First, an important announcement. No, we are not selling Fretwater Trading Cards. Or at least not yet. Off Center Harbor, a website out of Brooklin, Maine, where Cricket and I teach, did a lovely video about the course we taught last month at Lowell’s Boat Shop in northern Massachusetts. They supplied us with a free link–it’s usually subscription only, but well worth the price. Do sign up if you like this video:

Cricket and Brad at Lowell’s Boat Shop

Down to business:

A lot of folks ask us what happens when your wooden dory hits a rock and you’re in the middle of Grand Canyon. Cricket has nobly stepped up to the plate to demonstrate. Sometimes the darnedest things happen, like the big crasher in Horn Creek Rapid decides to surf you sideways into the wall at 100 miles an hour. This can create a bit of damage from time to time.

Step one: Gently massage the boat back into shape.;

Pull out the repair board we always carry, although we usually use it to bridge the footwell for sleeping. Work everything into a good semblance of a dory, use that can of screws and rolls of ductape and make a new boat.

And then run it down the right side of Lava.

Back in the shop we remove the damaged wood.

Grind in the scarfs, and hoist her into the loft for a month or two to get good and dry.

With the river season over, start the actual repair work. We’ve already repaired the damaged seat ends.

Goop up the scarf edges

And the scarfed edges of the patch.

Then fasten the thing together and crush with bolts and screws.

With patch on, re-glass where needed.

It’s starting to be a boat again.

The hit was hard enough to blow out a big fracture on the other side. Same procedure–cut out the damage, grind a scarf bevel, let it dry, them put in a new piece.

Good as new. (compare with first image in this post.)

I’m still trying to take things a bit slower. Here’s the morning coffee view. It’s even more relaxing now that I have deleted those fun but addictive apps from my telephone: Instagram and FaceBook will have to survive without me.

Time for the annual cleaning of the gutters. I love the view from up here.

The ends of the high beams have taken on some wonderful relief.

In a perhaps futile attempt to keep shop clutter down, we used up a large pile of old boat parts to make a set of lockers for personal gear.

Since Bruce can’t make it back to Flagstaff this winter, we’re finishing up his Doryak, Lost Yak.

Daisy is learning the art of lettering.

An Araucaria tree and Volcan Callaqui–two classic images from the dammed Bio Bio River where Bruce and I played many years ago.

Wasting no time we launched into one more Doryak, Sandia. The undercover agents are busy nursing the inner fiberglass chine into perfection.

My favorite Martians.

Time for decking.

Lydia, whose family will own Sandia, is installing latches.

Casting bronze hardware for the boats. This is Sandia’s breastplate, coming out of a perfectly hammered mold.

We finally got around to doing something with the big bag of chip brush handles I’ve been saving.

After a ten year run of wonderful concerts in my living room, the Mother Road Trio gave us the final concert. It was amazing. Thanks to all the musicians who performed here. The house will hold those vibrations forever.

And it’s time to go boating again. As two thirds of the country hunkers down for an arctic blast, we loaded up for a multi-day trip on the lower Colorado, forecast temperatures around 75. Merry Christmas to you all. And an exceptionally happy New Year.