The last week has been full of tell-tale signs of my dread of starting what promises to be an epic adventure: rebuilding the Betty Boop aka Great Thumb, Sore Thumb, Great Thump. I dug into her one day in September, recoiled, and have been avoiding her ever since. So all week I have been doing very important things like sorting my wood pile, vacuuming, messing with sticky drawers, raking leaves, responding to months-old emails, and just about anything else I could do to put off the inevitable. But at 3 p.m. I succumbed. Game on.
I figure we’ll start up front, where the worst of the rot seems to be. That way if I discover something that’s just too godawful, I can start the bonfire sooner. Here she is with the decks in place.
Bizarrely-placed bulkhead removed (where the pale yellow turns to bright yellow).
Look! There, on the gunwale: traces of the original Betty Boop red.
View from the back.
Just a touch of gunwale rot.
Well… as my old friend the used car salesman says, “She’s in pretty good shape for the shape she’s in.” She’s in bad shape, but the good news is that the rot seems pretty well confined to the floor and one small section of all four gunwales. The sides and all the frames and chines seem just fine. Amazing, and a great relief. The decks are toast, but we knew that already. The plywood simply gave up after two too many decades in the New Mexico rain and sun and snow.
Tomorrow’s adventure: scarf on new gunwale fronts–can I do it without removing them entirely? Stay tuned…