Recently an enormous white pine and a moderately large oak tree fell in a storm almost imediately next to the shores of the Shawsheen river near the Tewksbury/Andover border
It was a popular meeting place for parties, recently some were definitely not of the little kid's picknic sort. These partiers inadvertently doomed it by setting bonfires way to close to it's base, weakening the bottom so it didn't make it through a mighty blow in early july.
The pine grew near other large trees so has a clear 100 foot bole and it is over 4 feet in diameter where it split over 6 feet up off the ground.
Most of the bole is not touching soil and a brief fire scorched the bottom end grain so much of it is probably not rotten.
It must be gotten rid of because there are invasive insects in nearby areas who live just under the bark of living or recently dead pines and often kill living trees.
The Shawsheen is a small, shallow slow moving river that in severe low water is a pain to canoe through in some areas.
It is said to be an excellent river for poling on.
I have long thought about building a large jon boat for use on the local rivers and now have a good picture of what I want.
It would be 20 or 22 feet long, have a roughly 6 foot beam and a 4 foot floor, 5 to 7 inches aft rocker, the rocker profile having a flat midsection and a relatively straight aft run. Like the spira skiffs the frames would be left inside permanently. The rocker profile and wide transoms hopefully will make it less sensitive to weight distribution, easy to maneuver in tight spaces, and, if lightly loaded and trimmed bow heavy, able to go faster than hull speed without making a large wake. The bow would curve to the top without a front transom and the sides would have substantial flare and freeboard in response to powerboat wakes on the Merrimack.
The initial plan was for 3/4 inch doug fir mdo floors and sides alike, delaying the build to more than 3 years from now, but now that the tree has fallen and is getting the attention of the watershed council perhaps it would be a good idea to get cracking and build the whole thing out of that tree.
In honor of tradition, longevity, and common sense and the great tree it would be planked simplified carvel with scantlings so thick as to make it even heavier than the plywood initial idea, with both internal and external chine logs. The end grain pieces of wood would be wetted for hours in Boron DOT. No modern glue and no fiberglass, instead deck screws and tar. The outside would get several coats of premium exterior latex, the first couple coats heavily thinned to soak the rubber into the wood. The inside would get a mix of linseed oil, pine turpentine, and a little wintergreen oil.
Propulsion would depend upon where and when it was being used.
For the Shawsheen it would be poled and rowed
For the rivers Concord, Assabet and Sudbury it would be a choice between oars and a 5 hp slow turning fourstroke (the block was rated for over 6 hp at 2800 rpm, is typically run at 2500, and has a 4000 rpm electrically restricted redline)
Not CARB 3 star compliant but no dirtier or thirstier than a well cared for 100/1 mix looper yamaha and it has above water exhaust.
For the Merrimack river it would be urged along by a typical 15 to 20 hp outboard. For the foreseeable future this job will be filled by my '66 fastwin with a slow 3 blade prop, mostly because I already have it.
The watershed council is interested not only in the river but in recreation, historic/aesthetic value, community outreach to improve awareness and opinion, and there are understandably people in the council who like wooden boats.
Indeed the president of the association likes wood boats, has been to the wooden boat museum in newfoundland, and complained in the newsletter about modern canoes.
The shallow water and coarse gravel bottom are horrible on aluminum because it grabs the rocks.
I'm thinking very small oak protective rails and sacrificial pine runners bedded in tar (try telling the watershed council you want to put red or white lead in their river that they have spent enormous sums to clean up)
Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions for this kind of project?
I hope to get the involvement of the council or failing that help from some of the council members.
Any advice for how to write to them as I am bad at imbedded messages and subtext both in reading and writing?
I have made a non epoxy skiff before and learned a lot from my (admittedly sometimes terrible) mistakes on that boat.
It handled surprisingly well for a badly lopsided boat, but ended up with much more rocker than originally planned (still could go surprisingly fast for its waterline length if you didn't put excessive weight in the stern) and worst of all suffered horrible leaks, partly from defective caulk that after days in the sun was nowhere near dry on the inside but had a misleading cured skin, mostly from the sides mysteriously pulling in instead of out (later revealed to have been the result of removing part of the midship frame too early), and somewhat from imperfect fairing of the chine logs on my first build.