Building an Adirondack Guideboat- A Floor board

Funny thing!  I have never seen another guideboat with a floor board.  There are guideboats with so called false gratings like that below.  According to Helen Durant,who co-authored with her husband Kenneth the all encompassing book, The Adirondack Guide-boat, these gratings protected the hull from the sharp heels of ladies shoes.

False grating in a guideboat.

False grating in a guideboat.

Ladies shoes? How did a work boat used for guiding “sports” from the City become so popular that provsion had to be made for women’s sharp heels?  During the later part of the 1800’s the Adirondacks became a mecca for those escaping the heat and pollution of the large cities, especially NYC.  Crowds brought by the railroad were transported to lake front hotels by steam boats.  One of the amenities of the hotels was to provide a guide and his boat for a day’s outing.  So the lowly work boat was gentrified and became a yacht meant for having fun.  Some guiding still went on but a majority of the boats built in the late 1800’s were sold to wealthy Great Camp owners or hotels.

To me, a floor board for a guideboat seemed to make sense.  When you step into a guideboat you encounter the feet of several ribs.  This is somewhat awkward since you are often in bare feet.  But I also fretted about the ribs.  Wouldn’t sandy feet or sandals quickly wear away the rib’s protective varnish?  So I decided that making a simple floor board for my boats made sense.  The extra weight of the floor board didn’t matter to me because I wasn’t going to be carrying the boat for long distances.

The floor board basically follows the profile of the bottom board.  This floor board is made of 1/4 inch thick tiger maple.  It contrasts nicely with the darker Spanish cedar hull.  I made two inch high stand-offs of Spanish cedar to keep it clear of the rib feet.  The floor board is fastened to the rib feet at three places along its length.

Floor board of tiger maple.

Floor board of tiger maple.

Close-up of floor board.

Close-up of floor board.

So, at last, the boat is finished!  I still need to fasten the oar sockets, or straps, but more on that later.

Coming up next “On to the North Country”.

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