A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

LAMP Boatworks

March 6, 2014

LAMP Boatworks 2014 Boat Drawing Winner!

Posted by: Dr. Sam Turner


This year’s lucky winner of the LAMP Boatworks 2014 wooden boat drawing is Dianne Bay of the Cape Canaveral area. Her lucky winning Ticket is No. 1030. Dianne has until March 31st, to claim her prize!

October 1, 2013

LAMP Boatworks featured in Canada's Classicboat Magazine

Posted by: Chuck Meide


LAMP and the LAMP Boatworks is featured in the Fall 2013 issue of Classicboat Magazine, the publication of the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Antique and Classic Boat Society.

The article does not appear to be online, though the previous issue does feature its articles online, so it may appear there in the future. But I'll give you a little teaser here . . .

In addition to the Lighthouse, there are a number of smaller buildings on the site, and a few of those house the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) which conducts and studies old maritime wrecks. They bring artifacts up from their resting place on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, and, in some cases, the wrecks are chemically and electrically stripped of their salt water scale and corrosion for study and documentation.

. . . . In 2007 a plan was put into motion to start up a volunteer group to build these small boats. Maury Keiser took up the challenge and the lead to assemble and start up a small group of volunteers. Like most groups, they evolved and found their way. Start up funds and continuing revenue sources are always an ongoing challenge. The idea was and still is to build a continuing and expanding group that, with experience, will develop a more complex skill set in traditional boatbuilding. As more volunteers enter the program, these skills are passed and shared.

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks featured in Canada's Classicboat Magazine" »

December 6, 2012

Lucky Winner Takes Home Handmade Wooden Boat Built by LAMP Boatworks

Posted by: Chuck Meide

On Wednesday, December 5th, during the Lighthouse's Luminary Night holiday event, we drew the winning ticket in our LAMP Boatworks drawing. This raffle has been an annual event here for the last three years, and is a great way to fund our heritage boatbuilding program.

This year our boatbuilders constructed a beautiful little Chaisson tender, a stylish design dating from the early 1900s renowned for tending sailboats and yachts. The drawing was held at 8:30 pm and the lucky winner is . . . . Glynn McCoy, from Flagler County south of St. Augustine. Congratulations to Ms. McCoy for winning this fabulous little boat, and thanks to all of you that supported our boatbuilding program by participating in the drawing!

December 2, 2012

Lighthouse Seeks Volunteer Ship Model Builders

Posted by: Chuck Meide


From the article in the St. Augustine Record:

When Katie McNally, from Ontario, N.Y., donated nine model boats to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum in the autumn of 2011, one was held back. It wasn’t finished. It was the hull of the model of the British Ship HMS Victory, and it was being completed by her husband James G. (Jim) McNally, Jr. when he passed on in 2005.

The model ended up in the hands of the family friend, Doug Anderson, of Marsh Creek, who gave much of his time, driving and arranging the prior model ship donations to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, St. Augustine’s only Smithsonian Affiliate Museum.

The museum is looking for a volunteer modeler or modelers to take the unfinished hull in Anderson’s possession and complete it during the museum’s public hours. The volunteer or volunteers will be requested to work on the model and, at the same time, talk to the public about model building, why it is important to museums, and how it helps inform those who study ships and Atlantic Navigation. “There is much more to the art and craft of model building” than you can imagine, said museum curator Kathleen McCormick. The modelers can select from a variety of upcoming dates during the Sea Your History Weekends program funded by the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council.

We have already had a few calls from model shipwrights interested in volunteering. In addition to the model of HMS Victory, we also have an unfinished model of the Civil War privateer Jefferson Davis that is in need of completion. If you have these skills and are interested in donating your time to these projects, please contact us at 904-829-0745, or email Dr. Sam Turner at sturner@staugustinelighthouse.org.

Read the entire article here.

May 9, 2012

LAMP Boatworks Launches Hull #LMP0009!!

Posted by: Brendan Burke

Yesterday morning a brand new vessel slipped into the waters of Salt Run, a Chaisson dory tender built by the LAMP Boatworks. The hull is the ninth project from the Boatworks and is a style of hull that dates to the early 20th century in Swampscott, Massachusetts from the shop of George Chaisson. These popular and stylish 10' tenders were designed as auxiliary boats for larger sailboats or yachts. Their timeless beauty has preserved the hull type and this boat is the second Chaisson built here at the LAMP Boatworks. She has been built as the 2012 LAMP Boatworks drawing boat. Tickets for the boat are available here in the museum gift shop and are $5 each or a bargain deal of 5 for $20. The drawing will take place on December 5th, 2012 at our Luminary Night event. You stand a 1 in a 1000 chance of winning a beautiful little boat worth thousands, so get your chance now and we wish you luck!

Click here to see more pictures LMP0009, the Chaisson Dory Tender!

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Launches Hull #LMP0009!!" »

May 4, 2012

Update from the Teaching With Small Boats Conference!

Posted by: Brendan Burke

I am sitting on the banks of the Puget Sound this evening, waiting for dinner, and enjoying the beautiful scenery of western Washington state. Under my feet is a pebble beach, a log for my butt, behind me is a well ordered row of woody cabins. In front of me is a mile wide stretch of water about 48 degrees but crystal clear and full of sea lions, otters, salmon, dungeness crabs, and gray whales. On the other side is Whidby Island, framed at times by the even more distant but majestic Olympic Mountains. Rising to over 12000 feet, their snowy crags are a reminder of the youthful vigor of the landscape, the restless Pacific Rim. Eagles chatter and whistle from the giant cedar trees and the lapping of the water are all that meets the ears.

No trip to Seattle would be complete without a shot of the Space Needle, but I thought I'd add the flair of the conference to this picture. Superposed on the Space Needle is the mainmast and rig for the schooner Lavengro, a beautiful 1920s Biloxi lugger now sailing Lake Union.

But that us not why I am here. LAMP sent me here to learn from the best institutions in the country who build wooden boats and train young people in solid math and science skills using a philosophy that 'boats build people', not the other way around. Groups from all over the country are here to share their success stories in programming and it has been an astounding success. How do I measure this success? The 80 or so participants who have participated this weekend have kept a remarkable energy going to blend ideas, come up with new ones, and refine existing concepts of how to make our young people better, smarter, and stronger. While we do many of these things at the Lighthouse Museum with our education programming, we are thinking about making the LAMP Boatworks more of a part of this. It has been a successful part of the museum and deserves to share its skills with a broader group.

Continue reading "Update from the Teaching With Small Boats Conference!" »

April 25, 2012

4/25/2012 Lecture: Why a Chalupa?

Posted by: Chuck Meide


What: Lecture, "Why a Chalupa?"
Where: St. Augustine Yacht Club
When: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 5:00-6:30 pm
Who: Dr. Sam Turner, LAMP
Food: Beverages and light dinner available for purchase

This lecture is co-sponsored by the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation, and LAMP and the First Light Maritime Society. Dr. Sam Turner will be speaking about our joint project, to build an archaeologically and historically authentic replica of a sixteenth century watercraft used by the first Spanish settlers in St. Augustine.

April 16, 2012

LAMP Boatworks Update

Posted by: Brendan Burke

The most recent project at the LAMP Boatworks. Foreground left is the Chaisson dory tender, a 17' spritsail skiff to right, and a 1760s ship's yawl in the background.

A quick update, since I’ve been remiss in sending one for a while. I hope this finds you all in kindred spirits and enjoying this fine weather. Things around the boatworks have been heating up this spring and continue to simmer at a solid pace.

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Update" »

March 22, 2012

3/22/2012 Chalupa Keel Laying at Fountain of Youth

Posted by: Chuck Meide

On Thursday, 22 March, an event was held at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, north of the Lighthouse on the mainland in St. Augustine. It was a celebration of the start of a new boat construction project. LAMP is supporting this project by providing our partners at the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation and the Fountain of Youth with data from our archaeological and historical research into the traditional Spanish boat known as a Chalupa. Many of the volunteer boatbuilders from LAMP Boatworks will be participating in the project, and several of them along with LAMP's Dr. Sam Turner are spearheading the project.

The program was a great success and you can read more about it in the St. Augustine Record.

February 21, 2012

The Apple Jack and the Caravel (and a Clarification)

Posted by: Chuck Meide


The Apple Jack is one of the last wooden-hulled shrimp boats to have been built here in St. Augustine, by the famous DESCO shipyard. Until recently, Apple Jack could be seen out shrimping local waters, but circumstances have lead to the end of its shrimping career. Normally this would mean her equipment would be stripped and sold off, and her hull broken up. As a representative of the thriving shrimp trawler-building industry that was so important to St. Augustine during much of the 20th century, and one of the last working St. Augustine-built boats to ply St. Augustine waters, this is a historical vessel and one that is well worth preserving.

On 30 January the St. Augustine Record reported that a local group wanted to convert the hull of the Apple Jack into a replica of a 16th century caravel to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon's landing on the Florida coast (just a little to the north of us here in St. Augustine). It has been reported that a 20th century trawler hull is virtually identical to that of a 16th century caravel; nautical archaeologists specializing in 16th century Iberian ship construction would certainly disagree, given the evolution of the caravel form and rig in the 15th and 16th centuries and the ancestry of the St. Augustine trawler which can be traced to Greek boatbuilders emigrated to Florida in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. That debate is academic, of course, and what may be true is that any effort to prevent the immediate destruction of the Apple Jack may provide a respite necessary to eventually restore her. Original equipment from the Apple Jack is already being removed and auctioned off, diluting her historical integrity, so the window of saving her is limited. Conversion of the Apple Jack into a modern interpretation of a caravel would entail some significant structural changes, further diluting her original historical integrity, but the group spearheading this effort hopes to eventually convert the hull back and fully restore the historic shrimp boat after the 500th anniversary celebration. A more recent story, in the 20 February edition of the Record, has followed up on this project, and stated that plans are for the fully restored Apple Jack to "be on display at the St. Augustine Lighthouse."

This was an inaccurate statement. It is not that we are not interested in seeing the Apple Jack fully restored and on display to the public, but this kind of commitment is a serious undertaking that requires significant resources to do properly, and we can't responsibly agree to such a commitment without ensuring we are able to follow through.

Below the fold is a statement from our Executive Director, recently sent to the St. Augustine Record, to clarify our position on the proposed restoration of the Apple Jack, and its proposed temporary conversion to a caravel.

Continue reading "The Apple Jack and the Caravel (and a Clarification)" »

February 3, 2012

Get behind the scenes...

Posted by: Brendan Burke

Jacksonville.com published a nice piece about our behind the scenes tours here at the Museum. If you haven't take one of the tours, they are well worth it. See how the museum works, how we are learning about our past from artifacts buried in the seafloor, and learn about the many things which go on behind the veil to keep our history alive and exciting. Even if you have visited the lighthouse before, or recently, come back for this experience. Visit our webpage too, for more information on how to get involved, for more on our other tours and opportunities, and learn how to contribute to our museum. Read on for more information!

CLICK HERE for the link.

Many thanks to Dan Scanlan for this nice article!

January 30, 2012

LAMP Boatworks Update

Posted by: Brendan Burke

View image
The HMS Bounty, soon to be seen in our Nation's Oldest Port.

As usual, lots has been going on around the boatworks. Here's a quick update as to the most recent events...click to read on...

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Update" »

December 8, 2011

Winner announced in the Susan skiff drawing!

Posted by: Chuck Meide


After a year of excitement and anticipation, the winning ticket was finally chosen on December 7th, during our annual Luminary Night holiday celebration.

Mr. Zachary Diaz of Miami, Florida, is the proud new owner of this lovely, tradtional wooden boat, handcrafted by our volunteers at the LAMP Boatworks. The winning ticket, No. 1201, was drawn at 8:30 pm and the phone call to Mr. Diaz was broadcast over the microphone to the assembled crowd. Mr. Diaz was so excited that he was jumping up and down!

Congratulations to Mr. Diaz. He will be picking up his new boat in the next three weeks. Looks like Christmas came a little early to the Diaz household!

November 30, 2011

Another plank for the yawlboat!

Posted by: Brendan Burke

Things are happening around the yard here at the LAMP Boatworks. Yesterday Jim Gaskins and Maury Keiser attached another strake to the 1760s yawlboat. This boat is being built as a ship's boat for the GalveZtown, a ship that will be built in Malaga, Spain and arrive here in St. Augustine in 2013. The project is a reminder, or an education for many of us, that Spain played an important role in the American Revolution, similar to that played by France.

Click HERE to see a video of the strake being put on. Its not the clearest video but gives you an idea of what goes into just the laying of every one of the dozens of planks on this traditionalboat.

Click here for more information about the 1760s yawlboat.

November 23, 2011

LAMP Boatworks Update (23NOV2011)

Posted by: Brendan Burke

The USGC buoy tender Elm rescues the tug Beth McAllister on November 5th.

Click here for last week's LAMP Boatworks update
. I post them by email to our volunteer boatbuilders but its a good blog topic to keep everyone apprised of what it is we do here. I'll post some older ones too in the next blog entry. Enjoy!

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Update (23NOV2011)" »

November 15, 2011

11/16/11 Lecture: Cruising in Traditional Small Craft

Posted by: Chuck Meide


What: Lecture, "Cruising in Traditional Small Craft"
Who: Curt Bowman
Where: St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Anastasia Gallery (Keepers' House, upstairs)
When: Wednesday, November 16, 7:00 pm
Sponsored by: LAMP, the First Light Maritime Society, and the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum Chapter of the Traditional Small Craft Association.

Continue reading "11/16/11 Lecture: Cruising in Traditional Small Craft" »

November 14, 2011

LAMP Boatworks update (14NOV2011)

Posted by: Brendan Burke


Click here for the October 21st LAMP Boatworks update!
Click here for the November 23rd LAMP Boatworks update!

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks update (14NOV2011)" »

October 21, 2011

LAMP Boatworks Update (21OCT2011)

Posted by: Brendan Burke

Click here to see the October 21 LAMP Boatworks update!

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Update (21OCT2011)" »

April 21, 2011

LAMP Boatworks at the Florida Gulf Coast Small Craft Festival

Posted by: Brendan Burke

panorama copy.jpg

The late afternoon waterfront was still and flesh-warm. Only broken by the splash of a jumping mullet or the sudden outburst from a seagull, the glassy waterscape seeped Old Florida. Wooden docks askew from storms and time kept silent fishing boats bowing slowly to their slack moorings. This was, and is, the fishing village of Cortez, Florida. I stood with Matt Hanks on an old floating dock looking out over the panorama and letting the tension of a four and a half hour drive ease away. We were there to bring the good news of our lighthouse boatbuilding program to the Gulf coast, to learn about what other programs are doing, and to show off the William A. Harn, the first boat built by LAMP Boatworks. Follow along to learn more about LAMP Boatworks and the Florida Gulf Coast Small Craft Festival!

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks at the Florida Gulf Coast Small Craft Festival" »

February 24, 2011

3/19/2011: Boat Show 2011!

Posted by: Brendan Burke

Click the poster to make it bigger.

We are pleased to announce the 2011 LAMP Boatworks Boat Show, to be held on Saturday, March 19th. This is part of the annual St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum Lighthouse Festival. Last year we had a very nice collection of traditional watercraft show up from all over Florida. This year is our second year including a boat show as part of the Lighthouse Festival and we are looking forward to it! Boats we seek include traditional watercraft powered by sail, oar, or engine. This includes wooden boats built using traditional plans, methods, and/or materials. This is a fun event and if you have not visited our museum, it is open to the public for free on Festival day and we routinely host 5,000 or more visitors every year.

Continue reading "3/19/2011: Boat Show 2011!" »

January 28, 2011

LAMP Boatworks Plays Hookey

Posted by: Brendan Burke

LAMP Boatworks, enjoying a day sail.

Volunteer boatbuilders from the LAMP Boatworks enjoyed a 'thank you' cruise aboard Privateer Lynx this past Thursday, the 28th of January. The Lynx Eduational Foundation offered space on the cruise for our Boatworks volunteers as an act of appreciation for their efforts to revitalize the ship's stern boat. Lynx has now departed St. Augustine and will be reopening for tours in downtown Jacksonville on February 15. We wish her well!

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Plays Hookey" »

January 20, 2011

LAMP Boatworks Celebrates a New Launch!

Posted by: Brendan Burke


For the past several months volunteers at the LAMP Boatworks have been diligently working on the building of our eight hull, a boat type called the ‘Susan’. Designed by Robert M. Steward in the 1950s, this classic little boat got her feet wet this morning at the hands of the lead builders, Richard Sexauer and Steve McMullen .

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Celebrates a New Launch!" »

December 31, 2010

A Tour of Lynx

Posted by: Brendan Burke


A sulking schooner fell in with the British blockading squadron during December of 1813. Biting wind and freezing spray calloused a sunwashed seascape. Harsh winter light cast stark lines across the sleek vessel making her appear even sharper than she already was. Lieutenant Murray gently tacked the Mosquidobit and kept communication flowing up and down the line of British schooners, sloops, and frigates. Today things were quiet. Hardly a word was passed on deck to maintain the evolutions. No new sails, no news, nothing to do but pace the ship within its assigned box. Back and forth, back and forth, flags hoisted up, fluttered down, log kept, deck swept. Piercing cold wind kept Lt. Murray’s gaze down to clear wind tears from his eyes and thoughts wandered to this recently built ship, one of the fastest in the squadron and once a proud privateer known as Lynx. Only a few months prior, she had fallen into British hands at the mouth of the Rappahannock River and ended her role as a patriot combatant.

Continue reading "A Tour of Lynx" »

LAMP Boatworks takes on a new project!

Posted by: Brendan Burke

Lynx's ship's boat sailing to the Lighthouse.

The schooner Lynx, 'America's Privateer', brought their ship's boat over to the Lighthouse for routine maintenance and some repairs. Our boatworks is happy to take on this project and support the active preservation of maritime history in our port. Take a look at this video to see the smallboat rowing and sailing over to us!

Click HERE to view the video.

And click HERE to learn more about the LAMP Boatworks program!

June 9, 2010

International Partnership Gets Help from Galveston

Posted by: Beau Phillips

By Harvey Rice
June 8, 2010, 9:22PM

GALVESTON — Sam Turner had no idea where he was going to get enough live oak to supply Spanish shipwrights building a replica of the 1779 brig Galveztown, named after Galveston, Texas.

Then Hurricane Ike swamped the city Sept. 13, 2008, killing an estimated 40,000 trees with salt water.

“This project got kicked off in May 2008, and Ike hit in September, and the connection was made that there is a lot of wood there,” said Turner, archeology director for the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum in St. Augustine, Fla.

Continue reading "International Partnership Gets Help from Galveston" »

May 25, 2010

"Building Boats"

Posted by: Beau Phillips

Read the full story and view John Pemberton's great photos.

December 16, 2009

LAMP Boatworks Hull Inventory

Posted by: Chuck Meide


Welcome to the LAMP Boatworks Hull Inventory. This is an ongoing listing by Hull Number of all small craft constructed by LAMP Boatworks at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum.

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Hull Inventory" »

December 10, 2009

Prepping the Galveztown Yawl’s Keel/Stem Scarf

Posted by: Dr. Sam Turner


Today boatbuilders prepared the joinery, or scarf, that will attach the Galveztown yawl boat’s assembled stem post to the craft’s keel. This was done by clamping the stem to the keel and drilling pilot holes for the silicon bronze fasteners, in this case nuts and bolts with washers.

Continue reading "Prepping the Galveztown Yawl’s Keel/Stem Scarf" »

December 9, 2009

LAMP Boatworks Chaisson Dory Tender Drawing

Posted by: Chuck Meide


We are pleased to announce the LAMP Boatworks Chaisson Dory Tender Drawing! We will be giving away our beautiful little rowing boat, complete with hand-made ash oars, to the lucky winner of this contest. The 10' long wooden boat was built by our volunteers at the Lighthouse and its hull number is LMP0003. All donations received from the drawing will support LAMP Boatworks, our traditional wooden boatbuilding program.

Suggested minimum donation is $5 per ticket or 5 tickets for $20. The drawing will be held in conjunction with the Lighthouse Maritime Festival on March 20, 2010. LAMP representatives will be traveling with the boat to a variety of events and locations throughout St. Augustine, where tickets will be available, and tickets will always be available at the Lighthouse through the time of the drawing. The official rules to the drawing are listed below.

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Chaisson Dory Tender Drawing" »

December 4, 2009

LAMP Boatwright Visits Galveztown Under Construction in Malaga, Spain

Posted by: Chuck Meide

LAMP Boatworks chief boatbuilder Maury Keiser (right) and St. Augustine resident Roy Jaeger pose in front of the Galveztown's erect frames in Malaga, Spain.

One of our more exciting international partnerships is that with the Astilleros Nereo, a shipyard and maritime museum in Malaga, Spain. The shipyard is building a full-size replica of the Revolutionary War ship Galveztown, which played a critical role in the battle that switched Florida from British to Spanish control at the end of the Revolution. LAMP archaeologists provided archaeological data to inform the Malaga shipwrights as they designed the vessel, and our volunteers at LAMP Boatworks are just beginning to build one of two yawls, or ship's boats, to accompany the Galveztown on her goodwill American tour which is scheduled to begin with the trans-Atlantic voyage to St. Augustine.

LAMP's chief boatwright, Maury Keiser, headed to Spain on holiday this week and made it a point to visit the Astilleros Nereo shipyard. While there, he got a first-hand look at the Galveztown on the stocks, and got some great press as well.

Continue reading "LAMP Boatwright Visits Galveztown Under Construction in Malaga, Spain" »

November 14, 2009

11/13-14/09 Event: LAMP Boat on display at the Antique and Classic Boat Show, Jenson Beach

Posted by: Chuck Meide

Event: LAMP Boatworks' Bevin's Skiff on dislplay at the Antique and Classic Boat Show
When: Friday November 13 to Saturday November 14, 2009, 10 am to 4 pm each day
Where: Maritime & Classic Boat Museum at Indian RiverSide Park, Jenson Beach, Florida

Continue reading "11/13-14/09 Event: LAMP Boat on display at the Antique and Classic Boat Show, Jenson Beach" »

11/14/09 Event: LAMP Boatworks and boat on display at the Pirate Gathering

Posted by: Chuck Meide

Event: LAMP Boatbuilders and boat on display at the "Pirate Gathering" Festival
When: Saturday, November 14, 2009, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Where: Francis Field, St. Augustine, Florida

November 4, 2009

Boatbuilders at Work!

Posted by: Chuck Meide

LAMP Boatworks volunteer boatbuilders using a planer to smooth the sides of a future keel piece.

Now that the oppressive heat of the summer has finally been replaced by cool fall weather, there has been a lot of activity at LAMP Boatworks lately. This volunteer program is dedicated to keeping alive the dying art of building traditional wooden boats. Right now our boatbuilders are in various stages of building four separate vessels. With this flurry of activity, I thought I'd share a few photos so everyone can see our boatbuilders at work.

Continue reading "Boatbuilders at Work!" »

October 28, 2009

LAMP Passes Coast Guard Inspection

Posted by: Brendan Burke

The Chaisson Dory Tender, our most recent build.

LAMP boatworks has joined the ranks of American professional boatbuilders by passing its first Coast Guard builder's inspection. Marc Redshaw, of the U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boat Testing & Factory Compliance Program, stopped by for a surprise inspection yesterday afternoon. Sam Turner, head of the boatworks, gave Mr. Redshaw a tour of the facility and presented the Chaisson Dory Tender, our most recently completed project.

Last spring we received a Manufacturer's Identification Code from the Coast Guard and our prefix is 'LMP', which will go on every boat built here. While we have been operating under this certification, having passed the first inspection is a nice landmark for the program. Congratulations to everyone who has made this a success!

If you would like to help support the program, hull #LMP0003 can be yours. We are currently selling the Chaisson Dory Tender, with handmade ash oars, for $3,500. Stop by and see it at the Lighthouse Visitor's Center.

April 7, 2009

LAMP Archaeologists Rescue 100-year old Alligator Farm Logboat

Posted by: Chuck Meide


Friday was an exciting day! LAMP archaeologists joined a team of St. Johns County scientists to recover a 20-ft long, 100-year old historic dugout canoe from the alligator pit at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm. The boat had been sitting on the ground, exposed to the elements and to the activity of large alligators (one of which made her nest against the boat) for several years. We visited the boat the Monday before, and observed that it was clearly suffering heavy deterioration, which is why Alligator Farm officials were happy to trade it to the St. Augustine Lighthouse in return for another boat, a historic flatboat replica made by the volunteers at LAMP Boatworks.

Continue reading "LAMP Archaeologists Rescue 100-year old Alligator Farm Logboat" »

November 19, 2008

Back to 1888

Posted by: Beau Phillips

It’s Pocahontas Number Three coal, from the famous seam in Tazewell County, Virginia, and according to Brendan Burke it is great for blacksmithing.

After Burke moved the coal from the edges of the forge into the firepot, he labored at the blower churning air through the tuyere and into the fire. Green smoke rose from the coals as Burke fed the flames. “The smoke is just weakness leaving the fire,” said Burke. More precisely, impurities, like sulfur, burning off of the coal as it smolders create the green smoke and turn it into coke that is very different from the kind you would drink with your value meal. To a blacksmith, coke is the very high quality source of heat left once the “weakness,” or impurities, burn away.

Burke turns the blower with one hand to heat the steel
Burke turns the blower to heat the steel

Continue reading "Back to 1888" »

November 14, 2008

11/13-14/2008 Blacksmithing Demonstration at the Lighthouse

Posted by: Chuck Meide


What: Blacksmithing demonstration with a traditional forge. Items to be made include boat fasteners (spikes, nails, etc.), chain, oyster knives, etc.
Where: St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, by the LAMP Boatworks boatbuilding station
When: Thursday and Friday, November 13-14, 2008, 10 am - 4 pm
Who: Sam Turner, LAMP Director of Archaeology, and Brendan Burke, LAMP Archaeologist & Logistical Coordinator
For more information click here

Continue reading "11/13-14/2008 Blacksmithing Demonstration at the Lighthouse" »

November 8, 2008

Un-breaking the Mold

Posted by: Brendan Burke

The Xynides Boat House. (Photo courtesy of Lowell Beyer)

Standing on top of a pile of broken timbers, exposed nails, torn electrical wiring, and a healthy dose of tetanus-in-the-wings can be a normal day for a maritime archaeologist. We recently had some of those days and I report on them here.

Continue reading "Un-breaking the Mold" »

November 3, 2008

Milling Begins for the Galveztown Yawls

Posted by: Dr. Sam Turner


October 29th dawned bright and chilly. The day marked the beginning of the Galveztown Yawl Project at LAMP Boatworks. The Galveztown is a replica brig under construction in Malaga, Spain. LAMP Boatworks is a principal project partner supplying the Spanish shipyard, Astilleros Nereo, with Live Oak timber for the construction of the ship’s hull. LAMP is also assisting the project by building two yawls. These small ship’s boats will be 14 and 16 feet long and will travel nested on the deck of the Galveztown after the tall ship calls in St. Augustine in 2011.

All craft, be they ships or boats, require fairly special lumber. The process begins with the collecting of tree trunks of suitable timber and then milling them into the required dimensions and shapes.

Continue reading "Milling Begins for the Galveztown Yawls" »

October 16, 2008

Bent at the Lighthouse

Posted by: Dr. Sam Turner


Boat builders- job well done!

LAMP Boatworks has just finished framing the Chaisson Tender, a small rowing gig that has been under construction for some months at the Lighthouse. It’s an important milestone in the building of this particular craft and one for LAMP Boatworks as well. Frames and half-frames, also known as ribs, are important structural members of any boat. In this case half-frames were used and were steam bent, a technological innovation that gives boat builders a leg up in savings of time and materials. Steam bending is an important skill to master and apply and so doing places LAMP Boatworks further down the road toward a first class boatworks.

Continue reading "Bent at the Lighthouse" »

June 26, 2008

LAMP/Plymouth State University Maritime Archaeology Field School is Underway!

Posted by: Chuck Meide

The June 2008 LAMP maritime archaeology field school, accredited by Plymouth State University, is currently underway in St. Augustine, Florida. Here students Ben Siegel and Ryan Flory are in the background with LAMP intern Renee Post. PSU Professor Dave Switzer is in the foreground.

Continue reading "LAMP/Plymouth State University Maritime Archaeology Field School is Underway!" »

April 3, 2008

Sea Trials for the Barca Chata

Posted by: Chuck Meide


Most folks know that one of the most exciting new projects at the Lighthouse is our wooden boatbuilding program. Part of LAMP's First Coast Maritime Archaeology Project, the LAMP Boatworks is dedicated to keeping traditional maritime craftsmanship alive, while providing experimental archaeological and public outreach avenues to help us better interpret boat and ship remains preserved in the archaeological record. Our first build was a Bevin's skiff, a traditional skiff design available as a kit build through the Alexandria Seaport Foundation. While this inaugural and beautiful little boat was an undisputed fantastic success, many of us were eagerly awaiting our first boat to be built from scratch. This was to be the barca chata.

Continue reading "Sea Trials for the Barca Chata" »

March 6, 2008

Boat Launch a Yo Ho Ho Success!

Posted by: Kathy Fleming

Last Friday night was a wonderful Boat Launch Event, as we launched the Bevin Skiff now christened the William A. Harn, after Lighthouse Keeper William Harn, a man who was at Ft. Sumter as member of the Union army when it was fired upon. This small skiff, designed in New England was perfect for Harn, whose family might have kept such a craft for bringing in supplies from Steam boats named Fern and Armeria, when they docked on what is now Salt Run. This boat is the first finished product of our recently established traditional boatbuilding program, LAMP Boatworks.

UPDATED! More pictures and video below the fold . . .

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October 11, 2007

Big Day for the Boatworks

Posted by: Dr. Sam Turner

Monday October 10, was a big day for LAMP Boatworks. We installed the finished centerboard trunk in the Bevin’s Skiff, (our first building project, see blog To Build A Boat, August 2, 2007), made considerable progress fashioning the oars, built some sawhorses, and assembled a new tent effectively doubling our workspace. Jim Gaskins has spent considerable time meticulously fashioning the centerboard trunk. This piece is critical since it holds the centerboard to provide stability under sail but more importantly, has to be robustly built in order to absorb the shock transmitted to it through the centerboard during grounding events. The correct installation of this structure is also of great importance since it’s through the hull and subject to leaking if not properly done.

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August 2, 2007

To Build a Boat...

Posted by: Karson Winslow, California


UPDATE: Read more about LAMP's boatbuilding program in this Florida Times-Union article online.

Posted by Brendan Burke

Visitors to the lighthouse may now notice an abundance of hammering, sawdust, and wood shavings just over the fence from the lighthouse tower. This is the newly established LAMP Boatworks. LAMP has been fortunate enough to attract the skills of several volunteers who have prior boatbuilding experience and other who are interested and willing to learn about wooden boat building. With the combined resources of LAMP and these valuable people dedicating their time and labor, we are pleased to announce the boatbuilding program is well under way!

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