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Seats and Spars

Some wonderful progress on the Button Swan Providence River Boat.  The yellow cedar floorboards have been cut out and fitted to the boat, held together with white oak battens.

Bob, one of our members, knows his way around sail design, and has done the calculations for our boat.  We decided on some changes to the shape and size of the sails to reduce the length of the boom a bit, as the original design has an overwhelmingly long one, and we’re not sure we could manage the dock space!  This seems a little more practical.


The seats have been shaped and fitted, and got a couple of coats of varnish – so beautiful!!  Thanks to Leif (our member from New York City who was here on a visit) for a few of the photos below.  Leif has been a generous supporter of the club, and was super inspired by our boat build!  He owns Polaris, a Concordia 41, and had help from his brother Arnt with his mast rebuild last year.

And, thanks to Arnt and Rob, we’ve got a start on shaping the spars – the bow-sprit even has a coat of varnish on it!


The boat is looking more beautiful each week!!

And to maintain our workshop, Nick did some great work yesterday on replacing the fascia board at the roof-line of our shed, and installing some flashing to try to prevent the leak which has been a problem lately.  Hopefully this will keep our tools dry!


January – Knees, Risers, Priming

The quarter knees were refined and fastened, and look beautiful!  It’s another one of those things where we see it shaped and in place, and ponder whether we can finish it ‘bright’, with either varnish or oil, instead of painting it like we’d planned.  Before long, we’ll be finishing the entire interior with the wood nicely visible!  But then we ponder a little further, and realize the maintenance requirements increase dramatically with the amount of bright wood.  To that end, the interior of the hull got a coat of primer, and yeah, that looks pretty nice as well!

The lower rub rails were fastened and plugged, and the thwart risers were steamed, bent in place and fastened.

And, after the risers were in place, work got started on the thwarts.  One of the main thwarts is fitted and in place, and the stern sheets (or side seats) are being mocked up, along with the curve at the stern.  The pattern for the thwart knees has been started as well.

It’s exciting to see the interior of the boat coming together, and imagining taking her out for a sail.  It will be interesting to see how the small side deck and coaming will change the look of the boat!

December – Gunwales, Risers, Quarter knee

The boat shed is a great place to hang out on a foggy winter day!  Nice and cozy in there when we get the heat on, coffee brewed, and if we’re lucky, a nice selection of Christmas baking to go with it!

2017-12-09 09.57.12Work continues on the Button Swan Providence River boat, fastening gunwales, fitting the quarter knees, and making the thwart risers.

She’s really showing her lines nicely now, with the gunwales in place!

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The risers are being fitted, but may need some steaming in order to get them to twist into place.

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One of the quarter knees is mostly fitted, with (hopefully) just a little more tweaking to get it to the right place and angle.  Very tricky corner, that! And after the fitting is done, it will need some shaping, to make it less chunky.

We enjoyed the plane workshop led by Brent, learning about some of the many types of woodworking planes.  He brought a big chunk of yellow cedar, and gave us a chance to try out some of the planes.  It was a fun and interesting session!

Happy New Year, and hope to see you in the shop in the coming year – we are looking forward to completing our work on the boat, and launching her!

Floor boards, Gunwales, and Rudder

We got a start on the floor boards, steamed in a new set of inwales and outwales (out of yellow cedar this time), and more work done on the rudder and mast step.

Also, in preparation for the plane workshop this coming saturday, Brent cleared some bench space, an always much needed and difficult thing to do!  Rob and Dale built a shelf to move the paint and finishes collection over to the other side of the shed, further helping to balance the floating shed.  It’s the little things that help make it so much nicer down there!

And to get into the holiday spirit, we put up a rope “wreath” – not sure how well it will last though – it didn’t seem very durable!  Oh well, we got a photo to show it at its best!

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Upcoming Workshop/Seminar on Woodworking Planes


One of our club members will be conducting a short workshop/seminar on woodworking planes – types, techniques & tips, on Saturday Dec 9th, at 1 pm at the floating workshop.  The workshop will be free and all OLAS and Museum members are invited to attend.

Let there be light

We got the new window glass installed, and it’s nice and bright in the shed again!!

Inspired by the new light, we also made some changes inside.  The shed has been listing towards the back a bit lately, so we moved some weight to the front, which, along with the window bars has helped quite a bit.  There had been some rain coming in at the top of and between the doors, so we blocked some of that with strips of wood – that made a huge difference in blocking the wind as well – it got nice and cozy!  And we turned the Fancy Pram on its side, allowing more light to spread in the shed, provides some storage for rudders and centerboards in the boat, and we built a bit of a bench/shelf above the boat.  In the space where the boat used to stand, we put up some clamp racks for much easier access.

Meanwhile, we also got some work done on the Button Swan (yes, it was a nicely productive day!).  We got the in-wales fitted (we were happier than it appears), more work done on the rudder, and got the mast step mostly fitted.

All in all, another great day at our little floating shed at Vancouver Maritime Museum’s Heritage Harbour!

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Button Swan Rudder

The rudder for the boat was started on Saturday.  Arnt had milled and glued up the stock for it (thanks Arnt!), and Brent got the drawing transferred and cut out.  We then worked on tapering the rudder – it was a lot of wood to remove by plane, but a few of us took turns, and got it done.  The pile of shavings grew a lot! (and smelled great)

Other work included laying out the pattern for floor boards and beginning to fit and shape the in-wales and out-wales.  We’ll need to steam them to fit the curve of the sheer, and hope to get that done this Saturday.

The Sam Mc got her rig checked in preparation for sale, and a couple of minor repairs looked after.  Hope we can find a suitable home for that lovely boat!

Article in Westender

Recently, a contributor to the Westender weekly newspaper happened upon our little slice of paradise, and wrote an article about us:

Hopefully that will bring in some more interested souls!

The Final Frame

Today we fastened the final frame on the Button Swan Providence River boat!

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Preparing to drive the nail

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Setting the rove

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And a little pat for good luck after peening – nice little rivet!

Thanksgiving progress report

A bit surprisingly, it was a very busy Saturday at the boat shed!  We had around 15 people at various times, and got a lot of work done.

We’ve got only 10 more frames to rivet in place, and we’ve removed all the temporary moulds – it’s looking nice and clean in the hull now!  (except for the tools left in place, ready for next weekend!)

We also got a start on some much-needed maintenance on the shed – Ken kicked it off with replacing some of the rotten studs below the windows, and we’ve got one window frame rebuilt with fresh wood.  It feels great to get this much-needed and long-delayed project started!  There’s just a sheet of plywood closing the window opening for now, but glass is on its way.

The boats have been seeing some action, which is always nice!

Looking forward to next weekend, when we’ll likely complete the frame fastening.  Then, perhaps the inwales?