Sunday, February 27, 2011

Planking Has Rounded the Halfway Point!

Plank Headed for the Steam Box

The Stern is Really Taking Shape Now!

Yesterday - Saturday - was a good day in the shipyard with nearly eight strakes completed meaning Harold can confidently say that planking is very much at the halfway point. The first plank went on the Ardelle on January 25, and as it is nearly March it may be safe to say that planking could be finished by the first day of spring - here's hoping! There have been some more great shipwrights coming by especially on Saturday and we thank you all for your great work!

A fairly recent shot of the Schooner Ardelle. The ladder enables the shipwrights to climb in and work on trunels and wedges.

Chuck Burnham marks where the caulking is complete.

Cotton and oakum are used in caulking.
A nice black and white photo. All photos by Dan Tobyne.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cape Ann Beacon Posts a Video of the First Plank

VIDEO: Hanging the First Plank on the Ardelle

 The Cape Ann Beacon's editor Kirk Williamson has done a great video of the first plank being put on the schooner Ardelle. Have a look!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Breaking the Back of Winter

A New England weatherman said that we may “break winter’s back” this coming week as we will soon enter the month of March – but as anyone who lives here knows, breaking winter’s back means mud, rain, and a raw spring. Or, to put it best, this month of March comes “in like a lion and out like a lamb.” Anyway, bring it on, as these shipwrights have been working outside all winter long  often starting around 7:30 a.m. – with two breaks each day at 10 a.m. and noon. The Burnham house has a small ship’s bell outside the door and at those times, the bell is rung. At 10 a.m. when the bell rings Harold yells “Mug Up" which to us means a coffee break…The dictionary definition of Mug Up is “to study intensely for an exam” but on Cape Ann it means to have a coffee break and is a favored expression among shipwrights and sailors and those still lucky enough to get a coffee break. It may have other meanings, too, and it is sometimes said in the terms of "let's have a Mug Up over it" and is a way of conversing and settling an issue. Over Mug Up here,  the shipwrights get to hear some good Newfoundland stories from Bernie Power or learn about his home in Prince Edward Island, sometimes the conversation drifts towards snowmobiling stories and then to skiing and snowboarding and over to the Caribbean and some characters there and Ireland and the Dalmatian Coast or we talk about making chowder but mostly it is just about friendship and conversation - which as New Englanders say -  is "the finest kind."

A plank goes on the bow

Time Walsh inside the boat wedging the trunnels

Harold gets ready to pull out a plank from the steam box.

A view of the stern

The Mug Up this past Saturday brought a good group of people by the yard and some stayed as long as they could stand the cold. As mud season approaches we still have a bit of high ground so people can spend a little more time here. We have also been hearing from some younger shipwrights who would like to come and work here. It would be great to meet all of you…and over a Mug Up we can tell you more about the set up. We are so lucky to have so many great and talented people helping us and thank to all!

Harold, Geoffrey Richon and Tim Walsh

The sea beckons!  Thank you Dan Tobyne for all the great photos!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Mug Up! Tomorrow at Essex Shipbuilding Museum; Sailmaking Goes On

The yard is busy both on the Ardelle and in the loft with Chuck Redman now building the sails for the schooner. Sailmaking is something of a solitary job - but anyone who has ever worked in a sailoft knows that it is a very satisfying kind of work. Chuck is doing a great job on the sails but is able to come down from the loft to help with the planking. The shipwrights are now on the sevent strake and Justin Ingersoll has cut nearly every plank, thank you Justin! Harold says pretty soon it is going to look like a real boat. He has been gathering up jack stands and getting ready to build the staging as the planks rise. Leaving the ground may be in part a good thing as Harold and many of the shipwrights have been working long hours standing on sixteen inches of ice. The weather is getting more changeable and today we have a warm one so their ice foundation will start to slowly turn into mush - not sure which is worse!

In any event, tomorrow, Sat., Feb. 19 the Essex Shipbuilding Museum is hosting a "Mug Up' from 10am to 1pm at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum located at 66 Main Street where coffee, tea and cocoa will be provided. After a brief introduction to the story of Essex shipbuilding, guided tours will visit the Burnham shipyard where Ardelle is under construction. Harold Burnham and the Museum’s guides will explain to visitors what is happening at that moment as well as answering visitor questions. For more information on the Mug Up go to the Essex Shipbuilding Museum website. Hope to see you then! Thank you Dan Tobyne for more great photographs.
Chuck Redman is making the main sail for the Ardelle

/Sailmaking is a big part of boatbuilding. Churck Redman in the driver's seat and doing well. OK, Ladies, he can also cook!

Sailmaking is a solitary but rewarding job.

Justin Ingersoll, Geoffrey Richon and Geoff's dog are actually on about six inches of ice covered with sawdust.

Zach Teal, also kneeling on six inches of ice, is getting ready to saw off the trunnel ends.

Four strakes were on the stern when this photo was taken but there will be seven by tomorrow!
Schooner Ardelle hourly update
Today's timelapse photo shows how the planks are going on. By Saturday, Harold says he will be halway to the sheer line.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Taking a Long Look at the Plank Lines

Harold studies the plank line. He is not frozen over, just covered in sawdust and wood chips.

Henry S. studies the plank line as well.

Zach Teal and Chuck Redman get a look at the plank lines from the stern end.  

Since this photo was taken, there are now five planks on each side...making headway now!

-The wedges in the trunnels here are called blind trunnels - they don't go all the way through a frame but settle deep into the wood - these are more the exception than the rule as most of the trunnels are hammered into the frame and out again.

Dan had to get some altitude to take this shot of the interior- yeah photographing from this height is no easy feat!

The trunnels are into the frame as the shipwrights fasten another plank. Eventually the trunnels are cut off and a wedge is put in.

Here is a good example of what a trunnel looks like on the other side - in this case it is through a frame.
During a day of planking, cutting, planing and steaming frames some time must be spent studying the plank lines and of course everything must line up well. While there is a lot of background work to all of this, sometimes the naked eye can assure a shipwright that the lines are straight and fair. Everyone working on the boat now takes a moment to look at each plank after it has been clamped on and Harold is a master at making the call. The end of the plank is cut and so far each one has fit well into the other. After the planks line up, Harold  fastens it to the frames using a few bronze screws. Then the shipwrights drill holes through the plank and through the frame where they are fastened by wooden trunnels driven in by sledgehammers. We go through a lot of trunnels each day. Harold's father says the old shipwrights could hammer a trunnel through in seven strokes. It takes some, like the author of this blog, about 77 strokes. So far, the planking has been very satisfying ...and the momentum is really going now! Thank you Dan Tobyne for these fantastic pictures.

The creek between the Essex Shipbuilding Museum and the boatyard is great. Pictured here still embedded in ice is the Pinky Maine on the Burnham side and the Lewis H. Story on the museum side.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Gloucester Times Talks about the Shipwrights

Chuck Redman, Justin Ingersoll and Bruce Silfer were featured in the Gloucester Times artice. They are seen here planking. Check out the GT video here!

Harold is Seen Here Checking the Plank Line

Justin Ingersoll is clamping a freshly steamed plank in place

Once the plank is trunnel fastened the ends are sawn off. The trunnel ends are saved and used as tickets for a charter!

Steve Willard made an awesome seafood chowder and the crew enjoyed on Saturday!

The Gloucester Times had a great story in yesterday's paper about Harold and the shipwrights who volunteer here. It has been a great experience having so much support and help and the article written by Stephen Fletcher really captured it all and the article link is here: The Ardelle takes shape: Volunteers help Essex's Burnham raise new schooner. Here is an exerpt as well: 

The pinky Ardelle's construction in Essex is drawing a crowd nearly as large as boat builder Harold Burnham expects to have when he starts chartering the vessel. Burnham and a crew of volunteers, who finished the schooner's frame in January, are now laying on planks to form the hull. The Ardelle, crafted outdoors in line with the town's boat building tradition, is Burnham's sixth boat and his largest since the schooner Thomas E. Lannon, and Burnham's crew is as local as his lumber. "Everybody fits in," said Pierre Erhard, an arborist who provided some of the lumber for the Ardelle's planks and frame.
The crew comes to work with varying experience, Burnham said while leading the effort Thursday afternoon. And most often, apprentice boat builders and enthusiasts, like Erhard, stop by to help construct the vessel.
Also, view the Gloucester Times video here!

Here is the link to the whole story!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wooden Boat Magazine Features a Short Piece on the Ardelle

David Wyman, naval architect and marine engineer has been a sound advisor to Harold in designing the Ardelle
The Wooden Boat March/April 2011 issue came out with a great article mentioning the schooner Ardelle in their CURRENTS section and mentioned pinkie schooners and their design. However, there was an omission which we feel should be corrected for the record in mentioning the Ardelle’s design. Although the Lewis H. Story, the Fame, and the Lannon were designed and built by Harold – all of the vessels have been created in partnership with other talented individuals. Prior to 2004, Capt. David Fulsom of the US Coast Guard worked very closely with helping Harold with the Coast Guard regulations. Since Capt. Fulsom's passing, Harold has worked very closely with Mr. David Wyman, naval architect and marine engineer of Camden, Maine.  On the Ardelle in particular, David has been extremely generous in sharing his knowledge and expertise and has made her a better vessel and we are extremely grateful to him for his efforts in ensuring that the vessel meets all Coast Guard regulations and standards. Thank you, Wooden Boat, for the article and for using Dan Tobyne's great photos and THANK YOU David Wyman for all you do! HAB

Monday, February 7, 2011

Slow and Steady Wins the Day - Plank by Plank

Chuck Redman and Geoffrey Richon push a plank

The planking process is long but each day the work progesses well and Harold is pleased with the pace now. There has been a lot of good luck with the steam jenny and steam box and a lot of really capable hands helping out. Today, Harold will get two more planks on before calling it a day. Overall, the snowstorms have abated at least for a few days and with temperatures in the 30s it makes it a lot less hard going. Thanks to Dan Tobyne for his latest, great photographs.
Harold working on the stern

Harold and Geoffrey Richon


Carrying a hot plank

Harold and Zach in the barn

Zach extracting a plank from the steam box

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Slogging Along and the Steam Jenny

The newly named Steam Jenny is a real workhorse

Harold, Zach Teal and newcomer Tim Walsh planking

Harold is dubbing some.

Zach and Tim hold the new plank in place

Harold has been thinking about firing up the steam box again today and keeps referring to the funny contraption that he fills with firewood the Steam Jenny. When asked about the name he said he had just come up with it on the spot...but it does seem to fit.  So, the steam jenny is fired up and more planks - which were planed yesterday - are going on the boat today. A lot to do in between snowstorms!