|History of the Col. Lewis||Re-building the hull is simultaneously
incredibly simple and incredibly complex. The simple aspect of it
is to replace all the wood that is rotten, overly weathered, cracked, or
missing. The complex aspect of it is that, before any of that can
happen, the shape of the boat has to be "faired," or restored to its original
lines and gentle curves. In the case of this boat, many of the frames
have rotted almost completely away. This has caused many of the hull
planks to bend, warp, kink, or just plain crack. In addition, years
of lying upside-down with the gunnels propped up on logs has resulted in
the hull developing a serious twist along the longitudinal axis.
Fortunately, there is a relatively easy way to fix these
problems. With so many rotten frames (4 of 8), the hull is really
quite flexible. By attaching a single, solid plank along the entire
length of the gunnels (17'), I was able to pull the walls of the boat "into
fair" (see photo). Once that was accomplished, it was also pretty
easy to twist the boat back into its original shape. Adjusting the
cross-braces that I'd installed in the summer of 2006 allowed me to secure
the hull in the newly-faired shape.
The next step is to systematically remove and replace
the frames. As you can see, there is a small amout of deadrise, or
vee, to the hull (see photo). I have been able to use the rotten
frames as templates to make the replacement frames (using white oak amidships,
where most of the stresses from the mast and lee-boards will be, and douglas
fir everywhere else).
In addition to using the rotten frames as templates, I
also have been making extensive use of my grandpa's carpenter's bevel to
ensure that the frames are symmetrical (which would not necessarily have
been the case using only the original pieces.....)
With enough of the frames replaced to hold hull planks
securely, it's time to move on to planking!