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Thread: Repairing Dancing Feather and two new builds! Green Timber Questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    New Orleans, LA, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Repairing Dancing Feather and two new builds! Green Timber Questions

    Thank y’all for the help in the past! It's been a long journey since I asked the questions last year about swelling and repainting the dory we'd just purchased (last spring).


    We knew very little to nothing about wooden boats (outside of Louisiana boats like pirogues and creole skiffs - with no experience outside documenting builders) when I first posted. We knew that we wanted to move away from modern boats to photograph the disappearing barrier islands along Louisiana's coast. We bought Pete Culler's personal boat, Dancing Feather, from Katherine Richmond after watching it sit for sale on craiglist for quite some time and my building and photography partner drove her from Glouchester to Louisiana last spring.


    Since then we've learned a lot. We found out the significance of our boat being Dancing Feather, Pete Cullers personal Swampscott Dory. And have studied his and the other important texts (Gardner, Chapelle) extensively before deciding that the best way to care for a boat so many times rebuilt (most recently by Katherine Richmond) was to build a few more. So we've been working on building two of Captain Pete's Swampscott Dory for Capt Charles Sayle Sr. We knew this was inspired by DF, which has proven to work very well on the unpredictable waters along the Gulf of Mexico (aside of windward ability, but when we have to, a long row against the wind and tide is still possible with a very heavily loaded boat).


    We're building these boats from white and live oak for frames and stems and transoms. Using grown pieces to get what we want for grain in matched knee (crook?) style of frames with sinker cypress bottoms and planking. The cypress is beautiful, with annual growth rinks on some pieces at 50 rings an inch. These trees have probably been sitting at the bottom of the swamp since the 19th century. Im planning on trying to keep things pretty traditional (isn't it traditional to use the best wood available to you as opposed to finding white cedar from half way across the country?), with the exception of riveting instead of clenching the laps. My partner is using glue on scarphs and potentially glassing the bottom/garboard. And I think, because of some problems with my cypress I could only get a 15/16 bottom, Id like to do a false bottom of thin (not sure how thin) black locust Im sawing this fall.


    This forum has been a great resource. And has answered almost every question Ive had. But I do have a few questions related to correcting my blunders in using green timbers and matched knees. I found the use of green timbers addressed in several places but all related to slowing drying to prevent warping. I did not find that advice soon enough and with temperature already in the upper 90s, the wood is quite unstable and my frames are warping before Ive got them screwed on. I built a steamer in the past few days to see if I could flatten them and adjust them back to shape. I'd read Capt. Petes advice about soaking in kerosene first to produce a dryer piece of wood free from checks or warping after steaming and thought Id give it a try. I enjoyed the thread on here about Pete Culler and Kerosene but it didn't address this process specifically so much as using before planking. So I added a good kerosene soak into the process before steaming. Currently two of the frames are bent/flattened back to shape and clamped to a steel table (with plastic) to setup. Assuming Capt Pete is right, they'll dry up nicely now without more problems. But I am skeptical. Can you guys please advise on the best ways to stabilize these pieces until I can get them fastened to bottom and eventually to planking? Does anyone have experience here? I can steam them right before I setup the whole thing but dont expect planking to go quickly enough to race against unstable wood.


    Im cutting black locust knees this fall and cant wait to use it on future boats for dancing feather repairs. There's just so much of it, I can't believe everyone isn't building their boats with locust knees. Are there any more resources on here that address harvesting locust knees?


    Thanks for reading and your advice.


    Also, I cant believe how many times folks on this forum deemed Dancing Feather suitable only for kindling. She’s been doing great on the gulf coast!

    Best,
    Rush Jagoe

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Port Townsend WA
    Posts
    13,189

    Default Re: Repairing Dancing Feather and two new builds! Green Timber Questions

    Yes, kerosine does work and will slow down the drying. You can also add a bit of tung oil and use turpentine in place of the kero. This will get you started on a nice oil finish that will take paint or vanish once it dries. Kero is messy and will stain forever and collect dirt. Nor will it discourage dry rot spores!
    Jay

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2018
    Location
    New Orleans, LA, USA
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Repairing Dancing Feather and two new builds! Green Timber Questions

    Thank you! It does look like old sun weathered dry wood the day after steaming. It’ll feel good to add the oils. I have a pine tar based bout soup mixture. Think that would do the trick instead of spending more money on the tung oil?

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