This was a weekend of major transition at the boatshop. RJ Johnson brought in his 1974 Briggs boat Surprise Canyon for a few repairs and modifications. In an earlier life Surprise Canyon was Nonnezoshe, and ran many a trip with the Betty Boop (then known as the Great Thumb) and Gary Ladd’s Tatahotso. This was the first time Surprise and Betty had seen each other in more than twenty-five years and I imagine they had quite a bit to catch up on during their two nights together in the shop. (We let them have some privacy.)

RJ wanted a removable transom, which was normally stock on Briggs boats, in order that he could drop on a motor for those pesky reservoir crossings. What is more fun than cutting giant holes in boats? Yahoo.

The hinge on one of RJ’s hatch lids had ripped the end-grain plywood to smithereens, so we re-saturated it with epoxy and made it back into a solid substance.

Lest the same thing happen again, we switched the placement of the hinge to beneath the hatch lid. Here I am routing a channel for the new hinge placement.

And RJ is screwing the reconstituted hatch lid back onto the boat.

Meanwhile the build-up of the removable transom is hardening, along with a repair on some delaminating side-wall plywood.

Jim is creating a brace to go in the bow hatch, where the two stock horizontal ribs meet the bow post. This was a weak spot in all the Briggs boats and they usually blew out on the first solid wave hit. I know I blew two pair of them out of two different boats in two consecutive trips back in the early eighties, both of them in Waltenburg Rapid at extreme low water. Boom! BOOM!

That should do ‘er.

Jim also put a wonderful finishing touch on the Betty Boop—an Andy-Hutchinson-style decoupage of the classic Lord Culvert ad featuring Betty herself on a 1971 trip.

This morning the boats bid each other goodbye, Surprise Canyon heading back to Boulder City,


and Betty Boop heading upstairs to offgas paint fumes for a while. Those two boats will see each other again soon, I bet.

It was also the weekend of my final switch to modern epoxy. Out with the last of the WEST System,


and in with a slick new dispenser for Resin Research.

And lest things get boring around the shop, before noon we brought in two more boats in need of a beefed-up bottom: the Lodore and the Euphrates, both born in this shop two years ago, but with not quite a tough enough bottom lay-up. That’s about to change.