Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Annual Open House Gathering

Just wanted to post a reminder to everyone out there that on November 11th we are having our annual open house. If you have been interested in our organization this would be a great way to come and see the work we do with youth. There will be some great testimonials from some of our apprentices and we will show a slide show of our past years accomplishments. We will also have some refreshments for you to enjoy. The best part of it all is that we have a silent auction for boats we have built in the shop. It could be a great time to get a wonderful boat and help support Urban Boatbuilders. So if you are interested please stop by. Our shop will be open from 6:30-9:30 and the program begins at 7:00. For directions to our shop check out our website www.urbanboatbuilders.org

Monday, September 21, 2009

Completing the apprenticeship

(Phil giving me my completion certificate)
Today is my last day with Urban Boat builders. I got a certificate for completing the year long job at Urban boat Builders. It's kind of scary because I think this will be one of my easiest experiences with a job just in the "working" business. I don't think I will ever find more caring, or nice people in my working life. Starting off I would like to personally thank Phil, Brian, and Dave. Also all the other people I've met in this job. I've met many very cool people in Urban boat Builders, by going different places that teach me about building.
When I started I wasn't very good at sticking with one task and finishing it very well, but now I feel like I can do almost anything in the shop that I'm asked. I've completed many boats, a paddle, and a block plane. I think this opportunity that I was given was very unique. We did a 62 mile trip down the Mississippi, which was the most fun I've ever had. It didn't even feel like work, it kind of had a camp like experience. We cooked, swam, played a game on the canoe "which was very interesting". We also camped which I always love. In the morning on the last night I found Phil sleeping outside on the table, didn't look very comfortable. We then canoed the last part of the day and ended with a barbecue. I will always remember that trip. Today as I'm sitting here writing this after eating little Ceasers pizza and cupcakes, I think about how fortunate I was to find a job like this. Where people treat you so well. I'm very excited to go out in the world and be able to share all the skills I've learned here with other people. Hopefully I can use some of them to do things my self. I'm very excited that I have learned all these skills because as a woman its very unique to be working in the building industry. I think it really gives me something to talk about and be proud of that I've accomplished something like this.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Hardening and Tempering our Anvil

Wow! We just got finished hardening an anvil that we've shaped over the past few months. The whole process was cool, but this was the icing on the cake. Here is the process in a nutshell:

1) Find a section of heavy gauge railroad track. (Ours was donated by Charles Nagel of Chanhassen).
2) Cut it to the desired length on a metal-cutting bandsaw. (Thanks Cazimir Sienkiewicz!)

3) Cut an appropriate profile with a cutting torch.

4) Mill the face (top) flat and mill a step into the face.
5) Grind the shape of the horn as desired. (Myles, Senior Apprentice, 15)

6) Drill and file a hardy hole through the face.
7) Drill a pritchel hole through the face. (Phong, Senior Apprentice, 18)

8) Complete any finish filing, and drill mounting holes in the base.
9) Fire up the forge; heat the anvil face and horn to red hot.
10) Test for magnetism; once the anvil loses its magnetism, it is hot enough.

11) Quench in a large vat of water.

12) Test hardness with a file.

13) Draw the temper using the forge; this gives us the hardness and working properties we need.

14) Mill the face flat (the heat usually deforms it).

14) Shield and anneal (soften) the horn with a torch.
15) Mount anvil on a stump.

16) Start blacksmithing.

-Phil Winger, Program Manager

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Update from the Instructors

Just wanted to update what has been happening in the shop lately with our Apprentices and the Interns. Phil and I run a program in the afternoons known as the Apprenticeship Program. This program gives us an opportunity to teach young people various skills such as boatbuilding, working with tools and developing work place habits. Some of the projects we work on are commissioned projects from people who believe in what we are doing and would like a wooden boat of their own to enjoy.

Currently we have a Cosine Wherry that we are finishing for a gentlemen in Chicago. This hull was cedar strip built and was fiberglassed over by a professional builder who stopped building in the middle of this boat. We typically don't build these type of boats because of the exposure to nasty chemicals and requires a lot of sanding which does not equate to good youth development. So since all the nasty stuff is done we are trimming out the boat with structural members. This will require a lot of skill from the apprentices, they will need to accurately cut and fit two quarter knees, a front breasthook and fit three thwarts and two seats. As of this point we have fit the two quarter knees the breast hook and one of the thwarts. Please come back and check the progress of this boat.

Another boat we have in the works is a Swedish Pram. This boat was designed by Mark Hansen of the North House Folk School and is a very enjoyable little boat. Our goal with this one is to teach traditional boatbuilding at some of our off site Boatbuilding Partners. This boat lends it self well to developing skill and good work habits such as teamwork, craftsmanship, self confidence and perseverance. Plus there is a lot of action going into the building process. Here we are bending planks into place and then riveting them to secure.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Urban Boatbuilders joins the 21st century!

My name is Sydney. This is me on Lake Phalen in a boat I built. I've been working at Urban Boatbuilders for 11 months now, and am the lead apprentice.
Working with boats 3 times a week really changes my thinking about crafting, and woodworking, and of course building boats. I never thought I would work somewhere were I would have the chance to do anything quite like this. I found UBB by going to a camp at the shop last summer. I enjoyed it so they invited me to come back. I think the experience that everyone gets out of this job is very unique and I don't think you'll ever really get another one like it. So far while I've been here I've worked on and completed eight or more boats. Thanks for taking the time to look at our 1st Blog!
-Sydney, 15, lead apprentice