Monday, September 9, 2013

Incredible Work Being Done on the When and If

It has been over a month since I was last up to photograph the When and If at Cayuga Wooden Boatworks. The deck is nearly complete. The work in the transom was waiting for a few key pieces to be placed... which just happened to be going on while I was there. Seeing the final fitting, gluing and clamping of many weeks of work was intimidating. So much of this was handwork at this point. Lots of small measurements, chalk marks, rubbings and feeling for irregularities with bare hands. Amazing craftsmanship!

What this image struggles to convey is that in addition to some very complicated compound curves, this board is curved in three dimensions and is also keyed to fit into vertical uprights that radiate... so that they are not parallel to each other in the same plane. Thinking around a curve is tough, but compound curves like this give my geometrically challenged brain a headache.

This was a brief introduction to how measurements were transferred from the template to the finished board. These templates littered the deck this month. Every single board was cut to fit is a very specific way. The joints were fitted so impeccably... just awe inspiring. After all that work, most of the aft section in the transom, below decks will be hidden from view. From what I understand, much of it will be used for storage of flotation devices. All of that beautiful wood has been painted grey, effectively hidden until the next major restoration fifty years from now.


  1. wow - not a knot hole to be seen - even under a coat of drab grey paint. I wonder what they spent on just wood? - I see that old grizzled man milling a $1000 piece of wood that's been shaped to precision with an adze and his hands and fingers. - wow.

  2. This is definitely one of those times where the quality of the materials is paramount, so only the best will do. In this case, not only do they need to restore this schooner to its original state, but they want to make sure it lasts another 75 years while sailing in harsh ocean crossing conditions.

    Did you see the earlier photographs of the teak that is being used for the decking? That was an amazing thing to see: multiple trailer loads of milled teak, being prepped and varnished before being laid up as decking.

  3. Mark Tietig used to say the teak decking on his Choey Lee was an aphrodisiac. He said it had teak mattresses. Oh yeah.

  4. I've known Mark Tietig since the 80's LOL his Cheoy Lee had amazing teak decks but not teak mattresses!

    1. Mark's Cheoy Lee was the first sailboat I ever sailed on as a kid. Heck of a way to start out. How did you know Mark?