Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Here we go again

Bulwarks, bowstem and some planks removed

Planks removed to access the bow stem

John Kveum- the shipwright and my good friend

Still intact

It's been almost twenty two years that I've owned the Bonnie J. I first saw her tied up to the transient float in Hoonah in the fall of 1989. She wasn't much to look at, but she was for sale and the price was right- $16,000. I really didn't want  a wooden boat. I know the amount of work that they entail, but she only had 1600 hours on a new Isuzu deisel engine and I was in the market for a bigger boat, so I purchased  her. Since then I've done so much work on her I can't help but wonder if I couldn't have bought a fiberglass boat by now- but I've never failed to come home from a fishing trip and I've been in some fairly ugly water from time to time so I guess I can't complain too loud. Last year when I hauled her out for maintanence I noticed that some of the planks wouldn't pull in tight against the bow when I tried re-fastening them. I asked the only shipwright in town to take a look and he confirmed I needed a new bow stem. It's one of those jobs, that when you tell your fellow wooden boat owners about it, they kind of grimace and give you a sympathetic nod, grateful that it's you and not them facing the problem, but at the same time acknowledging your pain. It's  a pretty major job, but one that  I won't have to face again on this boat in my lifetime. I'm having at least fourteen planks put in also. While I've got her out of the water I plan on putting in some new galvanized bolts in the fish hold. Some years back the operator for the boat trailer told me that the keel moved when he pulled the boat out of the water. Unfortunately he didn't mention it until I was ready to go back in. Needless to say I was less than happy. I replaced the rotted out bolts with all-thread, but it's a poor substitute, so I have the right stuff this time. It will still be a chore to do though. I had to tear out the two bunks down in the focsile so we could access the stem, so there was one heck of a mess to deal with. It looks like I may have to replace the forward deck too. It was done about twenty years ago, so I guess it's about time. I'm hoping that the money holds out to allow me to do all these projects, but I really don't want to put her back in the water until they're done. The good part is I'm getting an early start on these projects so I'm not feeling too much of a pinch for time yet- of course that could change depending on the progress I make. In any event, I'll do several posts to let you see how the project is moving forward.


  1. This is great news. I'm glad you are finally able to get started on this dad. I hope it all goes great. Take care. Brian

  2. Hey, well that's crappy, of I can help out while I'm down there let me know! Love ya!

  3. Hi Brian- yeah, it's been a long haul, but it's finally getting done. John is working on fashioning the bow stem today out at the cannery. He has a piece of Douglas fir he's using. I guess I'll help him put it in place when the time comes. He only has a few more days before he has to go back to his real job, but hopefully he'll find time to do the planks without too much hassle. He likes doing the shipwright work and it shows. I'm really pleased that he's working on it for me- I can't think of anyone better.
    Hi Autumn- it was kind of funny; Brian says that's great news and you say that's crappy. Hmmm... It's crappy to have to do the work, but great news that it's getting done by someone who knows what they're doing. Hopefully I'll be back in the water by the time you arrive, but if not, I'm sure there will be some work to do- thanks. Love you too.

  4. Really glad that you're gettin this taken care of before fishing season so you're not feelin the strain of haftin to hurry up and get out there! Terrific also that John is able to do that for ya...he's a heck of a guy...think the world of him n Sandy and the whole family...Miss you guys...talk to ya soon..love ya dad! AJ

  5. Hi Amber- Yeah, I'm glad to be getting it done now, although the weather is kind of crappy- cold and windy today. John got the bow stem made and installed. Now he's home doing a piece called the breasthook- sounds painful, but it holds everything together. I imagine he'll have to work on the planks as he finds time after work. He's got to go back to his real job on Monday. It's great that he's doing this though- I can't think of anyone more qualified. Love you too gal. Talk to ya later.

  6. Wow...a breasthook..yup...sounds painful alrighty! Reminds me of somethin they'd of come up with in the 1800s made outta whale bone or somethin!