Friday, 11 November 2011

Workshop with John Brooks

Landing in Boston Logan airport on a cold wet wintry afternoon with a 9 hour drive ahead, I began wondering (yet again) what have I let myself in for?  Armed with GPS navigation  ("Never Lost" as my American friends call it) I drove straight into evening rush hour traffic in Boston city before I finally found the right highway for Maine.  

I arrived in Brooklyn which seemed at first to be just a cross roads with a store, church and inn: my destination.  

Although there appeared to be no one around, I followed my ears downstairs to the enticingly named Dublin bar and found the entire staff and local fisherman having a rights "knees up".  

The following day, I drove around the locality and immediately noticed the laid back atmosphere of the community - everyone saluting you as they leisurely drove by - it could have well been back in Ireland 20 years ago...very charming.

As I had a day in hand before the workshop commenced, I decided to find the bay after which John Brooks named this boat - Somes Sound.  I'm sure there are countless more beautiful photographs taken of Somes Sound, but this is mine:-

The workshop commenced early next morning, where I met Bob, Bruce and JohnC - all four of us were about to embark on building the SS, although JohnC had already made a head start.  JohnB gave us an overview of what he intended covering over the 2 days.  

This was my first time in a boat shop - so it was a real Alladin's Cave - so many interesting looking nameless thingymejigs!

We studied the plans and John gave us demonstrations on building the jig, cutting gains, and a variety of techniques which we would need during the build.  John was in the process of finishing a SS12.5, and so we were treated to a par excellence display of finish work and varnishing.

However, because the boat was at an advanced stage of completion, I did not really get to see how the build looked like during its early stages.  I was still reeling under the confusion of a new language - stems; deadwood; keelson; gains; dory it was a drinking from a fire hose event for me!  

I was introduced to the wonders of a Frearson screw...couldn't wait to get my own stock!

Back to John's beautiful finish work - the color was a gorgeous off white, with a steely satin hue.   I really love this finish:-

John explained that the coaming would probably prove to be the most difficult part of the build (10 months later having stumbled on most every stage, I am not looking forward to the coaming!)

Ruth (John's partner and co-author of How to build Glued Lapstrake Wooden Boats) came to the rescue with an excellent lunch when we took time to get acquainted with each other.  Ruth & John's children joined in and we were all made feel very welcome.  

Back to work:  John brought us through the build of the seats; lockers and sole - beautiful workmanship which did little to boost my confidence, such was the excellent standard of his work!  Oh well, now I knew to what levels I had to aspire!

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