project: shady lane

project: shady lane

Almost ten years ago I bought an old boat trailer for $300, which seemed like a pretty good deal. The catch: there was a 22-foot derelict wooden boat sitting on it. The boat was a total disaster; it hadn't seen water for a decade, and had been left without even a tarp over it for the last several years. Ten feet of the deck was completely missing on the port side, there was no varnish left on anything, and it was full of water like a giant bathtub. The original plan was to haul the whole rig out to the Ranch, roll the boat off the trailer and set it on fire.


But while poking around in the cabin (after waiting a day for the water to drain out), I found an old photograph of this very boat, freshly painted and with polished brass and chrome reflecting in the sun. I decided she deserved a second chance. Not until I'd already spent two years replacing the deck on the port side, learning entirely new fields of woodworking from scratch, did I discover that the main hull stringer under the formerly missing deck had rotted out. Another several years passed as I constructed a new sixteen-foot, hand-planed and steam-bent white oak hull stringer, replaced the starboard side deck as well, and refinished the entire mahogany cockpit and brightwork from bare wood. There are still a few screws to turn, but with a little luck, The Shady Lane will hit the water this spring for the first time in more than two decades.

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