Here is a quandary I just posted on my blog (

Ten years ago when we built the Julius, a replica of Buzz Holmstrom's beautiful, home-built 1937 expedition boat, Roger Fletcher and I ran into some serious design issues. As it turned out we had been trying to reconcile two set of photographs of the original boat, and the second set, I finally realized, had been taken after a subsequent owner had sawed two feet off the stern. Little wonder that our hull refused to come together. In the end, we quit trying so hard to force our ill-guided will upon Julius and let the wood bend the way it wanted to. And the wood defined the boat perfectly. We coined the phrase, "Listen to the wood." And Julius came out pretty nice:


Well, Edith has been telling me she would rather be about an inch wider than her namesake in the mid- and rear-sections. I keep clamping her into what the plans want and Edith keeps disagreeing with me. It isn't that I would not love to have an extra inch of buoyancy and leverage, and it isn't that she looks bad—she looks great. It's just that I am trying to make a fairly precise replica of what the Kolbs were using. I guess Edith and I will come to terms tomorrow when I put in her bulkheads. Here she is the way the plans think she should be:

At the moment, I suspect that Edith will win. The goofy way her predecessor's decks are framed don't appear to lend themselves to holding a boat in a shape against its will. Maybe we'll compromise and I'll just squeeze her in a little bit, so I can say she's "within an inch." And fr'chrissake, what's an inch matter anyhow? I want her to be happy.

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Comment by Roger Fletcher on February 22, 2011 at 8:05pm

You're a good "listener," Brad.

Comment by Dave Z on February 21, 2011 at 4:45am
Stellar work Brad.  I use your phrase all the time.  Roger told it to me once a while back when I was having trouble trying to torture a piece of wood as well.
Comment by Brad Dimock on February 20, 2011 at 10:24pm

Well, there is a sister ship, Ellsworth Kolb's Defiance. She's up in Green River, Utah, but I don't have any measurements off her. I launch up there in about six weeks, so I'll find out then just how similar she is to Edith I and II.


But in answer to your question, I doubt whether the Kolbs would have given a rat's hindquarters whether one was an inch wider here or there.


But I have a hunch both originals are pretty close, as they were built by a real boatbuilding company, and not by some wingnut who is trying to figure it out as he goes along (that would be me).

Comment by Robb Grubb on February 20, 2011 at 10:00pm


Great blogs these days, better than reading the news... Do you think that if the Kolb's built another sister boat to the the Edith that it would be identical and would they care? When ever I listen to the wood, 25 percent of the time it is saying "cCRraaAAAAkkKKK!" but most of the time it whispers sweet conformity...That is one great lookin' boat.

Cheers, Robb

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