Tag Archives: boat restoration

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

The campaign of a lifetime

I just looked at the stats for our Indiegogo campaign fundraiser for the Dorothy documentary. In 25 days, since Sept 13, there have been 36 separate contributions, for a total of $2,785 – and… this is the best part… ONLY 5 days when NO ONE donated.

Isn’t that incredible?! Each of the 20 days, someone out there sat down and thought, “I want to support this project and help get this film made,” and then picked a perk and gave out of their hard-earned money.

Campaign update week 4

To me, that’s a miracle. Maybe from where you’re sitting, you look at this campaign and think, “They are so far from their goal! What are they thinking? Almost $7,000 to go and only 3 weeks left? What can she be happy about?”

But let me tell you, from where I sit, this is an amazing thing that’s happening, and I am deeply thankful for each and every person who has stepped forward to give.

Because it’s not about how much is raised. Really.

Truly.

Although my credit card company will tell you differently – that it’s very MUCH about how much we raise – I can’t this of this project in terms of dollar amounts.

I think of it in terms of how many people have been moved by Dorothy‘s story. Because that’s why I got on board. Not because this was going to be a great commercial enterprise. Not because I wanted to make a film that would bring in tons of money (otherwise I would have made it a reality series, with Tony Grove throwing mallets around the shop or something, and not an actual, quality documentary, which promises to make no money whatsoever.) Not because I knew a lot about boats or I was a die-hard sailor or I just love sawdust or boat shops or whatever.

Nope. I did it simply because Dorothy captured my heart, with her quiet elegance, her sublime design, and her pedigreed planks. She is simply beautiful, she is a living piece of history and she deserves centre stage. 

So for me, success would be that more and more people get interested and invested in this story every day, and want to see this film made. Raising funds is elementary. Raising community is much more exciting.

We will get there, no question.

Will you be aboard with us?

In faith and lots of gratitude, this (Canadian) Thanksgiving, Tobi

PS. I just found out via Facebook that an update on Dorothy‘s restoration is going to be featured in the “Currents” Section of Wooden Boat Magazine’s upcoming Nov/Dec Issue. Now, talk about exciting community!

Unearthing the stories in Dorothy’s planks

20130727-131702.jpgI’m sitting on the edge of Pilot Bay, my home on Gabriola island, watching the high tide and choppy water push and play with two sailboats anchored out in front of me. I marvel at the interplay of boats and water (even if they are only “plastic boats”) and am thankful as always for the joy Dorothy has brought to my life, personally and as a documentary subject.

I could say I’ve always loved sailing, but it wouldn’t quite be true because until 2003, when I took time out for a serendipitous 5-month cruise aboard the Afterblue in the Bahamas and Cuba and back to Toronto, I’d never sailed at all. But as an avid reader from my childhood, I loved stories of boats, particularly Dove and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the Narnia series. There’s something about the unpredictability of adventure on the sea that makes every boat story a compelling one.

So I am thrilled every day that I get to work on the story of Dorothy, because every day is a true adventure with her. As Tony (the boatbuilder restoring Dorothy for the Maritime Museum of BC) was sanding down her port side hull last week, after tediously stripping the paint, we could see a potential story in every plank, and new questions arose about construction practices of the day: Her original planks are flat-sawn, not quarter-sawn like you would typically see today. Is that because of available wood at the time, or is there a technical reason for it? Those original planks were scarfed together – was that common practice rather than butting them end-to-end? There is a mix of materials used for paying the seams – lead putty, Portland cement, and even epoxy used for patches large and small – what’s the story here?

Tony likens this unearthing of stories hidden in Dorothy‘s planks to an archaeological dig, and I would add that it’s a dig motivated less by cold scientific investigation than by human curiosity and empathy. This is not some inert, long-deserted dinosaur bone site, but a cherished family boat restored over and over again through the years by men and women who loved her and sailed her. Some had the means to give her the best in boat-building craftsmanship and the finest materials available of the day. Some simply did what they could with the tools and understanding they had, incomplete though they might have been. But no matter what finesse has been applied, it’s largely because of the heart, diligence and sacrifice of every single one of her previous owners that loved and cared for her that Dorothy can stand in Tony’s shop today, 116 years old and still able to handle a refit that will put her back in the water.

Forgive my musings, I know you probably want more practical information on the restoration itself. But I promise you, I am capturing absolutely everything I can on film so you can see the wonderful process one day yourself!

Here are some images from the sanding and paint stripping process that Tony undertook last week on her port side. This week he ‘s stripping and sanding her starboard side but no photos as I am filming it in timelapse and don’t want to mess up the shots!!