A couple people have asked why the Rio Rojo is not being built with the quick-and-easy “free-form” fashion, like we have built other dories. The free-form system, as excellently described in Roger Fletcher’s Drift Boats and River Dories, involves building precise rib-frames, cutting precise side panels, marking the exact placement of the ribs, and screwing it together. It works great when you have perfect plans to go from, and the boat has no other option than to come out as planned (if you do it right).

In this case, however, I am massaging several of the angles and measurements from Cataract, my more-or-less stock Briggs boat, Fletcher’s in-praint version of a Briggs boat, and the three dories we built three years ago, in order to (hopefully) optimize the different features of all of them while minimizing the drawbacks.

That being so, I no longer have accurate side-panel dimensions to go from. So I am, in effect, building an all new boat—although to the layman’s eye, it will be pretty much a Briggs boat. Plus, it is a chance to practice some of the skills I learned in boat school. And as we have so rudely found out in the past, building free-form without complete, accurate plans means you are making all the corrections in real-time with real-wood, and real-frustration. Better to do that on the drawing board and then faithfully translate that into a three-dimensional entity. Which means building this way. If this boat comes out as I am hallucinating, we’ll have a new set of plans and can go back to free-form for future boats.

That probably made no sense at all. Oh well.

Anyhow, I got all the vertical supports on the strongback.

And this evening worked out the details of how to make precise frame molds off the lofting drawings.