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by Dave Lucas – Bradenton, Florida – USA

2014 Around the Shop

There's a lot going on at the shop right new so I took a walk around and got some pictures to show you. It's actually a lot busier than it looks in these because you don't see the guys going at it with the sounds of wood working tools, power tools, never hand tools. Thickness planers make a hell of a lot of noise when the blades are dull.

This one's the usual view of the dock when it's just Helen Marie and Chelsea tied up and Cessna in the water chasing something. We do get visitors frequently and have to make room for them which we love to do cause they always bring beer. Scottie in his Panga is always a welcome sight, he brings beer and teak wood.

The collection of kayaks and other misc little boats changes constantly but never seems to decrease in number. I'm not really sure who actually uses these things since it sure ain't any of us. People show up at the crack of dawn on weekends and go out. I only know that cause I see the tracks in the sand.

The Tiki hut and it's fancy swing with umbrella and big collection of custom paddles. Since summer's here we've been turning on it's air conditioners to keep the hard working crew cool. A fine mist of water and a big fan does wonders to an overheated hard working man. Steve zipped by in the Possum as I was shooting this one. Any excuse to drive this thing is accepted. If it was just another truck thing it wouldn't be half as interesting as it is; it has duel wheel hydraulic drive and big knobby tires and will go almost anywhere.

Jim is right on the verge of finishing his cool as hell fishing boat. The thing under the blue tarp is his new motor, it's going in this week. He's having fun playing with the sudden unexpected influx of teak we get from Scotty to do some fancy interior work. The way he's been increasing the scale and complexity of his projects there's no tell what his next one will be.

That's Wally's project boat on the right.

Junks, we got a junk in process. Stan's getting right with it finally. This is going to be the biggest 16 foot boat you ever saw. He wants a small boat that he can stand up and take his pants off in. He gets in trouble when he brings a new girl out and asks her if she wants go out in the woods to see his junk.

Laylah boat is outside waiting her turn to get a little TLC. I broke a boom jaw at Cedar Key and need to get it fixed. It's amazing how well she's held up all these years with the abuse I give her. And you see from the pictures I send how much abuse she gets.

This is the Melonseed that Jose made here a long time ago. He's given it to his son Albert and I brought it in to do some much needed maintenance. New mast, trailer wheels, cockpit combing, mast step, you know the usual stuff a boat needs but rarely gets till it's too late. One thing about being a true friend of the shop which Jose is, we'll take care of you for most anything but we do draw the line at painting and varnishing.

Steve's "Crazy Cat" pushed back in his shop. It'll take a while for him to realize that it's just a boat and he doesn't have to treat it like his girl friend. Although from the stories he tells, this boat takes better care of him than some of his girlfriends did. This did turn out to be one hell of a boat.

And here's my new toy; the best Core Sound 17 ever built. Another boat that Jose built here back in 06 that he let me adopt. He put many custom touches into this boat that the plans don't show so it would be simple for a single old guy like me to rig and handle, and that's just what I need. This one also needed major work to bring it back to life but it's been a pleasure doing it knowing that I'll have the best CS 17 around. A little bit of water sitting anywhere near wood for a long time can sure do a lot of damage. This is just the boat Helen and I need, with the dogs and kids and such the little Laylah boat was getting too tight. I may have to change the color scheme since these are the colors of the Spanish flag and I'm not Spanish, what are the colors for a boat bum? I still remember the day when four of us picked the two halves of the hull up and popped it into a boat shape, you need to see this done to believe it.

In the spirit of keeping thing simple and small here's the one we call the MEGA yacht. The dam thing is really starting to get us excited. The more Howard adds to better it looks. He just makes this rubbish up as he goes along and it always seems to come out looking good. He's getting down to the short strokes now and soon we'll be able to put this thing in the water and see if we can break it. The whole boat is glued together with PL Premium and nothing else, weights way less than the boat it started out being and will be slamming into the waves pushed by a 300 horse power Chevy V8, what can go wrong.

Wally's back on the job with this Lightening hull. I don't care what you say, let the man do what he wants with this thing. I personally like the idea of a boat with sides and a top zipping around the river and as I always say, it's really fun seeing what the hell these guys will think of next.

John's Everglades Challenge boat got moved to the back burner (or side shop) while I get the other boats fixed up but I'll be back on it soon.

Last is this one I'll refer to as "Truer words were never spoken". If you look at it long enough you may get a tear in your eye.

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