|History of the Col. Lewis||I have been slowly chipping away
at re-building the Colonel Lewis. While I've been working, I've been
saving some of the "artifacts" that I've come across along the way.
This page highlights some of them (saving the best for last, of course.......)
One of the first things I noticed while working on the
boat is that, as part of the first rebuild in the 1940s, the Lewis brothers
replaced several of the frames. When they removed the old frames,
they needed a way to fill the screw holes in the hull planks. So
what did they use? Hand carved wooden plugs!
I'm not sure why I find it so fascinating to find these wooden plugs. Maybe it's the archaeologist in me? Or maybe it's the knowledge that either Col. Berk or Col. Robert carved them and tapped them into place over 60 years ago? I don't really know. But I know that I'm keeping some of them as keepsakes, for whatever reason!
Another artifact type that I'll keep at least one of is
the original screws. But I'm not so much interested in keeping just
any screws--I'm keeping some of them that took special effort to remove.
Specifically, I had the opportunity to use a fantastic tool called an EasyOut
for the first time. The way these work is first you carefully drill
a pilot hole in the center of the shaft of the screw you would like to
remove (many of the original screws are so heavily corroded that it is
difficult or impossible to remove them with a screw driver). Then
you crank the EasyOut, which is reverse-threaded, into the pilot hole (lefty-tighty,
not lefty-loosey). The hardened threads dig into the walls of the
pilot hole and, once they catch, start to back the corroded screw out of
And, finally, I made a wonderful discovery while I was working on the hull in June (2007). I had known for a long time that there were two small pieces of paper stapled to the inside of hull in the bow, and had always assumed that they were the boat registration certificates from when my parents still used the boat in the 1970s. Well, it turns out that they were, indeed, registration certificates. But they are from 1966. And, what was amazing to me is that after 40 years of being stuck on the inside of the hull, exposed to all manner of elements over the years, many of the details of the registration are still legible:
You can see, for instance, my grandpa's partial signature at the bottom right corner. You can also see that it was registered for use as a Pleasure craft (with no toilet) at the low, low cost of $1.50. Under "Type of Craft" it was registered as a homemade, wooden hulled fishing boat. But the coolest aspect, from my perspective, is that under the category "Boat Year," my grandpa listed it as 1911. Now, to be fair, I don't know if he knew for a fact that that was the year this boat was built. But it at least gives me some basis for understanding how old this boat really is!