Boat Bookcase #4: Titivation


On balance I would say that the thing’s been a huge success. As a process, that is, as a process. Whether the product has anything to recommend it is, naturally, for you to say.”

“The Hippopotamus”, Stephen Fry, 1994


I decided to make my own finishes for this project, beginning with an oil/varnish blend cut with turpentine. My next post is about finishes so I’ll leave the details until then.

I applied 7 coats of the oil/varnish, leaving approximately 24 hours between each, and I left the final coat to cure for a week before continuing on to the next stage.

While I was waiting, I had a chance to get all of the little final details ready. These consisted of a handful of brass accents such as lacing eyes and lacing hooks and a cleat, but also a fender eye, to which I intended to attach some decoratively knotted and spliced rope as a kind of heaving line.

A heaving line is for throwing from boat to shore when tying up, and so it usually has a weight on one end to make it easier to throw. I decided to use  a Monkey’s Fist for this, and attach it to the fender eye with an Eye Splice.

Now, although I’m not entirely green on the subject of knot tying – I know clove hitch from a sheepshank – I’ve never spliced a rope in my life. It was clear that I was going to need some help.

Google and YouTube to the rescue! I found a great site for learning how to tie all sorts of knots and splices, as well as two videos in particular that helped me with the Monkey’s  Fist and the Eye Splice.


Once the oil/varnish had cured I moved onto the final finish, which was a homemade wax/turpentine blend. The blend was quite hard and crumbly so I applied it by wrapping a lump in some cheese cloth, wiping it on, and buffing it after about 10 minutes.

Other finishing touches are my makers mark, burned into the back, some bronze nails affixing the breasthook, and some leather pads on the bottom.

And we are done.

This project was a massive learning curve, and if I were to do it again there would be several things I’d do differently, but as a first try I’m fairly pleased with the results. Let me know what you think.



11 thoughts on “Boat Bookcase #4: Titivation

Add yours

  1. Looks great. But will it float?
    The contrast of different wood for the gunnels and wood on the bow is very nice.
    I find it a little odd that you live on an island and claim not to know a lot about boats.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Didn’t take into account the size of that island, now did we? A bit bigger and that would actually make a great pond boat for my area. East Tennessee…


  2. I have seen lots of boat bookcase but yours take the top spot.
    Very well executed, really look like a boat, even has three flooding compartments 🙂
    The only ting missing is the oars…and the water .. . 🙂

    Nice job


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