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Part 6 of 8

Dorothy has been patiently waiting for me throughout the summer of 2014 as I took on other jobs such as building a small boat, a door for a fish boat and putting a new mast in a Folkboat. The filming of Dot's repairs for the documentary is also moving about the same pace, as Tobi the producer took on other filming work and odd jobs. And life, also, happened: the BC Maritime museum of Victoria, which is Dorothy’s custodian, is preparing for a major move later in 2015. As the move was hush-hush until only recently, they asked if I could move Dot's launch date by up a year which was the reason I ended up taking on other projects.

As she sits in my shop, taking up a good part of it, I sometimes accidently bump my head on her hull as I'm trying to move too fast and not paying attention to her, at which point I then calmly say "that'’s okay Dorothy, don't worry. I haven't forgotten about you."

But this winter it was time to get working again. For the last few weeks I have been pushing ahead working on her forward lap joint, which holds the keel and stem together, and I've replaced a bunch of floors timbers, frames and frame straps. The lap joint was pulled apart in its length by about 3/8" and I didn't like the idea of leaving it so far apart. So I devised a way to pull it together by temporarily installing a 3/4" ready rod at either end of the lap joint with a 3/4" shackle eye threaded on to it, to which I then attached a come-along. Then, while carefully listening for any cracks or pops, which would have told me to stop, I was able to pull it back together. It was a pleasant surprise and a bit of a eureka moment when the components inside, like the old frames and floors, all fell back into their rightful position where they had originally been.

The lap joints' original iron bolts had rusted away and I replaced these with silicon bronze, which I upsized from 1/2" to 5/8" because the iron had decayed the wood around the bolts. This lap joint, with all the bad repairs I found around it, must have been apart and leaking for a while. My other thought was there wasn't much holding that area together in the way of keel bolts and fastenings, and with the mast stepped right there and chain plates not far away and the ballast (lead on the bottom of the boat) just below, I figured one good bump on a log or rock would have easily busted that area open. The latest work I've done was to remove a bunch of furniture and sole to get at the old floor timbers and frames, and I’m now working on sistering frames and building new floors.

While working on this mid-ship bilge area, pulling out old wood and visualizing how it was built, why it was done one way over another and contemplating her evolution of repairs, an interesting thing happened. Perhaps an epiphany, or old ghosts planting thoughts – now, please don't think I'm being goofy – but when thinking of these men who built Dorothy I had always pictured them in black and white like the old grainy photos or films of the past, but at this point it hit me: I realized that these were men no different than me, probably even close to my age and I suddenly saw them in true colour. It was quite enlightening and hard to explain but opened my thoughts to seeing those men who built her and Dorothy herself in a whole new way.


Tony Grove: Restoring DorothyThe old floors and strap/frames are in rough shape and are being replaced.


Tony Grove: Restoring Dorothy
The mast step is positioned just over the lap joint that connects the keel to the stem.


Tony Grove: Restoring DorothyTobi filming the steam coming out of the makeshift steam box.


Tony Grove: Restoring Dorothy
Steamed white oak clamped into a new shape on the workbench and left to harden.


Tony Grove: Restoring DorothyBolting in the new oak frame/strap.


Tony Grove: Restoring DorothyThe old floor has a huge hole burned into it from electrochemical decay, sitting alongside is the copied new one almost ready to go in.


Tony Grove: Restoring DorothyThe new forward floors and straps are bolted in place; the orange colour is red lead primer.


Tony Grove: Restoring DorothyThe lap joint connecting the keel and stem was spread apart and had nothing holding it together.


Tony Grove: Restoring DorothyUsing a come-along to pull the lap joint back together, it all fell back into position nicely.


Tony Grove: Restoring DorothyThe old benches had to come out to get at the floors timbers that were under the sole.


Tony Grove: Restoring DorothyThe hidden floors under the sole with rusted away bolts were not providing
any structural support at all.


Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII | Part VIII



MUST SEE A Dorothy website: click here for link

BC Maritime Museum and Dorothy


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