Last year about this time, we were launching Stella - a classic Tramontin gondola that had been used in an expedition around Staten Island in New York.
She's forty years old, so some pieces have some mileage on them.
The portela was coming apart in a few places.
I decided that since I'd never built a new one, I'd give it a shot.
The original portela served as a pattern.
Kalev and I cut out the new piece, and he slathered it in penetrating epoxy.
I selected an old piece of trim from a retired boat,
and cut it down to serve as top and bottom border.
Everything received five coats of shiny black paint and the whole thing sat for two weeks to cure - first in the shade, and then in the sun.
Finally it was time to add the finishing touch: brass.
When I was in Venice last September, I picked up several pieces from the Valese shop, and even visited Carlo at the foundry in Cannaregio.
I'd ordered all my brass weeks before the trip, but standing in the shop,
I fell in love with this one round medallion piece.
It was an impulse-buy, but I knew there would be a place for it.
Stella got a new portela.
It was an enjoyable task to complete, and thanks to the masterful work of Valese, the Lion of St. Mark shines in brass from the center.
To learn more about Fonderia Valese and their shop near Piazza San Marco,