Crystal River Boat Builders

Crystal River Boat Builders CRBB is an educational organization which works to preserve and continue local maritime heritage.
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03/28/2020
A Rogue Mariner on the upper Thames

Stay at home, but do some dinghy cruising at the same time. This guy is good and there are a lot more of his videos on youtube! I've seen three and looking forward to more!
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This video is about dinghy camping on inland waters. It was filmed on the river Thames 29-30 September 2018, launching at Lechlade and sailing eastwards down...

We have been using axle grease on the SPIRIT shrouds.
03/23/2020

We have been using axle grease on the SPIRIT shrouds.

Our “Famous" Pine Tar Recipe

The Schooner Fame is an oak-on-oak 70’ LOA replica of a privateer from the War of 1812. She was built by Harold Burnham in 2003.

Fame’s standing rig is made of galvanized wire which has been parceled with cloth strips and served with tarred hemp marline. This is more appropriate to 1912 than 1812, but it is a time-tested standard for traditional standing rigging. To keep this rig in good condition the serving needs a twice-yearly application of pine tar to maintain its resistance to water.

The shrouds were made up by longtime Gloucester rigger Stan Dulong. Stan was in his eighties when he did this job. After delivery of the schooner, I asked Stan what the fishing schooners used to preserve their standing rigging, and he told me “Straight pine tar!”

Since we are a passenger vessel, my concern was that on warm days the tar would soften and drip out of the rig onto our guests. When I asked Stan, “Won’t straight tar make a mess?" he responded “Oh, yeah!”

We were then on a search for a pine tar mixture that would give set up enough that it wouldn’t drip on someone's satin blouse or cashmere sweater. Early attempts, using cheaper grade tar along with various other ingredients, proved unsatisfactory.

We finally arrived at a mixture which we like and is easy to produce and sets up soft enough to protect without dripping or cracking. I’m sure there are as many tar recipes out there as there are boats, but this is the one we like.

Use good quality Stockholm pine tar. To a container add 2/3 pine tar to 1/3 good quality varnish. Add to this a few capfuls of Japan dryer to help it set up. You can add a little black paint if you like to darken it up, but I find just the tar and varnish give a satisfactory color.

Slush it on with an old sock over your gloved hand and enjoy the smell!

We would love to hear from other Bosuns to get their recipes as well as other maintenance tips for future issues.

— Bernie Noon

after a lot of planning and a little doing the hole for the Sharkie's prop shaft is drilled
03/14/2020

after a lot of planning and a little doing the hole for the Sharkie's prop shaft is drilled

fresh deck paint on the EGRET
03/14/2020

fresh deck paint on the EGRET

Kevin putting on some glitz, new paint for EGRET's deck
03/05/2020

Kevin putting on some glitz, new paint for EGRET's deck

Rick's refurbished Marshall Cat ready for the water
03/05/2020

Rick's refurbished Marshall Cat ready for the water

Manatees in Chicago!
02/29/2020

Manatees in Chicago!

Egret tucked in for the storm
02/06/2020

Egret tucked in for the storm

EGRET launched, rigged and heading out for the first sail of 2020
01/15/2020

EGRET launched, rigged and heading out for the first sail of 2020

first wetting of Bill's newest home project, CLC 12' Sassafras
01/11/2020

first wetting of Bill's newest home project, CLC 12' Sassafras

With the SPIRIT move almost complete and the Egret water ready (maybe Wednesday) we can get serious about the Sharkie bu...
01/11/2020

With the SPIRIT move almost complete and the Egret water ready (maybe Wednesday) we can get serious about the Sharkie build again.

mast oiled and back up, "sails" up
01/05/2020

mast oiled and back up, "sails" up

A few pics from the move
12/23/2019

A few pics from the move

new cabin roof complete, on to a few more details in rigging before launching
12/08/2019

new cabin roof complete, on to a few more details in rigging before launching

11/25/2019
Sampson Boat Co

Sampson Boat Co

Traditional Boatbuilding and Joinery
Yacht Deliveries and Race Crewing
Writing and Journalism

putting some shine back on
11/24/2019

putting some shine back on

working hard to get the EGRET back in the water
11/16/2019

working hard to get the EGRET back in the water

bottom paint-no fun
10/30/2019

bottom paint-no fun

Egret is off the trailer, bottom and board look good. 2nd coat of epoxy on cabin top and final coat of cetol on cabin si...
10/26/2019

Egret is off the trailer, bottom and board look good. 2nd coat of epoxy on cabin top and final coat of cetol on cabin sides and coming

The scow SPIRIT is available for a new owner.  It can be made a boat again or kept as a great land exhibit. Some help wi...
10/24/2019

The scow SPIRIT is available for a new owner. It can be made a boat again or kept as a great land exhibit. Some help with moving may be available.

glassed the cabin top this morning, a perfect day for it.  one more coat of epoxy and we'll start putting it back togeth...
10/23/2019

glassed the cabin top this morning, a perfect day for it. one more coat of epoxy and we'll start putting it back together

it was just a tropical storm, we found a little dry time this morning to prep for pulling out the trailer for bottom mai...
10/19/2019

it was just a tropical storm, we found a little dry time this morning to prep for pulling out the trailer for bottom maintenance

roof panels are installed and trimmed.  A lot of little things to do in preparation of finishing but it will soon be com...
09/28/2019

roof panels are installed and trimmed. A lot of little things to do in preparation of finishing but it will soon be complete. We have also been enjoying visitors,many that come by as they see all the commotion (and old boats of course)

took the sway out of the sway back "ridge" beam and putting in battens.   The cabin roof panels come next.
09/11/2019

took the sway out of the sway back "ridge" beam and putting in battens. The cabin roof panels come next.

between dodging rain and guessing where a hurricane might go we have been making progress on Egret's cabin roof. It is a...
08/31/2019

between dodging rain and guessing where a hurricane might go we have been making progress on Egret's cabin roof. It is almost ready for the ply top. We will see the grain of the original oak sides and coaming too.

We've declared the USS Ft. Henry model complete (you can really endlessly keep going on these things).  We brought it ou...
08/21/2019

We've declared the USS Ft. Henry model complete (you can really endlessly keep going on these things). We brought it out for a visit by the Chronicle.

We no longer have a place for this beautiful 1928 Old Town canoe.  Planking repairs have been completed and the boat can...
08/18/2019

We no longer have a place for this beautiful 1928 Old Town canoe. Planking repairs have been completed and the boat canvased and filled. It requires gunwales,cane on one seat, paint, and final assembly. We are asking $800.00 but will reduce price for buyers provable restoration experience. We want this to be to be all that it can be.

EGRET topless
08/01/2019

EGRET topless

The EGRET is out of the water for annual maintenance and some rehab.  The cabin roof has been under a vinyl covering for...
07/27/2019

The EGRET is out of the water for annual maintenance and some rehab. The cabin roof has been under a vinyl covering for thirty years. There is a good deal of rot in the cabin sides to deal with along with a new top.

Address

1610 SE Paradise Circle
Crystal River, FL
34429

General information

The Crystal River Boat Builders (CRBB) began with an idea in the spring of 2009. The traditional boats used along the Nature Coast don't exist anymore, no one is building or using them anymore, most of the materials needed have disappeared, and the skills of yesterday's boat builders are being lost. The CRBB is an educational organization which works to preserve and continue the living traditions, skills, lore, and legends surrounding working and pleasure watercraft (predating the marine gasoline engine) in the areas surrounding Crystal River (the "Nature Coast"). The CRBB encourages rediscovering the design, construction, and use of these boats, and it embraces contemporary variants and adaptations of traditional designs. The CRBB plans to accomplish these goals through an active boat building program - an 1800's era boat (a 14ft Chesapeake Sharpie Skiff) was the first boat to be built. The boatshop where this boat was built was erected in June of 2009 and the skiff started shortly after. The measurements for this boat were used to "loft" plans. Only hand tools are being used and many (perhaps forgotten) skills are being re-learned, demonstrated and documented. Research and study of local boat building and use, involving historical societies, schools, and even Civil War re-enactment groups is underway. The CRBB would like to begin outreach programs to the community for educational purposes and perhaps work alongside established groups fostering interest in the nautical history and environment of the area. The initial motivation for forming the CRBB as an educational project was fostered by the personnel of the Central Region office of the Florida Public Archaeology Network. They are our founding sponsor. The Crystal River Preserve State Park quickly "came onboard" to support this effort. They are our host, providing space for our shop and use of the park facilities. The CRBB contacted the Traditional Small Craft Association, a 501(c)(3)organization, and began the effort start a local chapter. As we had begun our project, and had lined up such support, we were welcomed. The Friends of the Crystal River Preserve State Park, also a 501(c)(3)group, recognized the worth of CRBB to the park and the region, and our chapter has been assimilated into their organization with many reciprocal benefits.

Opening Hours

Wednesday 09:00 - 00:00
Saturday 09:00 - 12:00

Telephone

(352) 249-6996

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Videos

Our Story

CRBB is an educational organization working to preserve and continue local maritime heritage. We build replicas of the indigenous watercraft of the Nature Coast. Everything we build, we do by hand using traditional methods; and we try to use the materials and tools of the period. There is always a work-in-progress and we love "show and tell." Kids of all ages can get "hands on" with history. Our work tells the story of the fishing and transportation industries of Florida and especially Crystal River -- including, of course, the role of watercraft on the Nature Coast during the Civil War. We are a chapter of the Traditional Small Craft Association.


Comments

A rowboat carrying a wheelchair? I'm excited!
I was very happy to meet for the first time with Bill, Ed, Kevin and Steve yesterday. They all made me feel very welcome. The projects underway and awaiting their turn, will indeed be well tended to by these fellows! I've joined The Traditional Small Craft Association, (tsca.net) as a result of my visit to the CRBB operation, and I'll be returning to work further with this band of Merry Men! 😁⛵️🇺🇸
Would anyone down in your neck of the woods know of any experienced wooden boat builders who live up in the Lakeland/Polk County area who might be willing to mentor a novice?
Crystal River Boat Builders Bringing History to Life
My family was thinking about visiting Cedar Key this weekend. If we stopped by the shop on Saturday (12/22/18), would it be open? Would anyone be there? Is it open to the public?
Cedar Key November 17, 2018
You guys were looking great! I never got a chance to come over and investigate but I think I heard goats bleating. You transporting livestock as well?
Bev Elliot and Mike Pelletat sharing some stories at the shop. Mike is the author of The Spirit of Crystal River.