Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Pre-Soak

Some of us have fiberglassed gondolas, but then there are the purists,
who keep and maintain their boats in traditional Venetian ways.

In my recent post "Four Feet of Cypress in Boston",
Joe Gibbons mentioned filling seams and bending boards. 
In this post we're talking about a season-beginning ritual
called the "pre-soak".

Gondola operators in regions that experience a real winter,
need to haul out their boats until spring. 
After several months out of the water,
the planks dry out and shrink a bit. 
The result, of course, is a leaky boat.
Sure, they could launch their boats, let them swamp,
and wait for them to seal up,
but it usually makes more sense to systematically
soak the wood prior to launching.

John Kerschbaum at Gondola Romantica in Minnesota
shared his ritual with me:
Usually I bottom paint,
put it down on plastic,
stake in 2x6 lumber around the plastic,
and fill it with water.

3 weeks soaking is optimal.
I might settle for 2 weeks this year,
because this year I had some rib repair to do,
so it put me behind a bit.

It's really just a small pool for the gondola.
This year John managed to get some topside painting in while the lower
end of the boat was soaking.  That's a nice little piece of multitasking.
Wet paint, and wet planks.

                    Last year John modified the recipe a bit...
                                     by adding a Golden Retriever to the mix.

I understand the dog went in after a tennis ball that landed in the
pre-soak pool, but once he was in there, he didn't want to come out.

Now be honest:
doesn't this picture make you want to get a dog just like that?

Soon John will be sliding boats off of trailers and into the St. Croix River.

Here's hoping he has a fantastic season, leaving him as happy
as that Golden Retriever was in the above photo.

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