With help, both financial and in elbow grease, from a lot of friends and supporter The Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) is wrapping up a series of upgrades at its South Lake Union headquarters that should assure that visitors this summer find the docks safer, safety boats reliable, life vests and foul weather gear dry, and the boatshop warmer when that cold snap in June hits….and you know it will.
“With new boats added to our rental fleet of historic craft, with our new neighbor the Museum of History and Industry open, and with the road construction on Valley Street expected to be complete by mid-summer, this season is likely to be the busiest ever at CWB’s South Lake Union location,” said Betsy Davis, CWB Executive Director. “It’s hard to imagine how we could possibly have been ready for it without the support from the community.”
Among CWB projects completed or nearly complete:
- New lighting and electrical service have been installed on CWB’s docks and to the on shore Pavilion thanks to funding from The Seattle Office of Arts & Culture and King County’s 4Culture, the agency that promotes heritage preservation and public art county-wide.
- 4Culture funding has also allowed installation of additional fenders along the CWB docks that protect the museum’s historic sailboats as patrons are coming back in from sailing on Lake Union.
- Safety of boats and people on the lake in Seattle has also been boosted by 4Culture’s funding for new engines on CWB safety Boats.
- Travis Industries of Mukilteo has helped insure that CWB’s boatwrights and woodworking students are warmer by helping provide one of its new Lopi Leydon woodstoves for the floating boatshop.
- Members of Associated General Contractors of Washington, whose office building looks down on CWB’s Lake Union site, are having a special impact at the museum’s by providing skilled carpenters, electricians, roofers, crane operators and other craftsmen for a series of projects, including:
- Lennon Crane is bringing in a mobile crane to lift docks in and out of water for repair.
- Cal Portland is providing a dump truck to remove debris.
- NCM Group is bringing in a dumpster for construction debris.
- KBA Construction Management Company is coordinating many of the services.
- Garner Construction is providing the operator and riggers for the crane
- Snyder roofing has committed to fixing up the roofing on the CWB Floating boatshop and boathouse.
- McKinstry has provided the materials and labor to install stove pipe for wood stove in boat shop.
- Gray Lumber provided the materials and the manpower for construction and repair of wood storage cabinets for life jackets, foul weather gear and other CWB supplies.
- Lease, Crutcher, Lewis has also provided teams for construction and repair of storage cabinets.
- OAC Services is designing a 20’ foot I-beam for the CWB boat shop so it is easier to lift boats out of the water and into the shop for repair
- Yakima Steel is providing the steel for the boat lift
- NECA, Holmes Electric and IBEW are working together to install 190 feet of 70 amp electrical conduit along CWB’s piers and on its floating docks.
When the value of the grants, donations and in-kind donations of good and services is added up the total value of all the improvement at The Center for Wooden Boats ads up to a total value of more than $120,000.
“The amazing generosity of our supporter and hundreds of volunteers who come down to clean and repair boats, repair the docks, stich new sails, teach sailing lessons, give free rides on our fleet of boats or just sit at the front desk with a welcome smile is what makes The Center for Wooden Boats what it is,” said Davis.
“It is that warm giving spirit that will continue to make Seattle such a vibrant city even as it grows, welcomes newcomers to the fold, and finds the time to value the maritime history where this all started.”
Sunday, May 19th, volunteers at The Center for Wooden Boats have organized their second Electric Boat Showcase.
From 11am to 5pm on that Sunday, visitors to CWB will see electric boats, motors and other technology designed to break boating of a dependence on fossil fuel.
Electric boats and cars were very popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. They were actually dominant until the electric starter and other advances in internal combustion engine technology and mass production of cheaper gasoline engines led to a decline in the use of electric drive vehicles. But history has a way of coming around again, and you’ll see how during this one day volunteer run event.
WHAT: Second Annual Showcase of Electric Boats and low impact electric technologies for recreational boating
WHERE: The Center for Wooden Boats, 1010 Valley Street, Seattle, WA 98019
WHEN: Sunday, May 19th, 2013, 11am to 5pm
COST: Free. (Donations gratefully accepted)
If you still have questions about what to expect at eBoat Showcase II, have a look at the summary of the first eBoat Showcase held as CWB last year.
The first session of the new Center for Wooden Boats/Northwest Seaport “Boatwright/Shipwright-In-Residence” program has concluded, and both organizations are planning on how to keep the innovative program going. The joint program was kicked off in the fall of 2012 with Allen Fletcher and Christine Jacobsen, both recent grads of the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock, coming to spend a 10-week residency at both organizations.
In exchange for a cabin, or berth on a historic tugboat and a small stipend, both budding boat builders got to work on the historic collections of The Center for Wooden Boats and Northwest Seaport. “The goal was to give new graduates that first on the job experience,” said Kyle Hunter, CWB’s Boatshop Manager. “If we can help those new grads gain experience and benefit from their fresh perspective from school, we both win.”
"This had all the components of our ideal program; living and working aboard our ships, pairing youth with experience, restoration through teaching, and close collaboration with our partner organizations,” said Nathaniel Howe, Nautical Archaeologist & Vessel Manager, Northwest Seaport. “It was great exactly what we were going for."
At Lake Union Park, Jacobson lived on the historic tug Arthur Foss, while working on a wide range of projects. Here’s her summary of her time as Boatwright-in-Residence at CWB (For more about her time as Shipwright in Residence on the Arthur Foss, check out the Northwest Seaport Blog)
Joe Green has one of the coolest jobs in Seattle and I got to work with him for 10 weeks as part of the Center for Wooden Boats’ Boatwright in Residence Program. Actually I spent 7 weeks at the Center and 3 weeks working on the Arthur Foss, a 124yr old wooden tug boat owned by Northwest Seaport. I also lived aboard the Foss for the duration. How many people can say they used to live on a wooden tug boat from the 19th century in the middle of one of the wealthiest Seattle neighborhoods? And daily went off to work using skills and doing work that has been done for centuries?
My days started with lying in bed wondering why winter is so cold, piling on as many clothes as I could and still hope to bend my limbs, and hopping on my bike to happily ride off to work. The main difference between the North Lake Shop and the Arctic is polar bears; fortunately this is the primary hurdle to enjoying working there and is somewhat overcome by layers and the occasional foray up the street for hot tea. The first several weeks of my time in the North Lake Union shop was spent working on the Colleen Wagner, an Egret Sharpie in need of a lot of love. I had the great good fortune to show up after most of the really hard work had already been done; I built a new daggerboard, fine-tuned a few things, and spent a couple days bent over in the most uncomfortable awkward position putting fiberglass in the bilge. Joe will claim he helped, but I’m going to go ahead and take most of the credit for the work done after I arrived. While the work didn’t involve a lot of the gentle scraping of hand planes on beautiful new planks or careful chiseling of intricate boat parts people often think of when the words ‘wooden boat shop’ are mentioned it was still interesting, challenging, and valuable for future employment prospects.
As a recent graduate of the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock, I came to this position with a lot of skills but by no means knowing all there is to know about boat building and boat repair. Fortunately, as a graduate himself and a natural teacher, Joe knew about my skill level and was happy to show me new techniques, how to use tools I hadn’t used before, and challenge me while not throwing me in over my head along the way. Like any good manager Joe was also willing to listen and accepting of my ideas along the way, as a woman I am usually right and it is so nice to work with someone receptive to that notion. While I spent virtually no time in or around the office, an important aspect of any job in my opinion, it is apparent that Joe and the North Lake Shop are well supported by those who do spend their days there, most notably Kyle and his never-ending energy and enthusiasm for the job.
After the Colleen Wagner was finished being painted and waiting for launch work turned towards a Blanchard Junior Knockabout, Pamela. As an aside I asked all the volunteers I worked with on this boat if he liked the purple paint on the interior. Answers were usually a resounding ‘No’, with the occasional open-minded, forward thinking, not-boring individual saying he liked it. I for one think the purple is wonderful and should stay as one of the best features of Pamela. Pamela needed and still needs a lot of love, including a new stem to replace the rotten one she has now. Joe and I patterned out the profile of the old stem, removed enough planking up forward to see what was going on (those who think the purple now is a little wild should see the colors it’s covering up), and got to work creating a new stem. A few measurements and a trip to the lumber store later we were ready to mill up and laminate a new stem for Pamela. An afternoon that could have gone wrong in so many ways ended up in the smooth glue up of 36 individual laminations into a new stem that despite the best efforts of Joe and myself fit in all dimensions and looks terrific.
This brought me to the end of my time working as a Boatwright in Residence, but certainly not the end of my relationship with the Center for Wooden Boats. I have nothing but good words for the organization; it is a rare place that draws so many wonderful people in so many different capacities and keeps them coming back. This country girl wasn’t made for the city, but dreams of a job half as interesting and people half as wonderful somewhere out where driveways aren’t paved and nighttime is actually dark.
Leaders at CWB and Northwest Seaport are exploring how they can work together to make the new program a permanent fixture of their organizations, and hope to have an announcement about recruiting for the next round of Boatwright and Shipwright-Residents later this year.
The Tower of Power…no, not the legendary soul band, a new electric boat motor….has sea-trials at South Lake Union.
Did you ever wonder what happens when a bunch of The Center for Wooden Boats volunteers with time on their hands and inquisitive minds look at the kinds of expensive new electric boat motors we’re starting to see on the market? They tend to ask questions such as, “Hey, maybe we could build one of those things ourselves.”
And thus, the Tower of Power was born. We’ll let Ed Hutsell, one of those volunteers, explain.
The Tower of Power Story
Or, Franken-Motor, It’s Alive!
By Ed Hutsell
It all started at the CWB Electric Boat Showcase last September. CWB member Joe Grez founder of the PropEle Electric Boat Motor Co., brought his boat Sweet Pea with a converted electric outboard on the back. Longtime volunteer and marine motor guru, Don Rothwell took one look and said, “Cool! We could do that!” Dave Barden, the resident electric car expert must have said, “Yeah, cool. We should do that.” but that’s lost to history. Anyway, the next thing anybody knew, Don dragged in his 35 year old, clapped-out Evinrude 18 horsepower outboard motor, and started tearing the thing apart. He and Dave Barden then tapped several sources and bought, begged and borrowed (we can only trust that nothing was stolen) most of the components required. Don set about fabricating mounting plates while Dave wired up a control box.
With the connivance, encouragement and occasional assistance of the rest of the CWB Electric Boat Team; Dave Erskine, Larry Smith, Ed Hutsell, Norm Petersen, and Jerry Hopple, what was then fondly referred to as “Franken-motor,” got assembled in the CWB Northlake Workshop & Warehouse. Then one cold day in early December, IT RAN!
Now renowned as the Tower Of Power, it found its way on to back of a borrowed Cama Beach skiff for testing in Lake Union on January, 18, 2013. That day testing was curtailed when an electronic gremlin was detected in the forward- reverse switching relays. In non-technical terms, ya can’t go both ways at once. Dave B exorcised that gremlin and testing resumed the next day and on January 19th ToP powered Cama Boat number 64 (One of the boats showcased in CWB’s new FishOn! Exhibit) smoothly moved out into the lake.
Well, it moved smoothly until they found out the 48 volts worth of batteries were actually more like 40 volts. Good thing Cama Boats had oars.
Okay, electric boats need battery chargers.
Finally, on January 20th, the ToP left the dock in grand fashion with the two Daves manning the helm and monitoring the instrumentation. They recorded a speed of over 6 mph and made 3 runs out to the red nun. Success. Testing and the Tower of Power saga continue.
One might ask why a bunch of wooden boat nuts would become electric boat nuts. Well, sustainable, clean recreational boating seems like a good idea. And, electric boats are in fact very traditional as evidenced by CWB’s electric launch Dora, a replica that harkens back to the ELCO electric launches built for the 1893 World’s Fair.
One might also ask, “now that you built it, what are you going to do with it?” The idea from the inception was that if successful, an electric outboard would be very useful, green and safe powering a safety and coaching boat in support of CWB’s sail training and racing programs. And anyway, the number of guys with time on their hands during a cold, wet winter had reached critical mass. Something had to get built. You can bet CWB will figure out a creative way to use the Tower of Power. Look for it on our docks.
So thanks to the entire Tower of Power team for the time and dedication. Who knows if it will become the standard on CWB boats, but it sure has been fun to come along for the ride. And if you visit the CWB Seattle Docks this spring and notice that funny looking motor on the back of one of our safety boats remember it is a testament to the Tower of Power that volunteers give to CWB.
And yes, if you look closely at the cover over the motor, you’ll see that it’s two diaper pails glued together, with a wicked looking fin added at the top. I’m sure that gives it some aerodynamic advantage…and they didn’t do it just cause it’s wicked cool looking.
Early this morning (December 29, 2012), Master Canoe Carver Sāādūūts lit a fire on the shore of Waterway 3 on Seattle’s Lake Union to begin heating rocks that he is using today to steam a 18-foot canoe being carved as part of “The Canoe Project”, a partnership to carve a native canoes at Lake Union Park by United Indians of All Tribes Foundation (UIATF), The Center for Wooden Boats (CWB) and Antioch University Seattle (AUS).
Today’s steaming ceremony is happening at the same time as the grand opening today of the Museum of History and Industry at its new location nearby, the historic Naval Reserve Armory in Lake Union Park. The new canoe will be launched into the waters of Lake Union at the end of the day.
“Opening day of the new museum is a good day for a steaming of the new canoe since it will bring so many people of many cultures together and allow them to honor the tree people who have been here so long,” said Sāādūūts, a native of Hydaberg, Alaska, who for 10 years has served as CWB’s artist in residence and is overseeing “The Canoe Project. “Carving cultural connections by carving canoes at the park is an important project.”
As part of today’s ceremony, rocks will be pulled from the fire when they are red hot, and carefully placed in water filling the bottom of the canoe, creating steam. The steaming process softens the cedar and makes it more flexible. The weight of the water in the middle of the canoe pulls the center down and allows the gunnels of the canoe to be pulled outward, creating the graceful curve and sweeping line of a traditional native canoe.
The new canoe is the first of two being carved at the location on the west side of Lake Union Park where United Indians of All Tribes plans to build the Northwest Native Canoe Center. The goal is to have the new facility become a center of native knowledge, skill, and a place for local tribes to show that Canoe Culture is still alive, thriving and contributing to the overall fabric of Seattle’s culturally diverse community.
The cedar log used to carve the new canoe is one of two donated by the nuns at Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in Bellevue. The trees needed to be removed from their property, and when told of the difficulty in finding cedar logs for The Canoe Project, they offered theirs. Through this winter and next year….students from Antioch University Seattle, local public schools and other volunteers will assist Sāādūūts and his crew in fashioning the new canoes.
Antioch University Seattle became involved in The Canoe Project as an outgrowth of the school’s participation in recent Tribal Canoe Journeys, which occur during the summer months drawing tribal craft from all around the Salish Sea. The school is incorporating the building of the canoes and support and study of Native tradition into its curriculum.
While these canoes are carved, United Indians of All Tribes Foundation will continue the planning process for the new Northwest Native Canoe Center at Lake Union Park. Plans call for construction of two buildings located between Westlake Avenue and Lake Union, just north of the Pedestrian Bridge across Waterway 3. The buildings will be made from large timber with broad glazed surfaces opening to views of the lake over the naturalized pebble beach already in place, which was graded to accommodate the launching and landing of traditional Native cedar canoes. The center would feature a range of activities highlighting indigenous maritime heritage, provide unique access to the Lake Union waterfront and offer distinctive, Native-inspired catering. The programmatic development for the center is to be developed by a proposed Urban Indian/Canoe Nation Tribal council
Anyone interested in finding out more about The Canoe Project can contact Cynthia Updegrave at Antioch University – Seattle. Those interested in the larger project to construct the Northwest Native Canoe Center buildings can contact Janeen Comenote,
New Exhibit “Fish On!” Opening at The Center for Wooden Boats December 29th Explores the History of Boathouses and Fishing Resorts of Puget Sound
Seattle, WA [December 19th, 2012], On Saturday, December 29th and Sunday December 30th The Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle is proud to open its newest exhibit, Fish On!, exploring the history of boathouses and fishing resorts of Puget Sound. The new exhibit will run through fall of 2013 in the Gallery in CWB’s Boathouse at 1010 Valley Street, in Seattle next to The Museum of History and Industry and Lake Union Park.
The new exhibit at CWB celebrates the unique period of Washington’s maritime history when major fishing derbies at resorts such as Cama Beach on Camano Island, and at Boathouses such as Point Defiance in Tacoma made heroes of a man or woman or child with a hand line, spoon, or bamboo pole and rented rowboat. CWB’s new exhibit records the stories, preserves the small watercraft, and shares images of the “glory days” of recreational salmon fishing in our region. The story of the development of Puget Sound communities can be told through how people interact with the waterfront.
“Warm memories of saltwater beaches and salmon fishing from small boats are etched on the memories of families throughout our region. Recreational salmon fishing in the early part of the last century was as much a cultural experience as a sport. Businesses, like boathouses, resorts, boats shops and tackle manufactures, that serviced western Washington’s love affair with salmon sportfishing drove local economies and buoyed entire communities,” said Betsy Davis, CWB Executive Director. “We keep those experiences alive for people today with our programs at Cama Beach State Park, and now with this exhibit in the heart of Seattle. The story of the ‘boathouse era’ is an important chapter in our region’s history.”
CWB’s research into the history of Puget Sound’s Fishing Resorts and Boathouses is funded in part by a grant from The National Trust for Historic Preservation that is helping CWB expand the interpretation at its second location, at Cama Beach State Park. CWB at Cama Beach is one of the last of the dozens and dozens of resorts that used to dot the waters of Puget Sound.
The boathouses and resorts phenomenon peaked in the late 1950s. At nearly 200 rental operations, anglers gathered not just to rent boats, but to swap lies, compare fishing rigs, and make friends. Fishing was a social experience. By the mid-1960s private boat ownership, declining fish runs, more stringent regulations and televised sporting events combined to forever change the spirit of recreational salmon fishing in Puget Sound.
The new exhibit includes historic photographs of many well-known Puget Sound resorts and boathouses, the stories of the people who ran and visited them, as well as actual boats that were used at some locations. Resort boats will be available for public rides on Lake Union, others will be on display or undergoing restorations in the CWB floating boat shop. On Saturday the 29th and Sunday the 30th, there will be opportunities from 1p.m. to 5p.m. for kids to make paper models of some of the historic boats or of the salmon that fishermen were always looking for.
State Fishing Map Circa 1957, The Center for Wooden Boats Collection
The opening of The Center for Wooden Boats newest exhibit was specially timed to complement the grand opening of the Museum of History and Industry at its new location, the historic Naval Reserve Armory right next to CWB in Lake Union Park. The park will be bustling with food carts all weekend, and many of the historic vessels permanently moored, or visiting, the park will be open for tours.
The Center for Wooden Boats gratefully acknowledges Ivar’s Seafood Restaurants for its generous support for this exhibit. “Ivar’s has a rich history as a company,” said Andrew Washburn, CWB’s Manager of Historical Projects. “We’re thankful that the company also sees the value of supporting research and exhibits that help residents of the Northwest understand and reconnect with their maritime heritage.”
Cama Beach Resort circa 1930′s. Photo Courtesy Stanwood Camano Historical Society
Cama Beach State Park Today. Photo courtesy The Center for Wooden Boats Collection
Not to worry! We have lots of friends to introduce you to.
For example, The Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor. They’ve got a great set of classes in the spring of 2013 on Half Hull Model Building and Stitch and Glue Skiff building. Details below, and you and find out more about this great museum on their website at http://www.harborhistorymuseum.org/
For more on classes and workshops at The Center for Wooden Boats, surf over to our website at www.cwb.org We’ll be posting the entire 2013 Program Catalogue soon….so stay tuned.
And one more reminder….if you’re looking for more interesting Northwest Maritime Heritage information and sites, don’t forget about the great Maritime Heritage Search tool created by the Pacific Northwest Maritime Heritage Council….and hosted online by Three Sheets Northwest. You’ll find it here: http://threesheetsnw.com/maritimeheritage/