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Hudson Valley Scull Boat Restoration

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Hudson Valley Scull Boat Restoration
Good morning, All~


I thought I had begun a post on this vessel last Winter - but I can find nothing. Happily, I have found my edited photos and have been wrapping things up of late.


I do not know where this scull (aka sneak boat) was built - or who built her. She is now owned by a friend who purchased her from the estate of a well-to-do gunner who hunted the lower Hudson Valley. We do not know if this boat was hunted on the Hudson River itself or on one of the larger lakes in that vicinity. It is likely from the early 1900s. She appears to be white cedar over sawn (cedar?) frames and was 'glassed long ago.


Here is how she arrived in February.









And here she is inside - out of the cold.






She came with her specially curved sculling oar. The owner hung onto it - rather than risk losing 'midst all the clutter at Pencil Brook Boatworks.






As with all sneak boats I have seen, the gunner lays on his or her back and works the scull through the port in the transom.






The bow is held down - so the rafting birds up to which the gunner is sculling/sneaking - do not see or hear the bow slapping by a substantial weight in the bow.






The boat without its ballast (or oar) weighs 172 pounds.







She is 14' 9" LOA.






A skinny craft - skinnier than many canoes.







A typical depth for traditional duckboats - where the gunner lays flat to hide.






More "intake" details ahead....


SJS





























Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Hudson Valley Scull Boat Restoration In reply to
Scull Boat - Part 2 - Intake continued...


This boat was in very good shape structurally and even cosmetically for the most part. Among the tasks was a new cockpit hatch. The original was quite heavy and had no crown.






The owner wanted a new, lighter hatch. He also brought the new paint - a slightly darker grey.






Removable flotation will be made for the underdeck space up forward.






The coaming has a spray "shield" made from sheet lead - in the traditional way seen on batteries and sinkboxes. The lead is easily - but carefully - bent upwards to ward off wayward seas.







The sculling port is lined with leather - and stopped up with a softwood plug. The transom had been reinforced with sheet aluminum somewhere during this boat's lifetime.







Here's an oarlock stanchion from the outside.







Each is supported inside by a strut that reaches to the floor of the hull.






The 'glass seams showed but were mostly sound. Nevertheless, I did have to grind and fill numerous (innumerable?) small chafes and punctures over the topsides and bottom.






I also cleaned up lots of runs from what looks like an "afterthought" application of resin.







Now to commence the work....


SJS



Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


Last edited by:

Steve Sanford: Oct 20, 2021, 4:32 AM
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Re: Hudson Valley Scull Boat Restoration In reply to
Scull Boat - Part 3 - Building the new hatch


I began by removing the old 'glass from the original hatch. I thought I could re-use at least the perimeter framing.







I kept enough of the half-inch cross planking to retain the shape. It turns out that the hatch was quite oversize relative to the coaming.







So - I decided to start from scratch. I laminated the new perimeter framing from 3 layers of quarter-inch plywood and epoxy - and plenty of clamps. I placed eight-inch spacers - and ample plastic sheeting - twixt the new frame and the coaming.






I fitted the athwartships frames - each with a radius to provide crown.






The bow block was left full so I could shape it after the epoxy cured.







The quarter-inch plywood sheathing was ratchet-strapped down to make fastening - with bronze boat nails - a bit easier. Thickened epoxy was used as the adhesive.







Here she is all cleaned up and ready for 'glassing. Upon reflection, building such a hatch is almost like building a small pram....







I used 6-ounce cloth and epoxy resin.






I crank up the wood stove overnight for a thorough cure.






I have not yet weighed the new hatch. The original was 35 pounds.


Stay tuned for paint, a bunch of little details, and a canvas storage cover.


All the best,


SJS













Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Hudson Valley Scull Boat Restoration In reply to
Good stuff, love watching you artwork come together.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: Hudson Valley Scull Boat Restoration In reply to
Steve

172 pounds surprised me. How much of that do you think is the lead spray shield? I suspect they used a heavy glass cloth to sheath the wood and that is the source. With that kind of mass I bet the sculler could "cut power" and glide quite a distance into a flock.

Eric
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Re: Hudson Valley Scull Boat Restoration In reply to
Good morning, Eric~


I am sure a lot of the weight is the 'glass. It seems to be mostly 2 layers - and it's probably from the era when 10-ounce was the standard. The lead is a bit less than 1/8-inch thick and is probably 4 x 36 = 144 square inches. Maybe 12 cubic inches and so probably just a few pounds?


And, I agree that the weight would help her glide once she was up to hull speed.



All the best,


SJS

Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Hudson Valley Scull Boat Restoration In reply to
I'll be following your progress for sure. Very interesting and nice work!
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Re: Hudson Valley Scull Boat Restoration In reply to
Steve, nice work as always. The cross style frames remind me of the adirondack guide boats built in your part of the country. They were sawn from the dug out roots of spruce trees following the natural grain of the curve. If you get to a spot where you can see grain through paint, that may lead you to the next endless clue.
DHBP Member since May 1999
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Re: Hudson Valley Scull Boat Restoration In reply to
Good morning, Bob~


As it happens, I got an amazing e-mail about this vessel - properly called a Joppa Flats Gunning Float - last night:

Hello. A buddy sent me the photos of the gunning float you are restoring. She was built on the banks of the Parker river in Newbury mass by a craftsman named Pert Lowell. The lead combing was added after as these floats were becoming pass? in the 1940s with the advent of ?reliable ? outboards. Many, like your example was used as a layout boat and the lead combing could be raised and molded to keep the rollers on the foredeck and out of the cockpit. Pert was a longtime boat builder and his skills are par none. It was originally canvas on the deck- he liked the smaller- under 16 foot floats as they were more agile on the flats but that made them a bit cranky. Well, I bent your ear long enough She is a lovely thing and the most tender parts of her are historically the the weight box. But I am sure you can sort that out. We use to call these floats ?Newburyports? but now the accepted name is ?Joppa flats ?. Either way, she is a beautiful float. Hope this information is helpful.



Regards
Donald Oakes.
On The Square Woodworking





Of course, I have thanked Mr. Oakes profusely - and sent the info along to the owner. I have read about Pert Lowell - probably in WoodenBoat magazine decades ago. I love duckboat detective work!


And many thanks to the "buddy" who sent the photos along!



All the best,


SJS





Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com