Category Archives: Production notes

Tools rule. The right tools, that is.

There’s nothing like having the right tool at hand for a job. Whether you’re an editor and videographer (like me) or a boat-and-wood guy (like Tony), your set of tools can either make a job sing, or a misery.

– Editing on a laptop with a scant 250 mb of RAM vs. a powerful system that renders and crunches video quickly
– Using a bulky sander vs. one that snugs right into the crooks and grooves
– A dull planer vs. sharp one
– Shooting a documentary on your iPhone without a tripod… ok that will just never happen.

You get the idea. Tools make a craftsman and woman’s job marvellous, or hell.

And when it comes to hand powertools, Tony relies mainly on Festool. The German-made line is precise, powerful, efficient and do exactly what they are meant to, without any extra fancy bells or whistles. His favourite, and the one he used extensively to sand off the old paint and primer from Dorothy (and to collect the lead-laden dust and prolong his life) is the RO-125, with the CT dust collection system that rivals no other.

But let him tell you why he likes it. Here’s a little video I did a few months back on his experience with a new sander Festool loaned him for a contest they called “Sand, Finish, Pass”:

Many, many more videos, ranging from some pretty funny fan videos, to slick commercial ones, can be found on Festool’s YouTube channel here.

Here’s to tools that WORK.

Happy working, sailing, refinishing or just plain lazing around. Tobi and Tony

Steamboxes, oak bending and baked potatoes

The Grove Woodworking School, located on lovely Gabriola Island off the east coast of Vancouver Island, B.C., is a marvel of order and efficiency. Tony Grove’s shop is beautifully organized – partly because that’s how he works, and partly because he needs every bit of space available, especially with a 30 foot sloop taking up most of the room in his shop, her bowsprit touching the bay doors, AND a painting studio up on the mezzanine.

Passagemaker below Dorothy-T.Grove

The man has worked in enough places (read: other company shops) over his 30 year career in boat building to learn what works and what doesn’t, and he knows exactly what he wants to see in his own shop. So, as I’ve learned over the past months of filming Dorothy’s restoration, when Tony works up a head of steam about efficiency, organization and putting everything in its place, I keep my mouth shut and just let it roll.

In terms of steamboxes, what apparently works for Tony is a humble design, built from recycled plywood, built as small as possible – pretty much the exact opposite of complicated and expensive. What doesn’t work is a clunky, permanent structure that takes up more precious room than it needs.

I had been so anticipating seeing this amazing steambox in action – picturing some long, elegant box that could fit a plank at least – that when he actually brought out his box to begin steaming some oak pieces to replace Dorothy’s forward straps, I have to admit to a little disappointment.

It looked just a little too humble.

Steambox set up outside Tony's shop

But really, I’ve learned, it’s about whatever works. (See previous post for more on the results from this box and photos of Dorothy’s new straps.)

Tony’s steamboxes are portable, so they can be taken apart easily and transported anywhere, and he makes them on the fly, to fit the piece of furniture or boat piece he’s working with. He makes them just large enough to fit the piece of wood he’s working with, so as to not waste a ton of energy heating up steam to fill a big box when it’s not needed.

And the heating agency is … shall we say … less than imposing. The box Tony set up outside his shop for this job uses a simple electric kettle recycled from the local depot, and a piece of rubber radiator hose.

Simple, efficient, economical, and it works.

Tony grove steambox special

And it makes lunch, too!

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At 1.5 hours per inch of wood thickness, (Tony was steaming and bending 1.5 inch oak straps) was just the right amount of time to cook some potatoes for lunch.

Potatoes steam box

What does your ideal steambox – or workspace – look like? Email us a photo at dorothysails@gmail.com and we could feature it in the next newsletter. Stay in touch.

Happy sailing!

Love from Dorothy HQ – Tobi and Tony

Replacing the first of Dorothy’s floors

From outside Dorothy

Dorothy has been patiently waiting for attention in Tony Grove’s magical woodshop for some time. At last, other work being cleared away, the boatbuilder could begin on her stem/keel and floors, cutting away the 117 year old wood and fastenings, and measuring new timbers and frames.

Filming this process was a bit difficult – or I’m frankly out of practice – because Tony works super fast (even with me slowing him down!) He moves from bow to bandsaw to sander to steambox to clamp station and back again while I’m still setting up my shot! Wonderfully challenging. So if you wonder why there’s a series of similar looking shots from the bow, it’s because I finally found a perch where he would keep coming back and I could observe him without getting in the way.

Dorothy's floor timbers from above

View from small hatch of the stem with keel bolt taken out. Her garboards were actually removed back in October 2012, a process we filmed on our first shoot for “Between Wood and Water”.

Here’s a series of images that hopefully will give you the “1000 words” behind the story. If anyone has any technical questions, Tony will do his best to answer, but as he’s still in the middle of researching, some answers will take a bit longer to get to. But please do write and comment! This is a great time to ask questions because it will inform us a bit on what you want to see in the documentary…

Total shock at how little is holding Dorothy together

Tony expresses his shock at how little is holding Dorothy together….. OK, not really. He was mostly trying to scare me, saying the bow would crack under my weight as he took out these frames! Yikes!

Tobi shooting from the bow

There is barely room for two of us in that bow – Dorothy is very narrow up forward, and this wide-angle lens makes her look beamier than her actual 10 feet.

 

Removing old epoxy from mast step

Tony has just ripped off the mast step, which was covered in epoxy, which made it suspect, but it was actually ok. At least it’s clean now.

Now we can see how the floor timbers fit together

Now we can see how the floor timbers fit together

This old bolt just popped out (which is not supposed to happen). Tony thinks it’s galvanized steel and is original to the boat. It’s been eaten away pretty badly as you can tell, it should be about twice as long.

This old bolt came off super easy, in fact the head broke off. Tony thinks it's a mixture of iron and galvenized steel and is original to the boat.

This is where the bolt was…

Unscrewing keel bolt

This bronze keel bolt is actually in pretty good shape, still has thread but the wood timber its supposed to be holding in place is completely gone.

This was the wood around the keel bolt, now obviously broken down due to electrochemical decay. Here with the new oak timber that will replace it.

This was the wood around the keel bolt, now obviously broken down due to electrochemical decay. Here with the new oak timber that will replace it.

So this is where it’s complicated – or can be. Building new frames and floors for Dorothy requires taking so many angles into consideration, Tony was scribing, measuring, considering, sawing, sanding for a good half hour for each. It was fascinating to watch/film, because he would spend all this time simply looking, analyzing, running the shape through his artistic/boatbuilder brain, and then fly into action and 20 minutes later… the pieces popped into place like they grew there – the first time! Amazing to watch him in action.

The old rotten frame coming out. There was almost nothing holding them to the stem/keel.

The old rotten frame coming out. There was almost nothing holding them to the stem/keel.

Here’s a measuring-to-bandsaw series:

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And then it’s necessary to keep testing them in place. This back and forth could take all day, but was relatively short this time around. Thankfully for the filmmaker and hungry boatbuilder!

Fitting in new floors

The piece on the right (port) will sister the frame going across the floor, which was steamed and bent yesterday.

The piece on the right (port) will sister the frame going across the floor, which was steamed and bent yesterday. These two sister/side pieces popped in for an exact fit – nice when that happens!

And then who doesn’t know how clamps work? Not much to say except they are pretty essential to any boatshop, as I’m learning. As I posted yesterday, Tony has about 50 in his shop, but could always use more. And someone on Facebook responded by saying “there are never enough clamps”. I guess it’s a universal thing…

Clamping new oak for Dorothy's floor

That about wraps our little inside look at the floor timber/frame restoration process. Lots still to come. Tony will be working on Dorothy throughout the summer, aiming to get her back in Victoria for re-rigging by Fall. So there will be frequent updates here, watch this space!

On the weekend I will post more about the Tony Grove special… a steambox that is portable and won’t break your bank!

Cheers, happy sailing (and restoring and refinishing and varnishing and polishing… )

Tobi and Tony and Dorothy

Off to the Post I go!

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It’s always so fun to send Dorothy swag in the mail, and I never get tired of writing to those who have supported us around the world.

Today we’re sending off 6 Dorothysails Tees, a package of Panacea Herbs organic goodness, and some lovely art cards from Gabriola. All part of the perks we get to give away to those who donated!

Giving back is fun. Almost as much fun as… say… Making documentaries! Almost.

Thanks again for supporting us everyone, we raised over $8,000 for the film, which is incredible!

More news to come. Love, Tobi

Dorothy loses her rubrail

Dorothy stern end no rubrail-Tony GroveLast week, shipwright Tony Grove began cutting off Dorothy‘s rubrail, which was rotting and posing a danger to the integrity of her hull. There’s a bit of a debate right now as to whether Dorothy was originally designed with a rubrail, but there’s no question that the rubrail she currently has (had) was put on fairly recently, in the last half of the century.

This rubrail had been made of red oak, which is a hardwood, but one that doesn’t hold up well in the marine environment. It was literally rotting away – deeply in some places – affecting the planks immediately beneath it. It’s fitted along Dorothy‘s sheerline, where the deck meets the hull. and sticks out about 1 inch to prevent the vessel from being damaged if something were to rub up against her hull. Rubrails can also be used to cover the overlap of the decking material.

Some argue Dorothy looks better – cleaner , more shapely – without it. What do you think?

Images below are pulled from footage shot October 2013, by Tobi Elliott © Arise Enterprises. (Some images will look a bit jagged because they are pulled off a preview version of the video footage. If you’re viewing this on in your email, the full gallery of images will appear much better on the original blog post at dorothysails.com)

The gallery below shows how Tony painstakingly cuts out around each fastening using a Fein reciprocating cutter, then chips away the wood to unscrew or, in some cases, unhappily snap the bad fastenings off that have rusted or rotten into the wood, which enables him to pry off the rubrail.

NOTE: We have extended our fundraiser for the documentary about Dorothy, which you can find here at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dorothy-documentary We have some amazing new “thank you gifts” available, among them jewellery pendants made from original copper fastenings removed from Dorothy, and turned into works of art by noted silversmith and jeweller Lindsay Stocking Godfrey, for $100. Check out the site, we are accepting donations for 2 more weeks!

Below: after taking off the rubrail, Tony uncovered this upper starboard side plank that appeared so rotten he just had to pry it off to see how extensively the rot had spread beneath. Thankfully once he got a look inside he could see the rot hadn’t spread far. All images © Arise Enterprises.

Removing rotten stern plank Ripping off rotten stern plank Looking into stern rotten plank hole

Dorothy Documentary fundraiser is live!

The homepage for our fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 for production

The homepage for our fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 for production

We are just 5 days in to our online crowdfunding campaign for the documentary about Dorothy, and already we have 5 lovely donors! Thank you to all who have donated or spread the word – we couldn’t do this without you.

If you haven’t heard about the campaign yet, check it out here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dorothy-documentary/ and watch the video. (and watch Tobi + Dorothy as never seen before…)

We have done all we can to film up until now out of our own pockets and time. But a documentary of this depth – with archival images, the retelling of sailing stories from long-ago owners, and some real beauty shots to show the love of sailing on this coast – requires a serious treatment. And this is where YOU come in.

Crowdfunding means many people (a “crowd”) from around the world each chip in a little to help meet a big goal. We don’t need a lot from each person, but we do need you to spread the word so a lot of people get on board. And then we can easily meet our goal!

You can help us out with 4 really simple steps: 1. Watch the video; 2. Pick a perk (gift) at the level you want to donate, 3. “Contribute” and off you go! (You need only a credit card or Paypal account.) and then 5. SPREAD THE WORD.

All funds go directly to production, making sure we don’t miss a beat in shooting this amazing story of Dorothy’s restoration, happening now on Gabriola Island.

Thanks for your help.

Love, love, Tobi and Team

Tobi, as excited now as on the first day of shooting, almost 1 year ago! Photo credit: Klint Burton

Tobi, as excited now as on the first day of shooting, almost 1 year ago! Photo credit: Klint Burton

All hands on deck for Victoria Classic boat festival next weekend!

Happy Sunday from Dorothy HQ!

Dorothysails postcard back small

Do you love classic boats, want to spend all day in the sun on Labour Day weekend ogling them, or would simply be happy to help out the Dorothy Documentary and restoration crew?

If you answered yes to any of those questions are are willing to lend a hand, we definitely could use it! We need about 8 people to fill a couple of shifts at the Classic Boat festival grounds in the Inner Harbour Aug 30th, 31st and Sept 1.

The work is fairly simple, and will win you a Dorothy t-shirt, a pint or glass of wine (or two), and our eternal gratitude!

There are two locations we need to cover: at Ship’s Point we will be set up under a tent selling Dorothysails T-shirts, handing out postcards (see top of page), and collecting emails to draw for a print of Tony Grove’s (see image below).

Second position is at liberty, you would be walking around the festival, chatting with people about the Dorothy doc, handing out postcards and collecting emails.

Sid Skiff, by Tony Grove

If you live in Victoria or the area it would be ideal, but I can also provide transport down on Thursday, providing you can get a place to stay. I may be able to help with that as well. We will meet at a pub Thursday evening to hammer out details.

As our crew (Kate and Tobi) are doing a number of interviews and wanting to capture the excitement of Wooden boat culture, we can’t be everywhere at once, so would love to have your help!

This is, after all, a documentary made by community. Thank you!

Love, Tobi

So what’s a Dorothy Doc Indiegogo, anyway?

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Producer Tobi Elliott and the amazing Allana Thorne of Thorne Crate Co. (www.thornecrateco.ca) at the Gabriola Street Arts and Fair last Sunday, promoting the Dorothy documentary and Tee-shirts, AND the best lil’ gift crates you’ve ever seen!

Dear Dorothy Documentary Supporter and Fan,

You may be new to the Dorothy team, or you’ve recently seen the project in the media, or you might have been with us since we started shooting the restoration process in December 2012 at Tony Grove‘s shop — or you are so excited about Dorothy you jumped on board and bought a T-shirt at the fair last weekend!

Wherever you come from… WELCOME to the adventure, THANK YOU for joining the team, and KUDOS for being one of the rockstars helping create this documentary.

I have to admit, I’m a little nervous right now… because on Sept 12 I am launching the biggest campaign of my life on Indiegogo.com, an online social fundraising platform.

Indiegogo – which is like Kickstarter but more global and less U.S.-based – allows anyone around the world to support a project and boost it from idea to reality. This campaign is to be able to fund some of the production costs for the documentary about the restoration of Dorothy, the oldest sailboat in Canada, happening right now on Gabriola.

Together with my awesome co-producer Kate Bradford, we developed a solid storyline for the doc (that wowed broadcasters and many filmmakers I look up to) captured some great interviews with previous owners, and have the Maritime Museum of B.C.’s total support in accessing the rich library of Dorothy archives. So lots of good news. The hard part is that we’ve had to personally finance the project, because broadcasters across Canada aren’t into supporting this kind of film (*another story! later date*)

Although we are totally committed to and passionate about this documentary, the financial load is a lot to carry, so we’re opening up the project to ask for community support. So, what IS this campaign about, and where are we headed?

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Here’s how it works:

1. SEPT 12 VIRTUAL AND ACTUAL LAUNCH PARTY at a yet-to-be-disclosed location, featuring the film trailer and a new video clip of Tobi getting embarassingly real and honest with her fundraising pitch. And of course there will be dancing and good tunes curated by some amazing friends of mine. You can even come if you’re in Montreal or the Azores, just log in to Indiegogo and give us some love.

2. SPREAD THE WORD: Through our website and Facebook page, I let people know the campaign has begun, and where the ‘Dorothy Documentary’ site is. The more people who are aware of the campaign and are getting our newsletters, the better chance we have of getting off to a good start – so please encourage people to enter their email in the “FOLLOW DOROTHY” box on our front page!

3. DONATE: People around the world can log in and donate any amount they want toward the production, or donate anonymously.

4. GET AWESOME SWAG IN RETURN: Donors get a perk at the level they donate after the campaign is over, such as a Tony Grove print, a crate of handcrafted goodies from Gabriola Island, a lovely package of natural facial care products, a work of art (the list of donor artists is growing by the day!), a Dorothy T-shirt, or a Hi-res download of Dorothy under sail from a period of your choice. Donors in the US can claim a charitable tax receipt because I’m working with a fiscal sponsor in the U.S., From the Heart Productions.

5. BE PROUD AND SING IT LOUD: You tell people that you just gave to the Dorothy documentary, and encourage them to do the same.

6. SUCCESS! We reach our goal of $20,000 to keep filming through this fall and winter without too much stress, and celebrate with YOU and a great party on October 30th! Yay!

Indiegogo homepage

To know more about Indiegogo, I encourage you to browse the site and read some active campaigns. As the world’s largest democratic global fundraising platform, they help 1000s of innovative projects – from unbreakable sunglasses to better socks, from the newest smartphone technology to in-vitro fertilization for an struggling couple to have a baby – get off the ground.

Final note: this campaign is not about money, it’s about community.

It’s true – I don’t actually have all the resources to pay what it takes to make this the beautiful film Dorothy deserves. But it’s not financial need that’s driving this campaign. It’s the thrill of not doing it alone.

As a filmmaker, I stumble around the world trying to understand things through the lens of a camera and audio recorder. Most of the time, when I come across a story I see a glimpse of something great, and then labour in quiet agony for years trying to capture the essence of that story for the world to see. (See “The Trapper of Peace River”) It’s a lonely and often heartbreaking process. And, I found out, it doesn’t really work.

You can’t make a film in a vacuum. Filmmaking takes a community. And documentaries, because they pick up on on social and cultural threads that touch all of us, are even more so. And frankly it’s not fun to bang your head against the wall in some kind of gloomy misunderstood-artist funk, and do it alone.

So I abandoned that idea, enlisted the help of some able friends, and wow, then things started to really get cooking! So many great things have happened since we began opening this up to the global community of Gabriolans and boat lovers and documentary fans that I know we are on the right track. People want to get involved, want to help, want to cross-promote and assist.

People are basically lovely, giving, generous human beings. I love people.

So thanks *all you wonderful people* for coming on this journey. It’s just so darned exciting to do things together.

Let’s make a movie.

Love, Tobi

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Global TV News story on Dorothy link is LIVE!

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Just one month until our Indiegogo production funding campaign begins! More on that in next week’s post… because right now there’s a lot of exciting news to share.

Last week saw a lot of press for Dorothy with both Global TV News and CBC Radio covering the restoration of this little gem of maritime history. In a stroke of terrible lack of foresight, neither Tony Grove – the wooden boat builder tasked by the Maritime Museum of BC with the restoration project – or I got to see the news piece but now it’s online.

So here’s the link: GLOBAL DOROTHY STORY. Please share around, put it on your Facebook pages, and tell your friends about it. Also please LIKE our Dorothy Documentary page as well!

(I clipped most of CBC-Radio’s On the Island’s morning show interview with me, so if you haven’t heard it, you can listen to a recording of it here on my personal website’s blog.)

Annnndd… more great news… Victoria’s Times Colonist is working on a major article about Dorothy right now, and I believe it will come out in tomorrow’s (Friday) paper. They said the article should have a prominent spot because there are lots of great photos (both Tony and Dorothy being rather pretty, as most will agree after watching the clip) so that is JUST AWESOME.

I’m heartened by all this great press and incredibly thankful for it, because it’s causing people to think about Dorothy as not just a relic of history, but as a contemporary story that can move hearts and minds. It’s bringing the global community of boat lovers and storytellers together — which is exactly what we need to make this documentary a reality.

We’re getting so much great feedback: So happy you’re doing the doc. It’s great to have this local story being shared”, “Love the up-dates… one kind of feels a part of something amazing this way,” and so many people writing to say they can’t wait for the documentary, they want a Dorothy t-shirt or to make a donation, that I know we are on the right track. If YOU believe in us and are helping us, we can make this important historical documentary an extraordinary story that will be seen around the world.

On Monday, I’ll write about how we’re going to use the power of community and the social fundraising website Indiegogo to help fund the production, and how you can help. Meantime, share the video around, and keep an eye out for that article in the Victoria Times Colonist.

And have a happy and safe almost-weekend – Love, Tobi

Indiegogo homepage

The #DocBus on the wharf in Victoria, PEI. A woman asked if I had really driven from BC. Yessirreebob!

The Dorothy documentary team loves #getonthedocbus thoughts and images. Producer/community screening organizer and all-around doc wonderwoman Mandy Leith is on a quest to kickstart documentary distribution in Canada. Check out her website http://getonthedocbus.com/ and follow the travel blog.

Send Mandy some love, she’s made it all the way from Victoria, BC to PEI, talking to filmmakers and doc lovers across the country about how to make the great films created by Canadians, seen by Canadians. Support the vision. We do!

– love to you from the complete other end of the country, Mandy!