Friday, October 28, 2011


This stamp was recently brought to our attention by egillis indirectly through the Maine Historical Society.  It seems that the VIRGINIA has been an important piece of Maine history for many years.
The 3-cent Virginia of Sagadahock stamp commemorating the 350th anniversary of shipbuilding in America was issued on August 15, 1957, in Bath, Maine.
The stamp has for its central design a sailing vessel typical of the early seventeenth century. The State Seal of Maine, located on the upper right area, identifies the incident. Across the top of the stamp is the wording "1607 Shipbuilding 1957." The wording "The Virginia of Sagadahock," arranged in two lines, appears directly above the vessel's mainsail. The wording "Popham Colony," in two lines, is shown beneath the state seal and "United States Postage" appears across the bottom of the stamp. All of the above lettering is drawn in dark Gothic. The denomination numeral "3" in whiteface Gothic and the symbol in dark face are located in the lower right corner. Ervine Metzel, William Zorach, A. M. Main, Jr., and George F. Cary II designed the stamp.
The stamp is 0.85 by 0.98 of an inch in dimension, arranged vertically, printed by the rotary process, electric-eye perforated, and issued in sheets of seventy. The color of the stamp is purple. The printing of 120 million of these stamps was authorized.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Exchange Student Lofting

A German exchange student, Jonathan Schuetze, came to the MFS project this fall and helped with the lofting.  This blog was written by him.  Enjoy!

My name is Jonathan Schuetze,
I live in Germany in a village near Munich.
I attend a private school; it’s called Freie Schule Glonntal.
You can see something under: www.Freie Schule
I will take my final exam in 2012.

In my free time I play basketball with my friends and have done martial arts for one year. But sometimes I also work on the weekends on events. I set up chairs, tables and bars, etc.. It‘s very exhausting because sometimes I work 40 hours in two days!   

I also play guitar; I learned it by myself 1 1/2 years ago. I started songwriting 6 weeks after beginning guitar.  I also play two wind instruments. I started with a wind instrument called Tenorhorn 8 years ago; two years ago I started playing Trombone, too. I’ve been in a brass band since I started playing. We play music by Bryan Adams or “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, waltzes and music from the Oktoberfest, too.  This is traditional Bavarian music that Americans call “Oompah” happy music.  I went with the brass band to Lisbon, Portugal to play there. It was so great; the residents were enthusiastic and the atmosphere was incredible!

But now, something about my visit here in the USA in Phippsburg, ME.

My English teacher’s family lives in Phippsburg.
Jonathan Emerson asked me whether I wanted to stay with his family at Edgewater Farm to learn English. I said, “Yes!  Why not!?!”  and so I left Germany on the 13th of September and bussed up to Bath from Boston.  He also told me about a big project in Bath (Maine’s First Ship).  He said I could help them in various ways.
So, here I am!

Maine’s First Ship, the pinnace, Virginia.  The Preparation:
Rob Stevens and Will West are doing the preparation of the ship; it’s called “Lofting.”   Lofting!?!  But, what does that mean really?

Here is a small summary of what I found on the internet:
 “Lofting is the process of drawing the hull lines full size from the designer’s scale drawings. The intersections of the contours of various horizontal and vertical sections are measured from an imaginary “base line” using an architect’s scale. These junctions are then laid out, point by point, in their full size. Because it is difficult to take accurate dimensions from a small drawing, it is necessary to adjust these lines to assure that they are “fair.” A listing of these points is called a table of offsets. It takes a lot of space to loft. This, along with the difficulty, makes it a daunting task and a real drag to those
builders who just want to get at the “wood.” All GLEN-L designs have full size lofting required.”  (
For example this piece of the ship is called a” stem”.  It is connected to the keel and it forms the bow from a boat.

Each part has lines on the top of it, which have to agree with the lines on the floor!

The stem is constructed from four different forms.

But before the 4 forms get fixed, they are painted red on the side where a special glue is applied.
The special glue, called “bedding” is a mix from three different substances - they are all natural and they were used 400 years ago!
They are: pine tar, horse hair and cow manure.

After painting and bedding, the forms get bolted so that they can’t move and it gives the stem more strength!

Friday, September 9, 2011

More Bows are Up

Amazing progress continues on the boat shed behind the Freight Shed.  Will, Rob and the many wonderful volunteers continue getting the bows put together and up.  Five bows are up and the remaining 17 are ready to go up as the weather clears, probably this weekend.  The lofting has begun on the front of the boat.  The shipwrights will then be able to make the front frames for VIRGINIA. 
Rob is working on the stem and Will is crafting the transom. 

We are looking forward to Bath’s Autumn Fest on October 8th where we will be celebrating another fabulous year.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Computers Returned

Two of VIRGINIA's frames glisten leaning against the historic freight shed in the sun of this beautiful September morning.  How proud the volunteers, students and shipwrights should be when they look at these beautiful frames.

Joel Austin Director of  BRCTC

First Bent Up
Once again we heartily thank the RSU#1 school district for their support for the Maine's First Ship's educational building project of VIRGINIA.   RSU#1 loaned us MLTI laptop computers to use for the blogging, video editing, photo editing, emailing and researching .  Without this help, we would not have been able to succeed with the "high technology" piece of the project.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

First Bents Up

It was a big day at the Freight Shed today.  The first two bents went up onto the knee-walls of the boat shed.  With the help of many adult volunteers and Peter (student shipwright), Shipwright, Will West lifted each of the two bents, made up of two bows each and they were screwed to the knee-walls.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Last Student Day

A knee-wall and a shovel
Part of the ditch
It was the last student day and everybody was very busy. Some of the students were working on digging ditches for the boat shed's knee-walls. The ditches are for the knee-walls, so they can be connected and not bow. Speaking of bow, a few students were trimming the ends of the bows so they will fit on a board on the bottom because some of them were too big. We had a pizza party today to celebrate everyone's hard work and accomplishments.

Courtney working on Maine Memory Network
The media group went to Bath City Hall and worked on the Maine Memory Network online exhibit.

Meggan with her new frame
The first of the patterns for the frames of the shallop was sold today to Meggan Henerlau. There are still patterns for sale for a $25 donation. 
Blog post by Bianca and Courtney

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bents and Knee-Walls

Trimming the ends of the bents
 Today in the shop, we worked on constructing the knee-walls.  The knee-walls are three feet high, and sixty feet long.  They support the bents, which were also worked on today.  The ends of the bents were cut to size, so that they would fit on top of the knee-walls.  Also, the lofting floor was rotated so that we will have enough space to lay out the Virginia on the floor.

First Post Found at Pophan Colony
(image from Maine Maritme Museum)
History: The reason they knew that the Popham colony had ever existed was that they found a posthole where a piece of wood was that had been burned. Burned wood gets preserved better then regular wood.

Vocabulary: Gusset- a bracket strengthening an angle of a structure.
Wesley Blum

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blog update

Transom for VIRGINIA
Blog readers,
Sorry for the lack of blog posts lately.  Patti has been on vacation, many students began fall sports training which takes up part of the morning and we are trying to complete some demanding goals in the shop.  Unfortunately, the progress in the shop has not been posted for a while, but I will try to catch you up to date.

Floor of Two Frames

We have four beautiful mid-ship frames all completed and ready to put on the keel.  Will has been
Bows Piled Ready to Construct Shed
busily working on the transom, which is starting to look like a wooden puzzle on steroids.  It has many bevels and mortise and tendon joints that are beautifully crafted.

The knee-wall boards have been cut for the boat shed and the students are nailing them together.  These sections will hold up the bows that we have been making for weeks.  We now have all 44 completed.

Courtney and Patti went crazy and got almost all of the twelve descriptions of the Popham artifacts written, which we will be putting on the Maine Memory Network.  Courtney also presented some videos that have been made at the annual meeting on Saturday at the Freight Shed, which will be on upcoming posts.
Thanks for your patience,

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Trunnels in Frame
Getting the Measurements Correct
Today we had three things going on. One was the making bows. We have 6 more to go before we can set up the shed over the keel. Next was the boat frames. We have about four of them up and ready to go. And the last job was lofting the transom. once the lofting of the transom was done the group went out side and moved some wood to make the transom crown. The measurements were 8ft and 6ft.
    For history today at first 120 people went to the new world. When December came around 70 people left. There were only 50 people by the time the VIRGINIA was built.
    The vocabulary for the day is transom. It means the back of the boat.

Blog by Charles

Friday, August 12, 2011

Third Frame

Today we finished the third frame of the boat, and finished another bow. That’s all we did, but it was pretty productive.

Vocab word(s)
Double sawn: When two pieces of wood are cut into the same shape and stacked on top of each other to make a stronger frame.
Loose futtox: a piece of wood nailed to planking so more planking can be put on.

History lesson: The original Virginia had a loose futtox design, but the new model will be completely double sawn.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Frames and Trunnels

The Busy Freight Shed
Today at Maine’s First Ship we made one frame, cut out at least 9 floor timbers and patterns, and made 2 bows in total which equal out to 1 bent. I think that we worked pretty efficient today by the looks in the shop. Boat-shop videos will be released on Maine’s First Ship blog on August 19. Be sure to give them a look soon!

History-Twenty people left on the Mary and John on October.  Mary and John was the ship that brought supplies and many of the colonists.  After the storehouse was finished the Mary and John was unloaded and she went back to England to continue with her work and go on another voyage.  Yesterday, we said that 50 people left the colony in December to save supplies.  Therefore, there must have been about 50 remaining colonists.

Trunnels- Trunnels are wooden nails that we are using in the frames.  They got their name from "tree nails"
Blog by Mike

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Chilly Damp Day at the Freight Shed

Drilling Hole for Trunnel
Today is a very cold day. We finished the second frame and the third is all laid out. It seems like we are moving a lot faster on things now, which is good. Some people worked on transferring lines from one side of the futtocks to the other. Others worked on making more bents. Most people worked on drilling and putting trunnels into the frame.
    Vocabulary word for the day:  truancy  -Means to stay away from school or work with out permission. We’re not all showing up on time every day and that’s a problem so we brought up that subject today.
Trunnel Up Close
History:  In December of 1607 half of the colony left to go back to England. They left so that they could save food and supplies because they did not think that they would have enough for every one during the winter of 1608. They had arrived to late to grow crops so they had to depend on the supplies they brought from England.

Blog Post by Kelsey Brick

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Frames 1 and 2

Curves of Frame #2
What we did: Everybody was busy at the freight shed today.
There were people working on the frames for Virginia. One frame is completely finished, and another frame is almost done. Another group worked on the jig making more bows. We had visitors from our sister city in Japan. They came to the freight shed and were taught how to make grommets by Kelsey Brick.

History: A Bath built ship called the Cheeseborough was stranded in a storm off the coast of Japan. The

Japanese villagers saved them, creating our sister city. Every year

some people from Japan come to Bath, and some people from Maine go to Japan.

Vocabulary: Keelson-In wooden shipbuilding, a keelson is a piece of timber in a ship laid  on the middle of the floor timbers over the keel, and binding the floor timbers to the keel.
Blog by Courtney Brooks

Monday, August 8, 2011

First Midship Frame Completed

First midship frame completed
Over the weekend, the shipwrights and volunteers completed the first midship frame.  It looks amazing, and huge.  Today, there were a lot of projects. We cut out pieces of the frames using a band saw, and put them into place on the lofting floor. We also cut off pieces
Vocab Reminder
of white pine using a chainsaw, so the pieces to be cut on the band saw would not be as heavy. Another group worked on making bows for the temporary shed to house the Virginia.  The media group began editing three videos.
Working on Second Frame
History: Today we learned about the techniques the Popham colonists would have used to put the Virginia in the water. They might have made a dry-dock, boarding it off with wood. Once the Virginia was complete, they would flood it. Another possibility is
Twenty-eight Bows Completed
that they built it on a slight incline, and used rollers to roll it into the water.

Vocabulary: Stanchion Frames- The stanchion frames are a piece of the frame that will come out above the deck. We are going to run planks around them, which will keep us from falling of the boat.

Blog by Peter

Friday, August 5, 2011

Waddle and Daub

Cutting Futtock on Bandsaw
Futtocks for Frames
      Today we ended up short a lot of people. We had two major projects going on. There was the bows and bents which is the temporary structure that we are going to build around the keel. We also has several different stages of cutting out the frames. The first part was cutting ruffly with a chain saw. After, the piece would go to a group on the bandsaw. We got at least 7 frames done.
       The vocab of the day is clean up. We need to have a proper clean up every day. That includes closing and locking the doors. A lot of the tools need to be put up the correct way. If we don't, then the tools will get dull.
       The history of the day is when Dr. Brian found the site he also found out how they made their huts. They used a method of waddle and daub. They would put posts in to the ground and weed saplings between the posts. Next they would cover it in mud. To top it all off was a thatch roof. That is just straw and grass woven together.

By Student Shipwright Charles

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Cutting Futtocks

Cutting Futtock for Frame
Today we worked on the keel some more and two of the boys were
First Stage of Bow
using the chain saw and cutting out pieces of white oak so we can have frames for the futtocks that we are making. The girls worked on the beginning of the bends. Some people worked on the jig. We had a very easy going day today so lets hope tomorrow goes the same way.
Storehouse as shown on Fort St. George Map

History:  The first building that the colonists built was the storehouse for the supplies that the ship Mary and John brought over from England.  Here is the drawing of the storehouse from John Hunt's map of Fort St. George, which was found in a Spanish museum.  

Vocabulary: Futtocks- timbers forming the lower, more curved portion of the frame in a wooden hull.

Blog By Bianca D'Arcangelo  and Patti

Monday, August 1, 2011

Maine Memory, First Frames

Preparing to Cut a Frame Futtock

Rob Stevens, Shipwright, Making the Cut

Everybody was very busy and working very hard today. One group of people worked on making more bows for the shed, others helped with frames for the Virginia. Another group was working on shaping the keel, which is an important step to building the Virginia. The first futtocks for VIRGINIA's mid-ship frames have been cut from some very large timbers.  Everybody is working very well together and we are all getting a lot of work done. The media group made a preliminary plan for the Maine Memory Network Grant, which we received from the Maine Historical Society.

Flipping the Keel for More Shaping
History: The original Virginia could hold 30 tons. In those times, one ton was equal to 252 gallons of wine. This is a fairly accurate estimate. Our Virginia will be 38 tons because of safety regulations and the engines. Also, on this day 14 years ago one of our members was born. Happy Birthday Miracle!

Vocabulary: Tiller- A lever attached to a rudder to steer a boat.

Blog Post by Courtney Brooks