Monday, December 20, 2010

Winter/Spring Class on Rigging and Gig Building

Happy Holidays From Maine's First Ship
We will build a working rig for the Shallop Jane Stevens this winter/spring at Morse High School.

The students will build the spars, a mast and a yard, we will also loft out the standing rigging that will then be spliced, parceled and served. We will build the dead eyes as well as the running blocks. In addition we will also build and rig, port and starboard lee boards, and rudder.

Our objectives in this course are team building skills, tool and shop safety, a working understanding of rigging. splicing and traditional rope work, improve wood working skills, and to further their understanding of the historical importance of the Popham Colony. Intertwined with the woodworking and rigging will again be the documentation of the project, marketing and video skills.

We requested approval from the RSU#1 board for this project, as a course, to be able to move the hands on learning to another level. Last summer was a pilot project for the kids, volunteers and staff. This winter and spring, we want to build on our pilot project, continuing to teach kids to work as a group, to take pride in their work, to work with tools and to document their work. We have the opportunity to attract more kids to the project as we will be based in the Bath Regional Career & Technical Center right next to Morse High School.

We want to give high school students, from our pilot project of last summer and new students, the opportunity for hands on learning, to become apprentices to a master shipwright and to a professional media expert.These students will then be ready to be the apprentices to the shipwright and the media expert when the 51 foot Virginia is built. With the opportunities offered in this winter-spring program, with the students learning how to build a gig, how to do the rigging to take the shallop from a rudderless rowboat into a boat that sails and rows, how to make dead eyes and bolts, we will have students ready to mentor younger students in the 2011 summer program and when the work on Virginia begins in another phase of the Maine’s First Ship program. As part of our winter-spring plan, our shipwright will be available to visit area classrooms to engage students in learning how skills learned in the classroom transfer to the building of a traditional wooden boat.
images thanks to Jim Moulton and George Waldman

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Shallop is Launched

Maine's First Ship Shallop Project launched the "Jane Stevens" on Saturday, October 9. The sunny skies and friendly faces of supporters, welcomed the "Jane Stevens" into the world of water for the first time. Many strong bodies helped lift the shallop outside where speeches were given, two beautiful
half-models of the shallop, made by

Will West were dispersed, one to Superintendent William Shuttleworth and the other sold at auction for $650. Special certificates were given by state Rep. Seth Goodall to all students involved in the project.

Then it was time for the "Jane Stevens" to glide gently onto the Kennebec River. Armed with six oars and rowers, a coxswain, and two passengers, the shallop was on its way to the water front park on Commercial St. After a brief stop the students reloaded the shallop and returned rowing it to the Freight Shed where visitors were invited to join in some food and beverages.

Many thanks to the volunteers who made this event possible. A great gratitude is also owed to the volunteers who helped Will complete the shallop when the students and Eric had gone back to their classrooms. These helpers made it possible for the shallop to be completed with lots of TLC and high quality craftmanship. Also, many thanks to Jim Moulton who took the image of the students rowing and Bud Warren for the image of the "real" Jane Stevens on the shallop. These and others will be used in the launching video and for future needs.
Patti Irish
Media Specialist for the Shallop Project

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Roll Over

On Saturday, community members young and old came to help with the "Roll over" of the shallop "Jane Stevens". Work can now continue on the inside of the shallop to prepare for the launching this Saturday, October 9 at 2:00pm. Come join us for the launching.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Planks are Looking Fabulous

As I visited the grey shed yesterday, it was full of activity. The plank steamer was busily softening a beautiful piece of cedar. Soon the plank was ready and the shipwrights gently shaped it around the frames on the shallop with the help of clamps. It looked like there were only two planks left to go on each side. I'm sure it will be ready for the launching on October 9th.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Planking update

The last two weeks have certainly brought some changes to the Shallop Shed.
The September school year began, and the Morse High School students went back to their “day job” of going to school. Myself and the loyalist group of volunteers, pressed on with the building of the Shallop. We faired and sanded the double sawn frames and tweaked and adjusted making ready for planking. We also began scarfing the cedar that we got from Bruce Tweedy. A young apprentice named Peter came by after school to help out as well, working on the rudder.

Sept 6th was a day off for everyone, it being Labor Day, so Tuesday we started fitting garboard planks. We hung the second garboard on Weds and I spiled the first boards. Peter, Jody and Charles all started coming in after school and on Weds morning Peter came in at 7 before school and we build a steam box. I put it to use right away and we steamed both ends of the 1st boards this week. We all ended the week on a very good note.
Will West

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Plank

The buzzing around the shed has slowed due to the students going back to classes. Many students have been back to work after school and in their extra time. Peter even came in the morning of delayed start to help. Such dedicated boat builders! Community volunteers have been filling in and are a great help in moving the project along.

The first plank was screwed into place today. The first two planks are the most difficult to fit and when they are in the planking will go much faster. The shipwrights start at the center bottom and work each side symmetrically, that way there is much less stress on the frame.

Here is a short video of the shipwrights in action.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Edutopia Video

One of the goals of this project is to share it with others both locally, nationally and internationally. To share our project, we have made the following video for Edutopia, the George Lucas Foundation, which supports project based learning.

" Project learning, also known as project-based learning, is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups.

Because project-based learning is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying. Research also indicates that students are more likely to retain the knowledge gained through this approach far more readily than through traditional textbook-centered learning. In addition, students develop confidence and self-direction as they move through both team-based and independent work.

In the process of completing their projects, students also hone their organizational and research skills, develop better communication with their peers and adults, and often work within their community while seeing the positive effect of their work." more from Edutopia. . .

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We Are On Our Way

It is the last week we have to work on the project before school begins. It seemed like everyone was working really hard, that was good. There was a lot going on, people were working on the patterns for the planking, the pattern for the tiller, the glueing and planing some frames, filming, tracing and cutting out the rudder, some people did some other work on the side. In my opinion we got a lot done today but that is my opinion. We still have a lot to get done but we are on our way.
Maine's First Ship Student,
Kelsey Brick

Monday, August 23, 2010

Visit from WCSH6 and frames

Today, we had a special visitor. He is Don Carrigan, from WCSH6. He is doing a story about the Shallop Project. The crew arrived around 10:00 and stayed for the rest of the work day. Mr. Carrigan also interviewed some of the kids and volunteers. Today, we glued some more body frames together. The frames were cut into small pieces, so the frame would be curved. We also worked on planing the stern post. It was too wide before we planed it. Some of us worked on carving oars into the right shape. We had a lot of visitors come in to the workshop. They seemed to be interested with the project. To see the video WCSH6 made click here.
Maine's First Ship Student,
Peter Kosakowski

--Matt interviewed Don Carrigan for a new "Careers" project he is working on with Eric Varney for the freshman's first day of school 2010 at Morse High School.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Around the Shed

Today we would like to share a short video filmed by Matt Munster of activities around the shed.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stern Post

Today, there were multiple projects going on. Some people were working on putting the stern post in place. This is a piece of wood that branches off of the keel. It involved drilling holes for the bolts.

Others were working on making frames that go on the boat. They had to run the wood sections through a thickness plane to make them even. The thickness plane cuts off the top of the wood that is run through it.

The rest of us were working on oars. Some oars are being cut and shaved to length, and some are being cut out of blocks of wood.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Scarfs, Battens and Knees

Today it was a rainy day. Only 8 kids showed up today. We finished making the battens to go around the outside of the boat. We had to plane the scarfs and make them flat. Scarfs are when you cut the wood at a slant so that there is more surface and then you glue two pieces of wood together.
One of the battens broke when we tried to put it against the boat so we had to fix it.

Some of us also worked on oars.We also attached the knee to the keel with bolts. To make the bolts we had to cut a threaded rod to the right length and put bolts on each end.
Maine's First Ship Student,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oars, Frames and Flyers

Today there were several continuations on what was happening yesterday. A couple of people were working on oars, including myself. A couple of people were putting flyers in businesses to advertise our shallop, and most of the others were working on the frames, part of the structure of the boat. We also had a special guest come over to talk with us and interview us. Jim Moulton who works with the Maine Laptop Technology Initiative (MLTI) came.

In the oar making, we were either chiseling away on the oar in places where the plane can't reach or planing to make the surface of the oar smoother, since it is rather rough after going through the bandsaw. The two people putting up flyers were going around the area and asking store owners if they could put up the advertisements. They started out with twenty and finished with three, and two of those are going up somewhere, probably on Monday. We found out towards the end of the day that we needed to make 5 to 8 more half-models for the top donors of money.
Maine's First Ship Student
Wesley Blum

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Oars, Video and Rabbets

Today, I sanded oars until the middle of them were round. I also, cut out frames made of white oak to put on the boat mold. Matt made a video of students working and made a Garageband song on one of the MLTI laptops to go with his video made on iMovie. (See below) Nick made wall racks to hold our folding chairs. Kelsey and Max worked to notch a rabbet on a stem using chisels. Aaron and Brandon worked on notching rabbets on the keel.
Maine’s First Ship Student
Cody Seekins

Monday, August 9, 2010

Visiting Students from Japan

Today twelve Japanese students from our sister city, came to see what we are doing.
First, they went up to the City Hall to see some of our videos and our website, which we translated into Japanese for them. (Click on the Japanese flag on the website to see it in Japanese)

Then, they came down to the shop around break time, and we had snacks with them. We all had homemade blueberry muffins, and whoopee pies. There was a lot going on as far as what everybody was doing. We were working on the keel, tracing patterns to white oak, and working on the stem.
Maine’s First Ship Student

Friday, August 6, 2010

Visitors, Brochures, Oars, Keel and Ribs

There were only nine kids here today including me. There were a few people working on the technology side of things, like a brochure that will be past out around town. Some of them walked around town to see where we could hang posters.

The people that actually worked in the shop worked on oars, the keel, or making patterns for ribs of the boat. I could not believe how many times I had to stop working and be the tour person, there were a lot of people that came in. One of the people that came in interviewed me on what we were doing and he is a videographer from Oklahoma.
Maine’s First Ship Student
Kelsey Brick

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Oars, Keels and Promotion

Today, work continued on the keel, oars and floor timbers of the shallop. Much sanding and fitting was done today, and oars started to take more shape. The keel pieces are near completion. Another project was started today. A few students thought of ways to make the program known throughout the community. Main Street Bath provided us with maps of the city. Several students are devising ways to make the program easily findable in Bath. We are creating flyers, posters and billboards to help people find the building where the project is taking place.
Maine's First Ship Student
Peter Kosakowski

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Setting of the shop, Keel and Oars

Today, we worked on various jobs around the shop. Some kids worked on finishing oars, others worked on the boat mold and the keel. The oars are coming along nicely and hopefully they will push us forward when they are finished. The keel is almost fully cut out and now needs to be shaped. I, for one, guided tourist and visitors around the shop and previewed our first DVD. Some of the video and photo crew, including myself, took pictures and video of the shop and important places around Bath, like BIW and the train station. Tomorrow, we hope to finish some small tasks around the shop.

Matt Munster

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Keel and Knee

Today we placed the keel into the jig, then created and fitted a stern post. Then we braced that with a knee. The floor timbers 1 - 11 are cut down to size and are ready to be assembled to the jig. All of the students are taking part and finding projects that need to be done without the guidance of an adult. The project is finally coming together and the summer has gone by so fast.

Maine's First Ship Student
Aaron Doughty

Friday, July 30, 2010

Notches and Oars

Today I worked on making oars most of the time. The first thing I had to do was cut the oar out from the template on the band saw. After that I had to plane down the sides of the oars. Also I got to take video of every one else working on making notches in the boat mold and that is all we had time to do today.
-Cody Seekins

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Body Molds, Oars, Video and White Oak

Today we worked on the jig. We started to chip away the boat molds and repositioned the mold. We're almost finished. Also, we worked on the oars. We have four done but we need six more. Plus, I took video today of every one working on the jig and I can't wait to come tomorrow to build, hopefully, some parts that are going on the boat.
-Cody Seekins

What an incredibly productive video day for Kelsey, Mike and Amy. Amy uploaded two new videos and Kelsey and Mike each made their first ones, They did a fabulous job on these. Congrats filmmakers.

We also had a visit from Fred and Sue Beaman from Georgetown, who cut a white oak on their property for the shipbuilders to use in the shallop. Their tree will be put to great use. Here they are next to the pile of boards from the tree.
Ship builders chose woods based on availability and characteristics, matching species to the needs of the vessel. Keel, beams, and frames, or ribs of the ship are best made with white oak. White oak is hard, strong, relatively inflexible, and rot resistant. More common red oak isn’t as good for shipbuilding because it is not as rot resistant as white oak. --Penobscot Marine Museum

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Finishing the Body Mold

Today, we finished putting up the body molds, which shape the skeleton of the boat. We had a support beam put on it at the wrong water line (the lines parallel to the water) so we had to make another. It was glued too high, and the beam was glued into place. We had to make the replacement beam so a strip of wood could be put through the middle, adding structural stability. Another body mold was taken down yesterday to make changes, so we had to put it up again. The remaining three body molds were put into place today.

We also began construction on the oars for the boat. It involves gluing two pieces of wood together with poly-urethane glue, which is watertight, and clamping the pieces of wood together. Traditional wood glue is only water resistant. These blocks of wood will be cut into the shape of an oar. Because we have to use most of the clamps to hold the long strips together, we can only do one oar at a time.

The wood for the keel arrived today!

Shallop Ship Building Student,
Peter Kosakowski

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Ship Skeleton

Today in our boat building group, we continued to work on our molds, the skeleton of the ship. The molds are almost completely set up, at this point. We attached these molds on to three planks of vertical wood. It could get cramped for the people that were in between two close molds, because they had to move their hands backwards to screw in the screws. It turned out that a couple of these molds had been facing the opposite direction as they were supposed to, and we had to turn them around. Hopefully, these will be done by the end of tomorrow.
Shallop ship building student,
Wesley Blum

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Popham Colony

English explorers and would-be colonists came to present-day Maine in the 1500s and 1600s for various reasons: some out of curiosity; some in the fruitless quest to discover a new "northwest passage" to China and the Indies; some in the vain hope of locating gold and silver, which the Spanish had earlier found in Mexico and Peru; and some to control fishing grounds and to trade for furs with the Indians. All expected to better themselves, even to get rich or become famous, but few did so. Both these early arrivals and the government back in England were eager to claim territory for the crown in order to forestall encroachment by the Spanish from the south and by the French from Quebec and Nova Scotia. -----Read more about the Popham Colony.

See a Slideshow of Artifacts --images by Orman Hines.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Jig and Shop

Today we continued the construction of the jig. The body mold two is completely assembled and has been secured to the jig. Numbers 1-11 except for number two are under construction and will be finished by next week. Almost everybody has finished their half models and are beginning to take the duties of the shop. For example, the docent, who greets the visitors, the film crew, and the blogger of the day. The shop is finally beginning to look like one and there is a place for everything. The boat is beginning to take shape and come together with the help of volunteers, students, and instructors.

Maine's First Ship Student
Aaron Doughty

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Body Mold Steps

Today we worked on the body molds. To create these molds, you start out with two pieces of wood, that when placed together, create part of the boat's hull shape.

Next, you create another copy of these pieces. Once you have the copies of the shape cut out, you put the shape together and create a new piece that joins the two parts of the body molds together.

Next, you create two corners that will fill in the rest of the shape of the mold. To create the rest of the molds' pieces, make another copy of the center and corner parts of the mold. Now that you have all of your pieces you should screw them together. Once you have your mold put together, you shape them with either a spokeshave, block plane, or chisel.

Lastly, you sand down the edges of the body mold.

Amy Franklin
Maine's First Ship Student
**Just added to the Friday, July 16th blog is a video made by Amy. Check it out here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Planing Pine

Today in the boat shop, we started planing pieces of pine that were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Ingmundsen of Woolwich, who had it milled after it was struck by lightning in their yard. We have planed it 3/4 inches thick on the thickness planer so we can make our molds.

There are certain steps you have to go through to plane your pieces of wood. You start out by telling everybody to put their ear protection on and check your surroundings. (So you do not trip over anything.) Then you get your piece of wood ready to send through the thickness planer with help from other workers. Then you are finished and are ready to make a part for the mold.
What some of us are doing is: cutting the pieces on the bandsaw to make the shape of the mold, planing the wood to the line making sure to leave the line, and also sanding it to make it smooth.
Fortunately, there are only two people working on their half models now. What they are doing is using tools like: files, chisels, planes and sand paper to finish their half model and back board. So far, everything is going GREAT!

Written by
Mike Corbett,

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bud Warren and Half Models

On Thursday, most students had finished their half models. We finished half models by sanding them with a fine grit sandpaper. Then we beveled cut backboards out of pine and put a linseed oil finish on the models. Those who finished their models started building a jig or a ladder. A jig is a copy of the lofting surface but the jig is elevated so we can build the shallop on it.

On Friday, those who finished their half models completed the jig. We leveled the jig out and secured it to the floor. Other students finished their half models. We broke early today in order to listen to a lecture about the Popham colony by Bud Warren. He gave us detailed information about the history of the area and Ft. Popham.
Matt M.

The video crew had a busy day on Friday, completing the last details on a video and uploading it to You Tube. This is the first, all student filmed and edited video, of the Shallop project. Great job, Amy. You will see this video on Monday's blog entry. The crew then prepared to video our guest speaker, Bud Warren with three cameras. Cody was in charge of the audio and mid-level distance, Amy videoing close-ups and Brianna was videoing the audience and setting. The batteries in the microphone went dead half way through the lecture but this was just another "lesson learned". On a long video, make sure the batteries are brand new- or fully charged. PI

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Half Models and Thanks

Another busy day down at Maine's First Ship's new boat shop. Most half models of the shallop are finished. Students completed their final shaping and sanding. Students used clear pine purchased at Hammond Lumber yesterday evening for the backboards to hold the half models. We all learned from Will how to put a proper bevel, by hand, on our backboards. Once the half models and backboards were finished, they were screwed together and oiled using boiled linseed oil. The oiling process came with a lesson on proper disposal of linseed-soaked rags, which are able to combust when left in a ball.

For the students who finished early, we continued the process of converting BFC Marine's fright shed into a proper boat shop. Aaron made racks to hold chisels, carpenter squares and bevel squares. Nick and Matt filled the new lumber racks and created a rack for our new bar clamps as well as all of our extension cords. Speaking of extension cords, we received a large box of GFI certified extension cords, donated from the nice folks at Bath Iron Works. Signboards are nearly completed and ready for busy Front St. We learned how to properly whip the end of a line to keep it from fraying!

Mrs. Chapin provided the Girl Scout Cookies for our snack and we finished the day with a big shop clean-up and journaling. We had to pack the shop up for rain, as we still lack a roof. However, we have the roof materials (thanks to Howie Kirkpatrick of BFC Marine) and a potential roofer to get that taken care of in short order.

The last two afternoons have been wonderfully productive as well. WE NOW HAVE A TIMBER FOR A KEEL! Thanks to Tom Hoerth, Bath City Arborist, who found a nice piece of white oak behind his mill. We will get it milled into a usable piece in the next week, with any luck. Will and I also picked-up a new (loaned) band saw from Orman Hinds. Now Will can stop complaining about my little band saw. Thank you Tom and Orman!

Tomorrow we will work on the jig and start building the molds on each station. This is all very exciting and I thank all members of the Bath community who have made Maine's First Ship's shallop project a wild success so far!

Respectfully submitted,
Eric Varney
Shallop Project Director

Monday, July 12, 2010

Plane, Shave and Sand

Today we have continued to plane, shave and sand our half models. They are starting to take shape and many people have finished theirs today.

After we complete the construction and sanding, we then use boiled linseed oil to preserve and create a visual attraction to our hard work.

The final step is mounting the half models onto a backboard that we will create tomorrow. The main tools that the group has used are planes, spoke shaves, wood rasps and sandpaper. We are on the right track and hopefully coming closer to starting the shallop that we are anxious to get started by the end of the week.

Maine's First ship Student
Aaron Doughty

PS. We also started interviewing students for the upcoming "How to Build a Half Model" video. Peter will be working this week with Amy and Cody on video projects.- PI

Thursday, July 8, 2010

More Half Models and Workshop Materials

The weather cooled today and there was a nice breeze in the boat building shop. Today was filled with the cutting and planing of the water line on the half models. When students were finished with their work and others were still working, Cody and Amy took video of their fellow boat builders. When Matt, Max and Aaron were finished, they began working on projects to improve the shop floor such as building rail posts for a barrier to separate the guest area and the work area of the shop.

Volunteers were busy setting up displays and cutting wood for shop improvement projects. Check out the boat builders in the following video.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Safety and Half Models

This day began with a talk on the making of half models by shipwright, Will West. The students then cut out shape patterns for their half models.

Around 9:00 Laura Mathison, Director of Environmental, Health and Safety at BIW , explained the proper use of the equipment that BIW donated to the project for the safety of the students building the shallop. We had many visitors today from the press, BIW, Superintendent Shuttleworth from RSU1, a rowing crew that came off the Kennebec to see how the program was progressing, along with many other special guests and board members of the Maine's First Ship.

After the safety talk, the students went back to making their half models of the Shallop. First, they made other copies of the patterns, then traced around the patterns on wood in preparation for cutting the 5 wood pieces of the half model. Some even got started cutting out the slices of the half model. Enjoy a video summary of the day filmed by Cody Seekins, Amy Franklin and Patti Irish