Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Journey Of A Wooden Boat Build

Like most of the U.S., we've suffered a series of cold storms over the last several weeks. Temperatures were dropping at least 10 degrees or more below normal for these parts. An unheated garage meant that work on the build slowed to a crawl. And thus, material to write about has been slow to build.

However, there have been some warm days and I endeavored to take advantage of them, so there has been some progress. It looks like we are in for a number of warm days over the weekend, so that bodes well for moving the transom to a stage where I can get back to assembling the boat.

I seem to have a lower tolerance for cold than in the past, so it's with reluctance that I even step out of the house on days like we've had recently. During these times, the mind wanders, trying to hold at bay, the feeling of being a caged animal. On the warm days, I get a thrill when accomplishing something significant, seeing beauty in seemingly innocuous wooden assembly accomplishments like a frame placed into position, or a cut out added to a transom. I might just stand there and imagine the final form of the hull, looking forward to that day when I can finally slip it into the water.

Even when the task accomplished is something very small, a seemingly insignificant thing like sanding down a small patch of epoxy, or taping off a piece of wood prior to doing epoxy assembly, there is great satisfaction in knowing that another one of the thousands of steps has been taken and marked off the list.

When I started building this boat, I took on the task because I wanted something unique, and I wanted a boat, something I've never owned. My reasoning was simple enough, I felt that I could build the boat and have something I could never afford to buy, and spend less in the process. From reading comments in builder's forums, I knew that many also were enjoying the build itself, and I expected I would feel the same way.

Now that I have been into this for a year and a half, I am really understanding what it means by enjoying the build process. Sure, there are tasks that are tedious. But every task accomplished, big or small, brings that feeling of satisfaction, almost like a drug. It's hard to convey this feeling, but once experienced, it's something you want to experience again and again.

The other element of the build I didn't expect was an additional source of feeling good. This is a strange one, but it goes like this. For years, I have been working on getting my personal finances in order, reducing expenses, paying off debt, and the like. This has often meant that I give up on much of the small spending pleasures that normally occur, things like replacing clothing, or a worn out electric shaver. Granted, these are shallow experiences in many respects, but the cumulative experience tends to make you feel like you are at least doing okay.

So when I've saved enough to purchase that next piece of lumber, or a fresh batch of epoxy, or some silicon bronze screws for the next assembly, it tends to be a big deal to me and I feel good when I do this. Odd? perhaps, but in some ways, it is similar to checking off another task in the build.

Okay, well enough rambling. I mainly wrote this because it's been several weeks since that last posting and I felt the need to get something out there. I'm nearly at the point of having enough build material for a regular posting and hope to do that by the end of the weekend. The weather is improving, I have the supplies I need for now, and there doesn't seem to be any pressing other tasks to steal time away from the boat.

So until next time.......................

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