Howdy randy,I'm unsure if my boat will make it to the show this year but I'll for sure be there with 5 or so others from jackson.Our restore project is very close to completion and that will be coming with us.It looks awesome! As far as my story goes I arrived in Jackson 5 years ago and really wanted some sort of craft to enjoy this area with.After enjoying a float through Grand Teton Nat'l. Park with a good friend John Fournelle ( who'd built a Ray kit boat with his dad )I was hooked on the wood boat idea.Shortly thereafter I read Brad Dimmock's book "The Doing Of The Thing" about Buzz Holstrum's life and on page 61 was this b&w photo of Buzz's second boat the Silver Steak pulled up on the banks of the Rogue and I decided right then I wanted to build a replica of this boat.One , because it would be unlike any other boat out there and two,I was impressed by Buzz's story and his view of life.I had big plans of bilding a balsa model first but all I ended up with was a cardboard version and I was on my way.
I had no knowledge of boat building but had quite a bit of woobworking experience so I just went to my local lumber yard and ordered sheets of meranti ply and bought my other woods. Not knowing proper wood selection I ended up buying hemlock and birch.Hemlock for all the interior and birch for the sheer rail and chines.I secured a rundown garage at a friends ski bum flop house and modified the space to accomidate the project.Within a week I had the stem and sides connected to a false transom and I could already see the finished product in my head.Next came the construction of the actual transom and the cardboard model provided me with the approx. dimentions. After redesigning the stem(steeper angle)I connected the side panels to the stem and finished transom,put a 4'. temp. brace mid ships for the floor width, and again refrencing my model, figured a 69" beam and installed a temp. brace there as well.
My next step was building all the frames and fitting them one by one to the interior.Cutting the chine log placements proved difficult but with perseverance and a few beers I figured it out.It is fair to mention here 2 important factors, a rocking chair that was left behind in the garage by a former tenant and a barstool at my favorite neighborhood watering hole.Both these enabled me to step back from the project and figure my next move, as most of my knowledge came from trial and error and common sense.
Once the chine log was installed I installed the floor and glassed it. I then flipped the boat and installed the inside rails then the sheer rail.The next move proved to be a pain in the butt as I attached the rub rail to the hull.I glassed next and found it is very difficult to achieve a good glass job when the rub rail is in the way.Despite this the glass job turned out fine.
At this point it was nov. And I had to vacate the garage and winter store the mostly finished boat to my yard.By March I was back at it building all the interior seats and decks and by the second week of april I had her in the water.Apon completion of the inaugural float with A.J.(Whom I barely knew at this point)it was back to the shop for some redesigning of the pass. seat setup and a few other modifications.Within a couple weeks of that I found myself launching on the Mackezie and floating to the boat show.
Since then I have learned a great deal about proper construction techniques,materials,proper epoxy techniques and much more concerning how to construct and repair a wood boat.Looking back at my notes I'm surprised she still floats given all the mistakes I made.None the less ,CRUZER as I have named her,continues to afford me the escape and pleasure I yearned for at the begining of the project.I thank AJ, Dutch,John Fournelle,the River's Touch forum,Brad Dimmock and especially Buzz for all the advice and inspiration to make my simple dream a reality.
Now I'm off to work on her some more ,as spring is on the way and a boat owner's work is never done. Cheers ,Kevin