Building a 22 ton wooden boat requires a lot of wood! More than 35 tons have been brought in so far. One of the most back-breaking tasks is storage of and moving the boards, which all must be stickered and covered for aging. Air drying requires one year per inch of thickness. After that, each board is likely to be moved several more times before it even gets into the shop. Murphy’s Law says the next board needed will be near the bottom of the pile!
Lion will be built mostly of white oak obtained here in northwest New Jersey. Exceptions will be white pine from Lubec, Maine for decking, red pine from NJ for spars (see Spars/Rigging), and local hardwoods (ash, poplar, yellow birch, cherry and walnut) for the interior joiner work. White ash will be used for most of the deck beams. Although white ash is not considered as durable as white oak, it will be used because it was provided free by Mother Nature during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. I’m lucky the ash didn’t become an unwanted part of the house!
Castner’s Sawmill, located nearby, provided the majority of the beautiful white oak. The first lumber was gathered in 2004 in the form of white oak logs delivered to my yard by logger Joe Hull. From them, all of the backbone timbers (keel, stem, sternpost and deadwood) were milled by the late sawyer (and engineer, and all-around great person) Dick Plog.
As of March 2018, about 5400 board feet have gone into Lion’s backbone, frames, deck beams, clamp and planking (through the third strake below the sheer strake). Except for about a thousand black locust trunnels, and 20 white ash deck beams, all of it has been white oak. The lumber has been (or will be) air dried, covered and stacked with spacers (stickers) for circulation, for at least one year per inch of thickness (that’s seven years for the backbone timbers!)
Fastenings are galvanized steel. Most bolts have been fabricated from plain steel rod, then galvanized at Nicholas Galvanizing in Jersey City. Black locust trunnels were used to fasten all the frame futtochs together. (Trunnels are basically dowels driven into tightly fitted holes, wedged on the ends.)
Much of the paint, preservatives and bedding compounds will be formulated right in my shop.
(NOTE: For latest work on the boat, check the Planking page.)
Most photos are captioned to explain the process. Click on any photo to enlarge and scroll through the galleries:
Dick Plog and his Woodmizer. (This is not boat lumber, but some stuff for the house)
Josh! These pictures are from the 90’s. Unfortunately, I don’t have any more recent pictures of the sawing operation.
Typical lumber logs (for the house and shop, not for the boat)
2004 – White oak beams for the keel and keelson. These were delivered as logs to my yard and sawed by expert sawyer Dick Plog
2004 – While green. these weighed over 1000 pounds each
Two of these are for the keel and one for the keelson
Note how straight and true they are right after sawing. This won’t be the case after aging, seven years later!
Sawing logs from Blairstown, NJ using the Alaskan Sawmill chainsaw attachment
Setting up. The 2 x 8 on top provides a straight surface for the Alaskan Sawmill to ride on. It’s used for the first cut only.
First of 3 loads from Blairstown. Thanks to Alissa and Gary for allowing us to cut these logs on their property!
Irene brought this white ash down about 30 feet from my house in 2011, the day after Mandi and Ian’s wedding
White ash roots
Sandy also brought down a white ash near the house
Cutting the windfall from Sandy, one year after Irene. Note the powerlines. We lost power for 12 days!
Using the Alaskan Sawmill on the windfall
Logs were sawed to preserve any natural bend that existed in the tree
This is the pattern for the deck beam crown. The bend in the logs follows the deck crown pretty closely.
Between Irene and Sandy, enough white ash for 20 deck beams
Yates Sawmill, Lubec, Maine
Mr. Yates, Linda and Josh, with about 800 board feet of white pine for decking
Hauling white pine from Lubec for decking
Flat trailer tire on I495. Successfully changed that one, but…
2nd flat in Danbury, CT
Yikes! No more spares. Had to spend the night in Danbury.
2 3/4″ white oak for frame futtocks
We do get snow in NW New Jersey!
Stacking 1 3/4″ white oak for planking
1/2″ drift bolts for the initial frame-to-keel fastening, and 3/4″ through bolts for the keel scarf joint
The drift bolts are “barbed” with a cold chisel to provide additional holding power
About 35 pounds of bolts
First load ready to go out for galvanizing. Also included some plain steel wood screws.
Nicholas Galvanizing in Jersey City
Right next to JCP&L’s power plant
A sample of fastenings back from Jersey City – 4″ #24 wood screws and 15-20″ drift bolts
Main ingredients for bedding compound – pine rosin, turpentine, linseed oil and beeswax
Every wood-to-wood faying surface gets coated with bedding compound, mainly to deter rot.
Comments on either the website or the boat will be greatly appreciated. You can contact me (Mike Danesi) at email@example.com.