Adding on to the Sacred Space
by George Shannon

(Be sure and read George's column on this same subject)

My guess is that no matter what size of shop anyone has, it could always be bigger. My shop (garage) was 400 sqft before I added 175 sqft this winter. Building Microtrawler in 1999 was a stretch in that space and I could only keep it in there until the hull was rolled over and the superstructure began. Access all around the boat was limited and machine space was at a premium.

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Teal was a breeze and I could crank out several at once if driven to.

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I began "Ellen", a 12 ft lapstrake sail\row boat, recently featured in Woodenboat.

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This required a floor jig and stretched the shop to it’s maximum capacity. I had to move some machines out in order to safely get around. After completing the floor jig about 50%, I stopped and decided to knock out a wall and add on a cutting room to free up some floor space.

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I have never built in the dead of winter with the ground already frozen 3 to 4 inches down. From the start I had to use a pick to dig the footings and had to keep the ground covered and heated to pour and cure the concrete. It took over a week for curing even after adding hot water and calcium to the mix.

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Working with an injured arm, I had to hire my son to do all of the heavy work and we had a good time working together. He is a far better craftsman than old Dad and much more patient. He said he learned a lot from me, but it was really the other way round.  The framing and rough work is the fastest and most fun for me.

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The rest of the work went easy for me because my son did all of that. The building inspector fortunately was a helpful sort and in no way made my life miserable. I know this is not true everywhere.

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So far after my shoulder surgery even with one hand, I have been enjoying the new addition. I look forward to completing Ellen over the next year or so and hopefully other boats as well.

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(Be sure and read George's column on this same subject)

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