Well, I'm committed. Or should be. Just received the first half of the lumber for a replica of Emery Kolb's EDITH, which was built 100 years ago this coming summer. The EDITH and its twin, DEFIANCE, rowed by brother Ellsworth, were built out of white cedar planking with white oak framework in Racine, Wisconsin. Brass screws, copper riveted lapstrake. My favorite style of building. The brothers launched in September in Green River, Wyoming, and followed Major Powell's route down the Green and Colorado to Needles, California, arriving in January of 1912. They flipped, wrecked, and wrapped too many times to count but came out with a book that went through 27 printings and a movie that still has the record of the longest playing feature in the history of the world. (It helps to have your own theater and start in 1912.)

I want to see what the boys were up against, so I'll be building the replica over the next couple months to row through the Grand and assorted other stretches next summer. 16'7" long, 4' wide. Should be absolutely horrifying in big water. I can hardly wait. Maybe I can write an e-book that goes through 27 downloads.

The original boats cost $450 for the pair. I'm in $2000 just for lumber for one so far. A tad of inflation, I guess. Here's the pile of white oak for all the ribwork, chines, and gunwales. The white cedar is in some freight depot in Vermont, abandoned by grumpy teamsters who thing it's too long and heavy to move around. I guess I should send them a case of beer or something.

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Comment by Brad Dimock on December 17, 2010 at 8:37am



Thanks so much for your kind words. That means a lot. Mostly I do what I do just to tickle my own fancy, but I also do believe in honoring, celebrating and spreading the legacy of who we are and how we got here, and who those old nutballs were that paved the way. In high school the two subjects I had the least interest or respect for were english and history. Now look! I write history. And rebuild it. Who'd a thunk?


If you ever do get down this way, do swing by the shop--I'd love to show you around. Many of my craft no longer live with me (sniff!) but I still have a loft full and more on the way! I'm home most of the winter, floating most of the summer.

Comment by Rick Newman on December 17, 2010 at 6:19am

Brad, I have read about your long term Involvement with the history of Grand Canyon Boating as well as your building of many replica's.  I want to thank you for your hard work and efforts in building, documenting and preserving this history.  When I was in high school, history was just a bunch of garbage about some things that happened well before my time.  As I have aged and matured I have realized that is much more and that without people like you and the preservation work that the societies you are involved with the ability for those that come after us to realize how important history can be and that is real and actual.


I would really enjoy seeing your shop, meeting you and checking out all the fine craft you have built.


Keep up the good work!


Rick Newman

Comment by Brad Dimock on December 16, 2010 at 6:47pm

Yeah, there are plenty of photos and a very nice set of drawings to work from. In addition, there is the actual boat about 75 miles north of here. I visited it last week and took a slew of pictures of some of the detail work. There's some damned tricky joinery but it looks doable.

Comment by Marc Tittle on December 16, 2010 at 3:19pm
A great opportunity to remake the Kolb film. Who is going to psoe at the Bridge of Sighs ? It will be great to see the replica on the water. Marc
Comment by Dave P on December 16, 2010 at 8:50am

Are there any photos or drawings available of the original boats? Sounds like a great project!

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