Welcome to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's Boatyard Blog, where all things related to Chesapeake Bay Boats are discussed. Follow the Museum's progress on historic Chesapeake boat restoration projects, watch wooden boats being built from scratch in our Apprentice For a Day program, and meet the dedicated staff and volunteers working hard to give you the experience of Chesapeake Bay history while preserving traditional Chesapeake Bay boat building techniques. Make sure to join us as a follower of this blog so you will be notified of new posts, and make comments on anything you see on the blog.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Meet the Museum's Floating Fleet : Edna E. Lockwood

Over the centuries Chesapeake boat builders have designed a great variety of watercraft to meet a particular geography and task. The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is home to the largest collection of historic Chesapeake Bay boats in existence.

By now you are quite familiar with our nine-log bugeye, the Edna E. Lockwood, as we have been following her progress since the inception of this blog. Here is a little background:

In 1889, at the age of 24, John B. Harrison of Tilghman Island built the Edna, the seventh of 18 bugeyes he was to build. Harrison also built the well-known log canoes Jay Dee and Flying Cloud.

Edna was probably built on Chicken Point at the southeast end of Knapps Narrows. Her hull is hewn of nine pine logs, and is several inches wider on her starboard side. This asymmetry in her hull allows her to sail closer to the wind on port tack, to dredge better on port tack, and to come about to starboard more easily.

Built for Daniel W. Haddaway of Tilghman Island, a neighbor to John B. Harrison, Edna dredged for Oysters through the winter and carried freight, such as lumber, grain or produce, after the dredging season ended. She worked faithfully for various owners, mainly out of Cambridge until she stopped "drudgin" in 1967. In 1973, she was donated to the Museum.

In 1975, Edna was dismantled down to her nine logs and rebuilt over the next several years. In this process, she was built stronger than the original, with the addition of 21 natural knees of hackmatack, new frames that extended all the way to her keel log instead of the wing log, a heavier kingplank, and more tie rods. Her oyster dredging gear, removed during the refit, has not been replaced.

Edna is a rare survivor, the last of the log-hull bugeyes still afloat, and is without doubt the most significant boat in the Museum's Small Craft Collection. She was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Professional Shipwright Apprentices... Where are they now? Part 2

We continue our Shipwright Apprentices, Where are they now? series with Dave Youngs.

Dave Youngs – (2005 – 2006)
Dave Youngs, now of Portland, Maine, started his apprenticeship at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in September 2005 and continued through summer 2006. He first came to the Museum in 2004, however, when he came stateside from his native England and briefly volunteered with the Museum’s boat donation program. During a return trip to England, Dave helped a friend plank and frame a 25 foot boat. This friend was also a graduate of the Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy and came from a long line of boatbuilders.

From that trip, the course was set for Dave’s return to the Museum as a boat building apprentice. While at CBMM, Youngs worked mostly on the Old Point and helped build smaller boats like the Pete Culler designed 'Good Little Skiffs' in the Apprentice for a Day program, which he managed in summer 2006. While at the Museum, he also earned his marine electrical certification by the American Boat & Yacht Council (ACBY).

“It’s very rare to see big wooden boats,” commented Youngs. “My work at the Museum really helped open the doors for many other opportunities.”

After his apprenticeship, Youngs went on to work at Ashmar Boatworks in Cambridge, MD and Choptank Boatworks in Denton, MD before enrolling in the Landing School in Kennebunk, ME. He is a graduate of their small boats program and is currently enrolled in their marine system’s program. His future plans including building a wooden boat for himself.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Meet the Museum's Floating Fleet : Old Point

Old Point is a seven-log crab dredger built in 1909 by J.G. Wornom in Poquoson, Virginia. Old Point represents yet another variation on the log-built hull. Crab dredging is permitted in Virginia from December through March, using two large dredges resembling oyster dredges with longer tines. Heavy metal rollers protect the rails from wear. The dredges are secured to a heavy post in the center of the vessel and raised with mechanical winders located below decks on either side of the post. These "deck boats," as they are known in Virginia were also used for freighting in the off-season.

Old Point has two hatches over the hold in the middle of the vessel, a small one just forward of the pilothouse and a large hatch just abaft of the mast. The pilothouse has two bunks (the upper one remains), and there was a swing down bunk in the engine room. The fuel tank was located above in the engine room. The fuel tank was located above deck behind the pilothouse. Forward of the mast was a forepeak with a raised companionway, with a barrel for fresh water forward of this structure. A steadying sail was formerly used with the gaff doubling as a cargo hoist.

J.G. Wornom built Old Point for J. I. and George C. Wainwright, but for much of her life (1913-1956) Old Point was owned by the Bradshaw family of Hampton, Virginia. During these years the Bradshaws used Old Point as a crab dredger in the winter, to freight fish in the summer, and to carry oysters from the James River during the fall, selling their catch to the Ballard Fish and Oyster Co. in Norfolk, Virginia. 

In 1956, Old Point was sold to the Old Dominion Crab Company, which used her for crab dredging. At some time after 1956, Old Point suffered a fire in the bow that destroyed the forepeak. Some charred frames are still visible; the damaged portion of her logs was filled with Portland cement. It may have been at this time that the gallery and bunks were added above the engine room.

In 1968 she was sold to Norman F. Williams, who changed her name to Miss Terry. She passed through several other ownerships, being used for freight and excursions in the Caribbean until she was donated to the Museum in 1984.

The Museum has since restored Old Point closer to her earlier working appearance by replacing the existing single hatch between mast and pilothouse, refitting the forepeak, and installing a large mast and boom with steadying sail. She is considered to be the last-but-one, log-hull deck boat to work on the Chesapeake.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Professional Shipwright Apprentices... Where are they now? Part 1

Photo by Nikki Davis

The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum’s
Professional Shipwright Apprentices
Where are they now?

Building wooden boats, especially large working boats for the Chesapeake region, is a time-honored, traditional craft proudly passed down through generations. Some men and women become shipwrights to continue a treasured family tradition, while others acquire their passion. Either way, shipwrights aren’t just practicing a craft; they are perfecting an art form.

The professional shipwright apprentice program at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland brings the hands-on experience necessary to transform novice builders into skilled professionals, capable of spearheading projects, interacting with the public, and building and restoring wooden boats to their glory.

The Museum’s prestigious apprenticeships are awarded to deserving applicants using a rigorous interview and selection process. Once accepted, apprentices engage in restoration and maintenance work, as well as the training to interact with the public.

Prior to working on boats at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, many apprentices study and learn the craft at schools like the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Washington, the Landing School in Maine, or the Arques School of Traditional Boatbuilding in California.

During their Museum apprenticeships, this knowledge is put to the test and nurtured, as the Museum’s master shipwrights share established skills and explain the nuances of transforming wood into a maritime work of art.

Upon completing an apprenticeship at the Museum’s boat yard, shipwrights move forward into successful boatbuilding careers and other related professions. Over the years, these young shipwrights spread their knowledge of Chesapeake boatbuilding techniques all over North America, sustaining and promoting an integral part of this region’s cultural heritage.

Here are a few of their stories.

Heron Scott – (2002 – 2004)
Heron Scott of Haines, Alaska, was a shipwright apprentice at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum (CBMM) from 2002 to 2004. Prior to his apprenticeship, Scott attended the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock, WA.

During his time at CBMM, Scott worked on the Museum’s seven-log crab dredger Old Point as well as several privately-owned skipjacks. Scott’s work on Old Point included replacing logs in the stern, installing the mast and sampson post step, and installing bulkheads. His work on the skipjack Somerset was a major six-month project, which included replacing the transom, rebuilding the skeg, and replacing the chine log on the Deal Island boat.

“The Maritime Museum gave me great exposure to large craft restoration, which is unique today,” reflected Scott. “The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is well-regarded and known in the Museum world. For someone like me making a career in non-profits, my apprenticeship was a great benefit.”

After his Museum apprenticeship, Scott moved to Seattle and began working as the capital projects manager and lead boatwright for the Center for Wooden Boats. During his tenure, he also served as the interim executive director for a brief time in the summer of 2010.

Scott has most recently started his own consulting business with a focus on project management of heritage boats. One of his first projects will be administering a grant with the Coastal Heritage Alliance regarding the 65’ seiner Commencement in Gig Harbor, WA.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

And then there were eight

The boom for Edna is still four-sided.
"The first step to roundness," says Shipwright Apprentice Joe Green "is to take it to eight sides. By making this jig a spar gauge, it'll give us the lines to create an octagon."

Making the spar gauge

The arrows point to the four sides of the original timber.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

From left: John Northrop, his son Mackenzie and CBMM Boat Yard Program Manager Dan Sutherland work on securing the bottom of a Smith Island Crabbing Skiff being built under the Museum's Apprentice for a Day program. Using bronze screws and clamps, the participants are securing the bottom planks to the boat's keelson and chine log. The public is invited to participate in the Apprentice for a Day program, with the winter session starting on January 8 and running most Saturdays and Sundays through the spring. The finished boats from the program are also offered for sale to the public. In this case, Mackenzie is building and helping to design this boat for his own use, with plans to go crabbing from his skiff this summer.

For the class schedule, click here. For more information, click here, or call 410-745-2916.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Finishing Edna's Main Boom

CBMM shipwrights, apprentices and volunteers are working on finishing Edna's main boom this week.

Today, the tapering of the timber continues, with the boom varying in diameter from 4" at one end to 6-1/4" at the middle and 4-1/4" at the aft point.

Measurements are marked at intervals on the timber, with nails temporarily placed as guildelines. 

Volunteers like Kevin Garber are helping with the project, as he is seen here holding and bending the batten for Marc and Joe to use as a guideline for shaping the main boom. A 14" circular saw will be used in the next steps of shaping this boom.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Shaping Edna's Mast

Today, Apprentice Joe Green is continuing his work on planing the new mast for the Museum's bugeye, the Edna Lockwood.
Because the mast has to be tapered, lines must be taken to get the right measurements. The process has to be meticulous...and right. Logs of this size and wood (Douglas Fir) are hard to come by, so the margin for error is zero.
 The square timber will turn round in a process of taking four corners off, then eight, then sixteen, etc. until the shipwrights have the dimensions right and can sand the timber down to a nice, round finish. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Fir Log becomes a Boom for the Edna Lockwood

Now in mid-December, the Museum's Sam Fairbank, Marc Barto, and Joe Green work to get the 30' 11"boom wood for the Edna Lockwood inside the skipjack restoration shop to be planed.
Apprentice Joe Green is working on the first step in squaring the timber for Edna's main boom.
CBMM Shipwright Marc Barto has been teaching apprentices at the Museum for several years.
The circled areas (in blue chalk) signify planing is not needed. The areas marked with squares are what Joe is focusing on.

(Back in June) L-R: Boat Yard Manager Rich Scofield, Boat Yard Program Manager Dan Sutherland and Classic Yacht Restoration Guild Director Rick Carrion work on the first cut on a 54' fir log to make a new boom for the Museum's "Edna E. Lockwood" bugeye. Built in 1889,"Edna" is a National Historic Landmark and the last of the sailing log bugeyes.

Rick and Rich inspect their work.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winterizing Isabel: Part 2

The Museum's 1926 - 38' flat top sedan cruiser, Isabel, received more winterizing when the boat yard staff put on the fitted cover that came with her when the Requard's donated the Isabel in 1996. Although built by the Matthews Corp in Ohio and named after the corporate owner's daughter, Isabel has spent her entire life sailing along the Chesapeake Bay. She's not part of the historic fleet at CBMM (because she was built in Ohio), but Isabel is nonetheless a great example of the transition of work to play regarding vessels on the Chesapeake.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Edna Lockwood's new hatch trunk gets pinned to the bezel.

Today, our shipwrights attached the hatch trunk to Edna's bezel using 16, 9" bronze drift pins, some power tools, hand tools, anti-fouling paint and a lot of know-how and muscle.
During the process, Shipwright Marc Barto explained to Apprentice Joe Green that to make a stronger hold, some of the drift pins should be drilled in at an angle - opposing angles in fact, to their neighboring pins.

The apprentice program at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum is a great place for wooden boat school graduates to come and receive hands-on training for their specialized trade. Apprentices have gone on to work at other Museums, while some stay on board here at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland.

The best part, all of this work is done in front of the public, with questions and dialogue encouraged. "Engaging people in the process is what this is all about," said Shipwright Marc Barto.
"I love all of these boats, and my job in working with the public is just as important as the work we do in restoring these vessels."

Monday, December 6, 2010

A New Hatch Bezel for Edna

The creation of Edna's new hatch bezel is underway starting today.

Winterizing Isabel

Last week, it was 65 degrees. Today, it is 37 degrees with a wind chill of about 15 degrees. Quite a difference! Today we prepared Isabel for winter by removing her mast and boom.


Friday, December 3, 2010

Bugeye Edna E. Lockwood Restoration (Summer & Fall, 2010)

Edna E. Lockwood
The hatch before restoration
Access to down below is a bit limited. Edna needs a few beams replaced, and because her deck is made of strong wood, it will be spared in gaining access below.
The shipwrights are using White Oak for Edna's new mast partner, which will then be bolted together and installed on the deck beams of the 57' 1889 bugeye. Shipwright Marc Barto (pictured right) reports this process would have been a lot easier had the original mast partner not washed out to sea during that bad storm in October. It floated right out of one of our flooded boat yard buildings.
The structural work on the Museum's bugeye Edna Lockwood is now complete. Coated with anti-fouling paint, Douglas Fir makes up the beams, carlins and sister partners; with White Oak used for the new mast partner. Tension rods run fore and aft to stabilize the mast partner. Next up: build a new king plank and hatch bezel.

Preserving Chesapeake Heritage - one boat at a time

The Chesapeake Bay shoreline was once home to scores of small boat yards where skilled shipwrights built and maintained hundreds of wooden vessels. These craftsmen not only supported the commercial growth of the Chesapeake, but they also passed along skills that had been refined over hundreds of years. Because most of these yards have vanished, and along with them, the skills and techniques of the builders, there is a deficit of proficient boat builders today.

CBMM's working Boat Yard seeks to preserve that heritage, and ensure that traditional boat building techniques that define this region, are passed on to the next generation.