. My favorite style of building. The brothers launched in September in Green River, Wyoming, and followed Major Powell’s route down the Green and Colorado to Needles, California, arriving in January of 1912. They flipped, wrecked, and wrapped too many times to count but came out with a book that went through 27 printings and a movie that still has the record of the longest playing feature in the history of the world. (It helps to have your own theater and start in 1912.)
I want to see what the boys were up against, so I’ll be building the replica over the next couple months to row through the Grand and assorted other stretches next summer. 16’7″ long, 4′ wide. Should be absolutely horrifying in big water. I can hardly wait. Maybe I can write an e-book that goes through 27 downloads.
The original boats cost $450 for the pair. I’m in $2000 just for lumber for one so far. A tad of inflation, I guess. Here’s the pile of white oak for all the ribwork, chines, and gunwales. The white cedar is in some freight depot in Vermont, abandoned by grumpy teamsters who think it’s too long and heavy to move around. I guess I should send them a case of beer or something.