May 2020 Archives - Small Boats Magazine

As many of us are boating less and staying home more during the pandemic, we have focused some attention on the workshop and review a handy bevel gauge that fits small spaces and an apron that keeps the tools you need most often where you can get to them without looking. Our technique article about building a tool tote can provide you with a project that can be as simple or as complex as you like. The engaging tale of two ill-fated entrants in the 2019 Race to Alaska should provide a welcome distraction from the news. For our Boat Profiles, we take a look at a classic, the Grumman 17’ Double Ender aluminum canoe, and Arch Davis’s Laughing Gull, a contemporary sharpie that can fly downwind. Our Reader Built Boats, a coracle and a curragh, were built by grade-school kids in a Portland, Oregon, using locally harvested materials. Our editor, under a state-wide Stay-Home order, has spent a lot of time in his shop doing projects that didn’t really need doing.

Puttering Around

Under state-wide orders to stay home as much as possible, our editor resorted to puttering around in his shop to pass the time during the pandemic. The tool tote, rudder yoke, Viking chair, jigsaw table, and spinnaker he made weren’t things he needed but they provided welcome distractions.

Grumman’s 17′ Double-Ender

An enduring and durable classic

Grumman, renowned for making fighter planes during World War II, began making canoes as the war came to a close in 1945. The same care that went into aircraft went into the canoes, and the tooling and jigs that were created at the beginning are still in use. Grumman’s 17’ Double Ender is a classic that still serves paddlers 75 years after it first went into production.

Laughing Gull

A working sharpie redesigned for exciting sailing

Arch Davis designed the Laughing Gull with youthful sailors in mind. The gunter-sloop rig had traditional roots but it had to provide plenty of power for exciting sailing, even planing downwind. And with youth being as they are, the boat had to recover easily from capsizes.

The Race to Alaska, Almost

Trailing the fleet, keeping up with the leaks

Thor Belle found an old Swampscott dory rotting away under a tangle of blackberry bushes and decided to make it seaworthy again. He and Pax Templeton did their best to put the boat back to rights and entered it in the 2019 Race to Alaska. They soon discovered that the dory wasn’t really up to the task, but they pressed on in spite of the difficulties.

Joe’s Tool Tote

A master boatbuilder's tote, stool, and step

Joe Liener was a master craftsman who did a lot of work on small boats. He had a tote that carried his tools and served as a sawhorse, seat, and step stool. It would be as hand around the house as in the boatshop. Ben Fuller shows us the replica he built from materials he had at home.

Verksted Apron

A workshop time saver from Best Coast Canvas

The Verksted apron from Best Coast Canvas is thoughtfully designed for woodworkers and boatbuilders and beautifully made of durable natural materials. It goes well beyond keeping dust off your clothes; by keeping the tools you use most often on you, it makes your shop time more productive.

A 3″ Bevel Gauge

A tool for tight corners

A boat’s complex combinations of curves and straight lines provides no end of odd angles. Sliding bevel gauges are standard boatbuilding tools, but there are a lot of places that they can’t fit. The 3” bevel gauge, made of brass and aluminum, is easily adjusted and excels in tight spaces.

A Kid-Built Curragh

Working with withies

Grade-school students in a Portland, Oregon, school are doing projects in woodworking class that are much more interesting than building birdhouses. Their teacher brought boatbuilding into the curriculum several years ago and the latest vessels launched are a coracle and a curragh, both built with locally harvested hazel-tree branches.

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