Sloop Scoop 6: Futtocks Frames and the Search For Carriage Bolts

The crew is humming along in Albany, the longer days a sure sign of spring and sails to come…

Many of the shipwrights have been focusing on making and installing frames these past few weeks. If the keel is the backbone of the sloop, the frames are the ribs coming out of it. Each runs from the keel to the sheer, the outboard, uppermost hull plank. The Clearwater uses the double-sawn frame technique in which each frame consists of many sections, called futtocks, put together to create the curve of the hull.

For framing we use the ship saw to create the bevel that matches the curve of the hull. Once it is time for planking, we use the steam box to bend the wood to the curved hull shape.

Repairing an old wooden boat is a challenge in the best of times. There are specialized tools, unique skills, and precise materials that must be used. One of those things that we have been searching for high and low are huge carriage bolts – up to 42 inches long! Because of the unique nature of these fasteners, we have to get them specially made, even more of a challenge and expense these days. These bolts hold new mast step to backbone of boat through major structural parts of the vessel including keelson and keel.

Tom Kindling is this scoop‘s Shipwright Spotlight. Tom first joined the sloop in the fall of 2003 as a month-long apprentice. He ended up staying on through the winter and returning over the years as bosun, cook, and winter maintenance coordinator. He has been involved as a shipwright in all of the recent restorations. When not working on the sloop, Tom gardens, hikes, and designs and builds trails with Tahawus Trails. This winter Tom is framing, framing, framing! Tom is happy to be back among the crew of great people that Clearwater attracts and help restore the boat that means so much to so many people.