hand blocked cotton

hand blocking fabric

drying hand blocked cotton

carving wood stamp for block printing

Wood blocks are carved from raw wood. Intricate details are drilled and chiseled.drilling wood traditional style

bow drill

A perfectly low seat and wood low table are essential. Patience a must!hand blocked cotton pajama's

to buy hand blocked pajama’s check out  World’s End ny

New Wooden Boat Cockpit made by urbanboatworks.com


It’s not every day that some one comes along and wants a new cockpit. The owner of this almost 100 year old S Boat ALLEGRO did.

Julien loves to builds cockpits. He says ” i have always enjoyed rebuilding cockpits. Normally I am trying to keep boats afloat. Cockpits are the fluff. You have to get it right. It needs to fit. Basically that’s were you spend all your time.”

If you are in the New York area and have a wooden boat contact us thru our website at www.urbanboatworks.com

new cockpit for s boat ALLEGRO made by www.urbanboatworks.com

new cockpit for s boat ALLEGRO made by http://www.urbanboatworks.com

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.

Herreshoff S Boat Repairs and Restoration- also known as Spring Commisioning

 Herreshoff S Class RepairsA bunch of 90 year old S Boats sail out of western long island sound. They are in various states of condition. Wooden boats always need something. We started out building a new cockpit for Allegro. She also needed 8 broken frames repaired.

New cockpit soul on s boat

replacing a plank on a s boatplank repair

wooden boat restoration new yorkNext we worked on Danai which is also kept in the Brewers yard. Julien removed stem to keel fairing because it was badly chafed and found iron drifts cracking the keel into the rabbet. We replaced six floor timbers and the mast step. The highlight of the job was steam bending 5 ribs into the bow. We replaced these ribs as they flattened on either side of the brake spoiling the shape of the boat.

wooden boat repair- new york

new mast step

floor timber replacement

Refastening wooden boat

Phillip came in with a new s boat now named   Ingwe  . We call it the Rhode island rat and wonder if he bought it from our friend Thorp. She is a bit out of shape and has been abused. A  deck was put on a crooked boat which has to come off in a few years. This year Phillip is trying to get her sound and is doing a wonderful job. Julien and Phillip steam bent 8 frames. Julien will replace one plank and has removed three that will be added to. Splining loose seams will take up much of the week. Splining seams is a fairly straight forward procedure of evening up the wide seems and inserting a v shaped spline- glued on one side and caulked on the other.

wooden boat repair new york

rib repair

Ingwe s boat repairs

ingwe s boat

We applaud the S Boat Owners at the Brewers Yard in Mamaroneck. They are all doing hands on maintenance and only require Urbanboatworks for extra ordinary projects.

Preparing green wood for steam bending

Preparing Green Wood For Steam Bending

processing white oak for steam bending DSCF0330

When a few S Class Boats needed new ribs, URBANBOATWORKS stayed local to find its green Oak wood. We headed across the road to haul out a 120 year old white oak that came down in Storm Sandy. After setting up block and tackle we hoisted the heavy log out of the woods using our pick up truck. Processing was done the old fashion way with wedges and sledge. This insured good grain orientation wood that is essential for steam bending. 


Preparing Green White Oak for Steam bending Ribs from dana carini on Vimeo.

Obsessive antique wooden boat photography collecting


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.