“Notes from the Tiki Hut” – December 2016

by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

December 2016

It’s been so long since I talked to you that you probably assumed that I had gone on to a flaming Viking boat ride. Nope, no such luck I’m still here. The shop is slap ass full with boats in building and the holidays are taking a toll on some of the builders. Leaving Florida to go to Ohio or Kentucky for Christmas seems like one of those above and beyond things. All the kids should have to come down here instead of making the poor old folks freezing to death up in that frozen hell hole. NORTH

This is yesterday; we lit the fire just for the hell of it and turned the fans on to get the heat out. Notice the winter cloths. It’s 80 degrees here. That’s me, Jim, Howard and John in the picture.

Thanksgiving was a success, this time most of the tables were in the big new shop where my giant new boat is going to be built. 20 by 40 feet didn’t hold us all but outside was just as fine, Had about 60 this year with some spectacular food. Turkeys cooked four different ways and Ernie made some custom giant shrimp.

 

 

I meant to change out of my ratty old orange shirt and glue covered croks but didn’t and no one seemed to notice, I guess this is the way I always look. That big pile of white sand behind me is a perfect place to stick the kids. They’ll play there forever, in fact a couple of them stayed there going strong till almost midnight when their mom’s ran out of wine and had to walk on home.

Lenna got this shot of a couple of eagles keeping an eye on the carrying ons.

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I’d like to say that these beauties came from our shop but you all know what we think about bright finished boats. The best varnish is white paint. However, I do know the guy who made these. He’s up in North Carolina. Dale is a master and his fit and finish are unbelievable. His prices for these boats seem pretty reasonable. Check his site out. If you have some strange kind of disease he may be able to help you there also, he’s a doctor of strange things. I think Richard Honan needs one of these for his Boston clan, may even get a vet discount.

Next is “down under” John Hockings, master builder of all manner of wooden boats from day sailors to this nice cruiser. But like most of us it’s eventually hard to resist a good simple aluminum boat (or tinny) if you’re an Aussie. They’re hard to beat when you want a boat to just dump in and run in sheltered water. Personally, I think he’s gone over to the Dark Side. I know several John’s who have these.

This one is in one of the back shops right now being modified by our John. It was ok but he wanted just what he wants so he took the saw and started cutting. I’m not sure what it is but this shop will change you into a designer of just what you want, even if you have to cut it up and glue it back together a dozen times.

John is like a lot of you; never know what’s under the skin. He has a pickup truck and wears ratty old fishing cloths but also hidden in his garage is one of these. A supercharged Mustang with about a zillion horse power.

Here’s another John who’s building an aluminum boat down in Venice, Fl. He’s had boats all his life and decided to make just what he wanted. He’s a master welder and is doing everything by himself, well Dawn helps a little.

Another melonseed is going together in the main shop. Jim is a brand new boat builder and wanted to do one from scratch. I got Roger Allen’s plans out and showed him what a table of offsets was. I told him how easy it is to lay out, how hard can it be to go over 6 and up 4. He found out; after a while the numbers start to swirl around and the smooth lines look funny. Then he ripped up a bunch of wood and then Christmas came to slow him down. He’s really having fun.

Jim’s Scamp is flipped and it sure is a fat bottom girl. This 12 boat is huge. We all like seeing every stage of the build.

It’s so much fun that Richard is starting one. I ordered a set of plans for me so I’d have my own sail number back when we got Jim’s but got involved with that giant red thing you see in the background so I gave the number to Richard. He’s watching Jim closely and decided to pre-glass all of the parts before assembly. If you’re not an expert when you start you will be at the end.

 

Both of the big Garveys are coming along. Wally is having a hard getting his cabin the way he wants it. He puts up sticks and looks at it and moves them and looks at them and them starts all over. Howard is making a center console open fisherman with his. The Chris Craft with the fin is what he really wants to make but he’s dithering around. It would be perfect for him since he’s allergic to epoxy he could make it like they did before they had the stuff.

I got to meet my faraway family for the first time this Christmas. Ken is in the Navy in Japan where he met Ako and got married and had two smart little kids. Jouji (George) and Ann. They were here for a week and left just today. Kids were like you’d expect 1 and 2 1/2 year olds, run till they drop. We really like Ako. They’re in that giant 17 foot foam kayak I made.




2 Comments

  1. Dave,

    I really look forward to your posts. I’m a retired shipwright living in Northwest Montana and Winter is firmly in charge here. I still mess around building small stuff – kayaks, drift boats and SUP’s but only when the temperature gets up above 40F. That’s when my wood stove fire brings the temp up to glue and paint levels.

    Do you allow visitors? My wife and I are trying to do a big USA trip in the motorhome next Summer. I’ll bring the beer…

    John

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