Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Princess Seat

I can think of few things more enjoyable than spending time on the water while rowing face to face with your sweetheart. Rowing face to face with a good friend is a close second. The joy of being in nature, the seclusion of being on a boat together and the inescapable seating arrangement is bound to provoke intimate conversation and closeness. With that in mind, I paid special attention to the design and execution of Ravn's stern seat. I wanted it to be comfortable and inviting with a nice backrest and plenty of style.

In my previous boat, a Chamberlain dory, I added a carved backrest to the stern seat. It was one of the best projects I ever did on that boat. It improved the comfort a great deal and provided some handy storage behind it. A pair of carved dragon heads gave it a throne-like quality and my wife soon dubbed it "the princess seat." (See A Small Swampscott, Sept. 5, 2009 post for a photo.)

I'm happy with how Ravn's princess seat turned out. Today I spent several hours inside the boat sanding and scraping. I took a couple of breaks lounging on the princess seat. It proved to be very comfortable and secure. As I ran my hand over the curved surfaces of the backrest and reclined against the starboard rail, my mind drifted to a time in the not-too-distant future when Ravn will come alive in the water carrying a cargo of conversation.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Huginn and Muninn

Each day Odin sends Huginn and Muninn (Thought and Memory) to fly over Midgard (Middle Earth). The two ravens return and sit on Odin's shoulders whispering in his ears what they have seen.

It's from this Nordic myth I derived my boat's name. In nod to my Danish grandmother, I decided to use the Danish spelling. It also meant I had fewer letters to carve.

Ravens are one of my favorite animals. They are so smart and fun to watch, especially when they are teaching their young in the springtime. It's easy to see why they play an important part in many different cultures. Ravens feature prominently in the culture of Northwest Indigenous people and is even credited with dropping a stone in the ocean that grew into the earth upon which humans live. Raven is known as "the trickster" and is often the main character on Haida totem poles.

It's also just a great name for a black boat!

Stern Combing

The warm rain has returned to the Oregon coast and temperatures in the boat shop are in the 50s, warm enough to epoxy Ravn's stern combing in place.

I had fun carving the name in it and the two ravens. The cold temperatures drove me inside the house to do the carving, which allowed me to enjoy my grandchildren when they visited for a few days. Elijah spent a lot of time playing a video game where he caught fish. "I caught another fish, papa," he would holler from the couch. "What kind?" says I. "Rock fish," he would report. We were both having fun together doing different things.

Years ago I bought a large C clamp for $8 that some welder had given a deeper reach. I've only used it three or four times since then, but when you need it, nothing else will do. The 13 inches of reach was more than enough to clamp the center of the combing to the stern bulkhead. My two largest F clamps had just enough reach to help cement the marriage.

Earlier, while I had some epoxy mixed, I added a little graphite and put a drop in each of the bird's eyes. The next day I pared the epoxy flush with the bird's face for a perfect inlay.