Julien can’t let go of this youth. He sailed this sweet knockabout as a teenager from the great South Bay Long Island to the Bahamas. Social distancing enabled Julien to get on it.


Julien has decided to build a cold molded version. It will be a trailered boat that will not be effected by the wet dry cycles. This is a diversion from the norm, being a female half mold in which the visible outer strakes will be laid in first. Julien will invert the stations for the port side.


These are the strake templates being shaped.


These are the finished strake templates.

More coming soon

We didn’t sail into the port. We couldn’t bother to get tides right and opening bridges. We hopped a bus and off we went. You can read all you want about Vannes on google.

What we loved were the timber frame homes ( as we built the back side of our house out of twisted oak in timber frame style)

experimental gardens everywhere

and this

Morroccan mans excellent food cafe! The food was great, the building was fantastic and he was super friendly and open. The high light of our day! Sucran !

Elliot Hopper & Silver Cloud
Le Select
Silver Cloud
Innards of Silver Cloud
Walking St Barth;s
Dave Wegman in St Barths
GOD MADE IT st barth’s
Hands of a sailor


Sara & St Barth’s wine in Silver cloud’s hold

Lots of wooden boat owners can not afford the major refit option here in New York. Many of us realize that plugging away in Martha Stewart style is the way to go. Some of us keep lists with structure being the priority. Not to many, plunk money in the cushions and varnish while ignoring bleeding fasteners, broken ribs and cheesy looking planks. Every wooden boat owner has a plan and we often stick to it.

Urbanboatworks ( thats us Julien & dana) is honored and pleased to keep these New York Wooden boats alive & sailing. Check us out at if your in need of help and live in New York or CT.


Hand Made Clothes of days ago

Hand Made Clothes of Days ago. Not many people do it today. Hand spin, hand-loom, hand knit, hand weave, hand stitch and hand dye one’s own clothes. Imagine the time and patience involved. I love hand-made clothes and hand stitch some clothes when I can. But to do the whole process must be daunting. It takes me a whole winter to card and spin 15 big blobs of wool or one whole sheep fleece. I can not imagine weaving and then sewing it into a garment.

       Khadi is hand spun and woven in one’s own home. It is amazingly durable cotton that i wear spring, summer, winter and fall. Its keeps you cool and warm because of the air that is trapped into the cotton when hand spun. You can’t get this on a machine spun cotton. I love the variegation or slubs ( short cotton staples or sheep hair chunks) that is found in humble home spun textiles. My wool has plenty of them. In fact I strive for that chunky than skinny look in my wool. The khadi I am selling in my shop is hand loomed and hand spun in india. more and more kids are leaving the villages to work in the city and less and less khadi is being made. Many Khadi producers have no one to teach the skill to. 

broadfall pantsBroad fall Pants are buttoned in the front with a wide flap. They also have suspender buttons. They are comfortable and are still made by the Amish. www.gohnbrothers.comLinen coat. williamsburg va

hand made sweater sleave vestHandmade wool vest with sweater sleeves sewn in.

Hand made Hat- Williamsburg vaYour typical sleeping cap worm on a cool day in the shop.

hand made coatHand spun and loomed fabric like this is tough and durable. A true inheritable piece of clothing. Found in Colonial Williamsburg.

sticheshand stitching.

colonial pants

colonial coat

colonial jacket1800’s hand made clothes found in Shelburn Nova Scotia.

colonial jacket detail a heart appliqué on a revelotionary actor’s jacket.

mystic seaport clothingMystic Seaport attire.

hand loomed khadiAn Indian in Khadi Kurta and Dhoti.

Some one has to be wearing hand made’s in that crowd!

Cooking on Fire. Hearths & Old Country Kitchens

I have a thing for simple fire cooked foods and lonely old country kitchens.

This year we had our friends and neighbors over for fire cooked meals every Wednesday for the month of june. It was fantastic getting outside and cooking the real way. ( the way i did for so many years on a beach) I was lucky to have taken a class at PLYMOUTH CRAFT where the founder cooked us lunch on a clay pot. She has written a fabulous book that is praise worthy. What I love about “Cooking with Fire” is that Paula gets down to the nitty-gritty. She explains how fire cooking is done round the world and show you how to do it. She  teaches you the history of the technique and throws in tid bits of information that make we wonder. You can see the book here.

I am in the midst of creating an old kitchen in a new wing of an old 1880’s house. The way I am keeping it old looking while using new materials is to use raw natural materials. Nothing from home depot if you get my drift. The walls will be lime plastered. The counter tops wood and the shelving open. The timber frame post and beam structure also adds to the look. Its an easy way to build and it shows the craftsmanship of the makers.

open shelving   Open shelving in wood works- as does stone or plastered cement blockopen shelving at Jeffersons Monticello   As long as you use natural raw materials kitchens always come out nice. lime stone plaster shelves

natural kitchens I can’t stand uniform cabinets that are perfect. Table tops dug out the earth and shipped from around the world is most appalling to me. But then again most people do not cook on fireplaces.

fireplace cooking   Things get good when winter rolls around. The cast Irons come out and the metal trivets and toast trays get used.

fire side cooking

land cooked meal

fire utensils

cooking on a fire

Kitchen sinks can be stone basins, wood sinks or cement laundry troughs.

DSC_0266 Sturbridge Kitchen Stone Sink Open Shelving old kitchen at sturbridge country kitchen

I wont have so much stuff lying around my old slop kitchen. That is what the pantry room is for. Just plop the ingredients, pots and pan on an open shelf where you can see it. Close the door if you’re a slob. The good old country kitchens with open fireplace pits and open shelving really have a utilitarian feel that I love.

For the past three years I have been collecting old wooden boat photographs. I scour ebay and etsy, as well as spend hours thumbing thru boxes at junk and antique stores . Most often there is no indication of where or what vessel it is. Sometimes i can find a sail number or something scribbled on the back.

sponge fishermen

on the dock

spring haul out- varnish and paint




rowing in Larchmont NY

lady on a boat

They are all snap shots. Taken by everyday people. They all tell a story. Why am I obsessed with these little tiny photographs of people and places and boats that I do not know?



timberframe salvaged storm sandy woodWhen sandy blew thru the Hudson Valley in 2012 a few 100 year oaks parted way with the earth. Julien and I had to mill them up for timber in our new addition. We called in Johnny who worked them down the hillside with his bob cat. Then he transported them to an Amish neighbor who milled them for us. Next we mortised and tenoned the frame. In this movie you see the gable end wall going up. ( 30 feet long 18 ft high) We assembled the wall down on saw horses and then let the sill plate down to skids. We dragged the whole wall within two feet of position. Then we stood it up with a come a long from the existing bathroom ridge.

What we learned: The Amish do amazing mill work. Any person who uses the kitschy word sustainability must study the Amish.

We learned that old tree’s absorbed minerals from the earth and deposit it in there checks to prevent disease. We had gorgeous green cooper deposits in the wood.

We learned old Toyota pick up trucks make for good demolition.

We learned mortise and tenon joinery is a pleasure  in green oak.

A well worn HOME

The patina is what catches me. every time. when looking at houses or antiques, when watching sailboats sail by. Those glistening perfect specimens are never what they seem to be. They certainly do not hold a soul. Patina is frequently destroyed in restoration projects. We cant seem to resist the urge to paint over the past. And when paint is so cheap we are tempted. It is in the patina where i see and feel the soul of the house, the antique the cloth.

well worn clothes

well worn broadfall pants

When we bought our house ( 1880’s) and removed the two remodel we got back to the patina. The rough aze hewn beams and lime worn lathe marks. The pine floors were covered over and with it all the stories. Planks worn so thin you fell in the grove.

window restoration


In keeping with the soul of the old house, we built a plank door 3 inches thick, with old strap hinges. We restored the one guillotine window that remained and fixed up the two over twos. We added a Rumford fireplace using slate and stones found on the property. We peeled away the modern renovations to find soul! We used the principles of conservation: repair and patch. Don’t remove restore.

two over two window restoration

Boatyard work bench

historic hardware

plank door



A well worn home has soul. keep an out for those neglected homes. Under all the layers you will alway find soul.

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