Email This Page to a FriendPreview: WESTERN FLYER Restoration – Episode 35: The Original Wheelhouse is Reinstalled
December 14, 2021
Project Director Chris Chase's enthusiasm for WESTERN FLYER's restoration and the videos that bring it to life make you want to binge-watch the entire series, all the way from salvaging through to the nearly-completed state of her hull. She's a hunk of a boat— a 135-ton, 77 x 30-foot West Coast seiner that John Steinbeck wrote about in The Sea of Cortez and The Log From the Sea of Cortez after he and his biologist friend Ed Ricketts cruised there aboard WESTERN FLYER in 1940.
Managed by the Western Flyer Foundation, the vessel is presently in one of the Port Townsend Shipwrights Co-Op sheds, not far from where Leo Goolden has relocated TALLY HO. WESTERN FLYER was built in 1937 by The Western Boat Building Co. of Tacoma, one of the many, many seiners and commercial craft turned out by that yard between its founding in 1916 and its last launching in 1982. Tim Lee and Mike Rust head up the FLYER's restoration crew whose numbers have ranged between four and ten since the project began in early 2019.
Even if your interest is in building small craft, you'll find plenty of helpful techniques here despite portable tools being called upon more often to shape the heavy timbers.
December 9, 2021 - Episode 35: The Original Wheelhouse is Reinstalled
After 36 months, WESTERN FLYER saw a little bit of sunlight and was reunited with her original wheelhouse. The whole operation took place outside the shop, as the house would no longer fit over the new, slightly larger bulwarks inside. Both the hull and the house have received thorough restorations and are looking incredibly sharp with their new white paint and green trim, and especially proper back together as one whole boat.