Prep work for fiberglassing the interior of my wherry was slow and tedious. But I wanted to do it right, so I didn’t mind. I was extra careful vacuuming the interior, making sure I captured every bit of dust and debris. The instructions were clear about the best way to lay the fiberglass out, so I grabbed Sandy, we went upstairs, stretched out the cloth on the carpet, and then I carefully rolled it up into a long tube. Then it was back downstairs into the garage. I snaked the cloth through the bulkhead openings, and sliced the cloth so it could lay on either side of the bulkheads. Once I was done, the cloth hugged the bottom of my boat like a pair of yoga tights.
Perfect. Ready for glassing.
I mixed up the epoxy, made sure my spreaders were handy, and started at the bow. Everything was progressing just like I expected, but as the cloth began to turn opaque to completely clear, I noticed something that made me curse under my breath. There it was, starkly visible against the beautiful mahogany-colored grain of the Okume wood. A black dog hair.
By now, my gloves were sticky, so I pulled on a new pair, grabbed needle nose pliers, gingerly lifted up the cloth, and snagged that nefarious hair. Mission accomplished. I smoothed the cloth back in place, resumed spreading epoxy, and then stopped once again, cursing more loudly this time.
Another dog hair!
I repeated my previous actions, wondering what I’d done wrong. I’d been so careful to vacuum the interior. How in the heck did dog hair get inside???. . . oh, crap. It hit me like a rotten apple in the face. I was a complete moron. We picked up the dog hairs when we spread the cloth on the carpet upstairs. And that had certain implications that made me feel sick to my stomach. I wasn’t dealing with just one or two random hairs, but hundreds…thousands….
I took a deep breath, peeled off my gloves, fired up the shop vac, and proceeded to vacuum the cloth and the interior of the wherry once again. It was all I could think to do. Once I was done, I resumed fiberglassing. I came across more dog hairs, but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. I got the ones I could; left the ones I couldn’t get at.
And by now, I was even kind of laughing about it.
I love our black barrio dog, Gracie. Sandy saved her from certain death, and she’s been the best dog, best friend I could ever imagine. And someday in the not too distant future, she’s going to die. But she won’t be forgotten. Not by me. Every time I hop into my wherry for a row, and notice a black dog hair forever preserved beneath clear varnish and epoxy, I’m going to think of our Gracie girl. And who knows, a million years from now, some distant ancestor may dig up my fossilized wherry, and discover black dog hair forever preserved, like a mosquito in amber, and wonder how the heck a canine with no hands managed to build and row that boat.
So, it was fate.
My wherry just had to be named after our black dog, Gracie.