Color in the Cabin

I wanted to add a bit of color to the cabin for a few different reasons;  Color and contrast are always good for things meant to be beautiful, but I had another motive.  If you look at earlier photos, you will notice the interior glass tape laid across the chine panel seam is on an angle in comparison to the bunk tops.  This gave the illusion of the bunks being sloped, which is true.  But, by painting a flat line, as referenced off the bunks, it changes this perception and seems to level things out to the eye.

Take a look:

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Though the chine seam elevates toward the bow, the Dark Navy masks the line and levels things up.

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Above the Dark Navy, I plan to add a Hatteras Off White stripe, transitioning then to bright work.  

Now a little boat building philosophy:

When you undertake to build a boat, many feelings and visions flood through your mind.  They include areas where you plan to cruise and explore.  Others might be of the people you plan to take with you to share in the experience.

But, as every boat builder knows, some of the visions come in the form of you building a perfect boat without blemish.  Well, after building three boats, I can tell you that no boat will ever be built perfectly.  In fact, far from it.  But, who really cares?  Do you think a perfect boat would change your experience on the water?  Do you think your neighbors would be even more impressed if the boat was perfect?  No, they won’t even see the imperfections.  Frankly, they are too busy to even care.  You are the only one who cares to this extent.  Still, we strive to build boats as beautiful as possible, taking great care to get things right…and still the mistakes seem to manifest themselves all on their own.

An example:  When applying the second coat of Dark Navy to the cabin, I notice that I had a few sags from last nights application.  Too late now, with the last coat applied and the paint still wet.  Yes, I could sand it all out, but why?  Arn’t these boats to be enjoyed?  Won’t they get dinged up at docks and through normal wear and tear?  If we are stuck on building perfect boats, we should double our build time and never even launch them but instead place them carefully in a museum for others to gawk.  Is this why you built your boat?  I think not.  I built my boat to explore the natural world and see new sights with my wife, family and friends.  Given this end result, I want everyone who has ever built a boat to pat themselves on the back and get outside and use their wonderful creation.  Let’s not let the product lord above its intended use.  Get out in your boat, love your boat and be proud of the work you’ve done on your boat.  Fact is most people would never have attempted something like building a wooden boat.  Most folks would’ve never gotten off the couch.  I’m very thankful for Kilburn for designing this boat and I’m very grateful I had the opportunity to build a Skiff America.  I hope you feel the same way about your boat.

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Ham n Egger Philosophy

In my father’s view, there was no clear separation between woodworking and religion.

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He would speak of wood as others may speak of the Holy Writ. He understood wood. He knew how to hold it, how to cut it and how to shape it to his advantage. He knew how a piece would split or break. He understood how thick a piece needed to be in order to hold and about how much weight it would bear. He had a good eye and could see anything that was out of true or misaligned.

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His high standards were based upon morality rather than speed. There was a right way to do something, no rough corners, no nails on the ground, no loose piles of lumber laying around. Things had to be neat and orderly. It had to make sense to him. He could never work for the other guy and he could never work for an hourly wage.

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I have multiple memories of my father working in his wood shop. His stiff original 501 Levi’s had glue wiped all over them, nearly causing them to stand up on their own. His shop had a certain smell to it…one of fresh cut sawdust usually from pine or oak. There was the Elmer’s glue bottle, with globs of glue all around the top, hanging on a bent wire in front of the heater to keep it warm. He could often be heard singing Frank Sinatra. He has a good voice and still sings today.

He is a true engineer (without formal training) who can build anything. When I was a young boy, my father built a train that actually ran on a rail track around our house. The only thing he didn’t build was an airplane (mom wouldn’t let him).

During all these building experiences, he was often heard to speak about ham n egger’s. My brother and I could never understand what he actually meant. Though never formally verbalized, as adults, we believe we have deduced it’s proper meaning.

A ham n egger is anyone untrained, following his own dreams, not really giving a damn about what other experts think or how they say it should be done, building something that makes total sense to them, yet zero sense to anyone else. Furthermore, the true ham n egger accomplishes all this with very few tools and often with materials that can be found on hand or in his own wood pile. Additionally the phrase grants one an extra level of grace or forgiveness in ones woodworking projects that the expert or professional may not be willing to grant. Though the standard may sound low, it is set by the individual and only the individual. If you are happy with it, you’ve reached the standard. This is the true spirit of the ham n egger. It’s quite liberating once you understand it.

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Original ham n egger in the background with second generation ham n egger in the foreground (me).

Though I originally discredited woodworking and found little merit in the skill, as an adult I often find myself reverting back to my fathers inclinations to accomplish something with my hands, often by working wood.

“Well boys”, my father would say, “I think it passes the ham n egger standard.” I would often say, “I think this exceeds the ham n egger standard,” but dad, very humbly would suggest that we were still firmly entrenched within the parameters of the standard.

I love you dad!