Other than putting her name on her bow, Edith is pretty much done as of midnight tonight. Although there are a few days of tinkering and accessorizing left, Edith really came together this afternoon/evening. Pretty exciting. I'll fiddle around with her tomorrow and Sunday we will take her out to the lake for the big experiment. Does she really float? Will she stay right-side-up? I'll let you know. Anyhow, here she is. Lots more pictures and stories at




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Comment by Kevin C. on March 13, 2011 at 1:49pm
reading the post I stand corrected on dates(one of my downfalls) that Buzz hit up against Hoover...made me go back and start to reread the book to get my details straight....always a good read.
Comment by Rick Newman on March 13, 2011 at 12:08pm

Brad, thanks for your wonderous answers and the sharing of emotions and feelings. Years ago a couple of us had the dream to float the Middle Fork, Main and Lower Salmon Rivers on what to us would be epic multiday trips. We were accompanied by a changing cast/crew but by the end of the summer had floated all three sections and the connecting water in between. We didn't float them in order, eg starting at Boundary Creek on the MF and then on down. We had to coordinate permits, food, transportation shuttles and personality disorders.


The planning, preparation and anticipation was almost the most delicious part of the trips. The last section we floated was actually the Main Salmon from Corn Creek to the putin for the Lower Salmon near Whitebird, Idaho. I have to agree with your feelings, when the trip is done it is anticlimactic and you are left wondering, "What's next?" I will complete my fourth college degree studies next week. Yes I need to find a job, but I am wondering do I really want to work on computers all day long for the next few years? Do you need a swamper for any of your upcoming trips? I'd cook and work for food. My jokes aren't very funny, I could wear a jesters cap and try really hard!


I would really enjoy seeing your operation and meeting you. I think when you share a love of the river and the experiences one finds while traveling there it is easy to find commonality and friendship even if you haven't ever spoken or meet in person.


Keep up the good work. I got to meet and spend time with Tom Martin and Hazel a year ago and felt an instant kinship with them. He offered me the oars for a few minutes on his beautiful boat , I was in heaven


Your friend in Sand, Waves and Wood,


Rick Newman

Comment by Kevin C. on March 13, 2011 at 11:04am
Great looking boat,Brad,and I couldn't agree more with your reasons to build the classics.When I first set eyes on page 61 of "The Doing of the Thing" I said to myself,Wow ,now that's the kind of boat I want...noboby runs a boat like that anymore! Granted,I took some liberties to alter the design a bit and used more modern materials but the finished product continues to turn heads whether I'm softly floating down a scenic stretch of the Snake or plowing her through the waves of the Snake River Canyon.People are always curious to her origins so I'm often referencing your name and the book to explain the history."This was Buzz Holstrum's second boat he built in '35 before he built one and soloed the entire Green and Colorado down to Hoover Dam in '42" has been my response across the water more times than I can remember."Read 'The Doing of the Thing " by Brad Dimmock", I'll tell them in hopes that they'll catch the same bug I caught.I'll never forget floating the Yellowstone a few years ago and hearing from high up on the bank,a guy yelling,"Is that a Holstrum boat?",definately a good feeling to know you've constructed a historic momento from the past that's recognizable and appreciated.I'm launching at Lee's on 3/29 but regretably in rented rubber but someday I dream of being there in my own historic inspired woodie,handcrafted and able to experience what you must on your trips.Thanks for the inspiration and great work....Kevin   
Comment by Brad Dimock on March 13, 2011 at 10:52am

I forgot to answer a couple of your questions. I'll be running Edith from Green River through Cataract Canyon in a couple weeks, then through Grand Canyon. Possibly Lodore In a couple months. Then who knows?

As far as what part of the process is the best for me, that's hard to say. The planning and ordering of materials is a little scary--sort of like jumping off a cliff. So is the cutting of the first couple boards. Then the obsession takes over, jamming away day after day. But it is so gratifying, watching her grow. Finishing is fun, but in some ways anticlimactic. Kind of a "now what?" feeling. I'd guess my favorite part is late at night, when I am too tired to go on, just sitting and staring, loving the growing form, cyphering out the next move.

Buzz Holmstrom, when he finished his thousand mile solo run of the Green and Colorado in 1937, said he was surprised at his lack of excitement at having completed the quest, and found he had had his real joy in "the doing of the thing."

Yeah. Me too.
Comment by Randy Dersham on March 12, 2011 at 12:20pm
Fantastic job!

Question, where did you get the round oarlocks? Greg and I will be needing those foe the Portolan an d the Suzie Too.
Comment by Brad Dimock on March 12, 2011 at 12:09pm

Thanks so much, Rick, for your kind words. There were (are) four classic hard hulled rowboats in the history of the Colorado. Major Powell's Whitehalls (1869-1890), The Galloway boat (1896-1937), The Nevills Cataract boat (1938-1960-ish), and the Grand Canyon Dory,i.e. Oregon Drift boat (1960s-present). The rest are transitional boats or complete glitches, like the Hydes' sweep scow.

Of the four classics, a few dozen of us extant boatmen have had a chance to run the Whitehall and the Cataract. But as far as I can tell, no one alive has ever run a Galloway. None have been built or run since the mid-1930s. (For good reason! They are really narrow and impractical.) But it is going to be an incredible treat to get out there and run this goofy thing down Cataract and Grand Canyons next month. 

I'd love to say I build and run these things for the community, but the truth is, I mostly do it for me--for the fun of building them and the experience of running them. I am so damned curious as to what they were about. The joy of showing them to folks and sharing them with the community is tremendously gratifying as well, but only part of the reason why I am thusly obsessed.

As the late great boat historian and boatbuilder John Gardner said:

  "The way to preserve small craft is not to embalm them for static exhibits or to tuck them away in mothballs, but to get their reproductions out on the water, use them, wear them out and replace them anew.

  "Treated in this way, small craft are immortal or as near immortal as anything can be. Historic small craft are for the young and old and the in-between. They are to use and enjoy, and to pass on for future generations to use and enjoy, ad infinitum. Preservation through use, that is the only way."

Comment by Rick Newman on March 12, 2011 at 7:56am

Astonishing! You are doing a wonderful thing for the history of wooden boats in the Grand Canyon. While it's absolutely wonderful to see what you have accomplished I am willing to bet that the process and then the trip is even more rewarding. What part of the build and float process is the best for you? When will the Edith make her maiden voyage on the Colorado? I am in awe of your craftsmanship and envious of your boatbuilding skills and dedication to our history!


Rick Newman

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