But it works just fine.
Then Greg Reiff showed up with Sandra, his 1940s original Nevills Cataract boat. (Nevills was Greg’s grandad.) Andy Hutchinson restored her from a desperate state back in 2000, and she’s had many a Grand Canyon run since. But something was amiss and she had a bad case of creeping rot. My diagnosis was that it was stemming from the four sealed floatation chambers–an artifact from the old days when the fear of actually sinking was a bit more prevalent. These four triangular chambers were full of spray-foam and plastic jugs. The foam was allegedly closed cell, and the chambers were allegedly airtight. What could possibly go wrong? Well, the same thing that always goes wrong. Curious water molecules find their way in and can’t find their way out. So they set up a rot farm. I proposed opening the four compartments to the hatch spaces and removing the foam so they could dry out on a regular basis. More storage room, less rot-farming. And in we went.
It took a splitting maul to bust out the seat hatch, which was aggressively filleted in with epoxy. Kinda fun in a sick sort of way.
We broke out another non-traditional boat tool–a shovel to start hacking into the soaking wet foam.
We quickly struck gold. Well, rot, actually. Lots of rot.
Greg spent the better part of two days clawing away at the foam, which proved to be surprisingly fond of being inside of the awesomely awkward compartments.
One major piece of the side and two of the bulkheads also had to be removed due to rot.
But at the end of two days we had her ready for rebuild. We figure a month or two of drying out is in order before we start the reconstruction. So up she goes into the loft, passing her sister/mother/granddaughter boat Moe on the way.
Meanwhile my buddy BJ has been building all the ribs for another classic Briggs-style dory for Grand Canyon. I was so happy with the scarfing jig I made in New Zealand that I made another just like it. Screw a circular saw to a 2×4 and plywood box, set the angle-cut, and have at it.
And the wedge-clamp glue-up system is my new favorite as well.
BJ ground off the scarf joints yesterday and last night we cut out the side panels. Today was build day.
Here are BJ and Roy working back toward the bow post with no exploded ribs and no crying.
It’s kind of fun, actually.
All smiles at the end of the day. The Thunder River (or Thunder Liver) (or Thunda Liva) is born. Our first boat ride:
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