Tumble Home Curves By Tommy “Sexiest Woody Boater Alive” Holm


Not Tommy – It’s the Man of all Woody men, Mr Bottom himself. Don Danenberg

Thanks to Tommy Holm for sending in this fun report! Take it away Tommy!
I didn’t have anything else to do – while I was challenged by some quarter round half inch thick covering boards on my Woody Boat – so I traveled on over to Stronach, Michigan to visit with the maestro Don Danenberg to see What’s Up?

Upon entry, shipwright Don was adjusting his curvature angle thingamajig as one is often do.
Seems that one takes a curve measurement on the original covering board and transcribes it onto fresh stiff  cardboard for template.


One does this every increment or so. To get the shape.


This is the original Christopher Columbus curvature.


Here is the 16/4 block, single cut, mahogany looking for the curve. Easy Peasy, says the maestro once you have those card board curved templates and a lot of power planning , air filing and simple hand sanding. He says.


And once you get the aft done, grasshopper, you get to work on the bow. Starboard, Port, Aft and Bow, Grasshopper!


Thank goodness the tumble home was already tumbled home.


The maestro said “it will look like this when I’m finished only better”.


And then Mr. Don Danenberg (aka Santa Claus with elf Russ) said the magic words “I’m buying lunch!”.

Postscript: It’s good people like Don that makes Woody Boats relive their lives! He can cut them straight as an arrow and curved like a rainbow. Thanks Don for all you do!

13 replies
  1. Howard Lehman
    Howard Lehman says:

    Thanks for this report. This is exactly what I am doing now on my project, a 1953 20′ Riviera. It was with a lot of trepidation that I started cutting up a beautiful 16′ by 2″ thick by 17″ wide mahogany plank to replace the existing rotten and cracked covering boards on this boat. Figuring out a way to get all 6 pieces of the covering boards out of that big plank, with the grain direction all going the same way, then rough cutting out the puzzle pieces to take to the band saw, cutting them, getting correct butt joints, and then starting to shape them. Wow! After MANY passes with the power planer, hand plane, belt sander, random orbital sander (alas I have no air file) I now have one side kind of smooth, and ready to start copying the correct contour from the old covering boards. I still have MANY more passes to make, and then I’ll start all over again on the other side. And, Don’s book is a close and ever ready reference. Lots of work to still do, but very gratifying. Thanks for stories like these, Boat Buzz, Don’s book and input from fellow Woody Boaters all over, these seemingly impossible tasks can get done. Oh I forgot, it helps to have patience! Happy New Year. Howard

  2. Mark
    Mark says:

    No question that Don is the man. The fact that he put up with my stupid questions for seven years makes him a candidate for Sainthood.

  3. Tim Robinson
    Tim Robinson says:

    I have been restoring boats for over 25 years and have not found a better method for fitting side planks than the one Don presents in his book (the router method). Although I do not agree with everything he says in his book, he is a good writer. Don writes and explains the process of restoring a boat in a manner the average guy can understand.

  4. Ranger
    Ranger says:

    Enjoyed this article very much; the shop looks amazing, the pictures are fantastic and for being introduced to Dan.

  5. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    That is a level of workmanship, craftsmanship, that I will never attain. Amazing really.
    There are guys we know and who post on this site that are capable of the highest level of the restorers art.
    Great way to start the New Year!
    Best to all!
    John in Va.

  6. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Back in the ’80s it was my intent to learn to do things like that. Then I ran into Jim Irwin who asked me to manage a boat club for six months. 25 years later I got it off my desk and the boats had come and gone with someone else restoring them and it seemed too late to learn then. I’ve seen Don bend wood and do other marvelous things at symposiums…He’s a perfectionist. My hat is off to him.

    • Rick
      Rick says:

      I may be following in your steps. My “intention” for the last ten years is to learn the process but other things keep getting in the way. So the first boat was professionally restored and then professionally repaired and freshened up. So far I have yet to cut a piece of wood myself. And my excuses are not nearly as memorable as yours. (Hanging my head in shame.)

  7. Denis D
    Denis D says:

    Besides being a master of his craft, Don is amazingly open with his help and expertise to us amateur restorers on his forums. He is a real treasure to our hobby.

    Denis D

  8. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    Good thing you happened by and offered a lunch trip (to the Painted Lady I presume) cause Don gets ornery without nourishment. Or maybe Tom had a snickers bar. Did Tom make it to lunch? Tuff choice between the old Century factory and lunch!

  9. Tommyholm
    Tommyholm says:

    Yup, that is Don at the Painted Lady getting ready for lunch; well, someone had to behead the chicken🐥

Comments are closed.