Or: Getting Your Ducks in a Row
Inspired by my WoodenBoat School course on boatbuilding, I decided it made sense to loft the next boats that I plan to build. Lofting is the art of drawing full-size patterns of the entire boat in several views, such that you have all the curves fair and the measurements correct before you start cutting wood. It is an arcane science at best, but Greg Rössel, my instructor, made it look pretty much insane not to do it. Here is Greg showing us how to lift lines off the lofting to make perfect forms. (Note lofting ducks in lower part of photo.)
The next thing I needed were some lofting ducks–essentially lead weights that hold battens in place for the purpose of creating perfect fair curves. Turns out there are only a couple places in the world that sell lofting ducks and they run around $35 – $45 apiece, and I wanted a dozen or two. That would get pricey in a hurry. Further web searching brought up two things–instructions on how to cast your own ducks, which was tempting, and an outfit that paints them like ducks: boatsofwood.com which I found inspirational. (This site also has a good picture of how the ducks are used.) Thus began a week or so of part-time goofing around at the newly founded and short-lived Fretwater Duck Foundry. Here is how to make about $1200 worth of ducks for about $100 and a bunch of messing around.
Carve a pattern duck out of an old two-by-four.
Many thanks to Lora, Jim, Andy, Kate, RJ and Terri for their magnificent renditions.