Here, about half of the frames are erected.
Here, about half of the frames are erected.

There are 29 double-sawn frames, each a different shape. Most consist of 12 overlapping white oak futtochs held together with black locust trunnels. The futtochs for most frames are 2 1/4″ thick, giving a frame 4 1/2″ thick (the fore-and aft “sided” dimension). The inboard-to-outboard dimension (the “molded” dimension) is 4″. The middle 2 frames are larger, sided 5 1/2″ by 4″ molded.

The following slide show summarizes the one year period following keel laying in July 2012, including roughly the first half of frame construction (you might want to turn the sound off).

Each frame took almost 3 weeks to build. They were erected on the keel as they were completed, with the help of family, friends and an electric hoist. Due to space limitations, the frames were assembled on a platform built over the keel. Since the framing platform covered the keel in the middle of the boat, the middle 12 frames were assembled last and set aside until all frames were completed and the framing platform could come down.

The video below is a time-lapse over 6 weeks showing installation of the final 12 frames, as well as the keelson and step for the foremast.

Assembling the last 12 frames and keelson (Time lapse video)

Frame process description – If you really want to get into the nitty-gritty of my frame building process, this link will take you to a 10 page step-by-step description.  I wrote this mostly for myself so I could remember what I did from one frame to the next. Otherwise, I recommend just looking at the pictures, which are captioned to explain a little about the process.

I should note the process described might not be appropriate for larger boats. We were able to cut the bevels on the inside and outside of the frames after assembling the rough shaped futtochs and then separating port and starboard sides, to cut each side separately. For frames larger than Lion‘s, the bevels may need to be cut on each individual futtock before assembly. This adds another level of complexity. The big, beautiful Gloucester schooners of the 19th and early 20th centuries were done that way. To learn that process, I recommend visiting Harold Burnham‘s yard in Essex, Massachusetts. He has  built some larger, beautiful schooners fairly recently. You can also go for a ride on one of them! Before starting Lion, I did just that, and it was inspirational!

(NOTE: For latest work on the boat, check the Deck page.)

The photos that follow show some of the details of frame construction, which took almost 2 years.

Most photos are captioned to explain the process. Click on any photo to enlarge and scroll through the galleries:

Comments on either the website or the boat will be greatly appreciated. You can contact me (Mike Danesi) at