Cedar, Big Enough, and Boats 🌲📔🚤

By: Lee LeFever

I write books and run a company called Common Craft. I recently moved from Seattle to a rural island. Here, I write about online business, book publishing, modern home construction, and occasionally, dumb jokes.

The post below was sent as an issue of my newsletter, Ready for Rain.

Here are a few things I shared over the last week:

From the Blog

The Big Enough ebook (along with the paperback) is now available for pre-order on all the major book websites. The audiobook is also complete, but won’t be available until after the book is published on September 15th.

It would mean a lot to me if you’d consider pre-ordering Big Enough because pre-orders can help the book get attention when it comes out. 


I shared the book project on Facebook for the first time yesterday and was heartened by the response. I need and want to feel more comfortable promoting it and it helped to see friends be excited with me.

The House Project

Sachi and I spent the weekend on sweat equity. One of the early design decisions was to use western red cedar for some of our ceiling and soffits under the eaves of the house. It’s a tree that’s abundant on the island and comes in boards that are knot-free, or “clear”, with beautiful color variations and straight grains. The construction team was excited about the quality of the wood. I am still learning how to judge such things. 

Before the cedar can be installed, it needs to be stained so it’s protected from UV rays and weather. This became our job. We used a transparent, satin finish. The boards needed to be stained on both sides, sanded on the front side, and then stained once more on the front.

To make it easier, Casey, one of Drew’s guys, made these “paint trees” that are racks for staining and drying multiple boards at once. So much easier!

racks for staining and drying

We probably got through about 40% of the boards that need staining, mainly because the rack can only hold so many. Once they get installed, we will go back and stain more.

The stack of cedar
The stack of cedar
Rolling it on
Rolling it on
Stained and unstained boards
Full rack
Awaiting a second coat
Awaiting a second coat

Crabs and Boats

Crab season started on Thursday and we were ready to be back on the water with our little boat, Short Story. After a slow start, we’re finding our rhythm.

Three Dungeness crabs
Three Dungeness crabs

The longer I live on the island, the more fascinated I become with boats of all shapes and sizes. A side effect of COVID is an increase in boating because it’s a safe vacation for many. Those vacationers end up in places like Deer Harbor, where we keep our boat and I love keeping a mental inventory of the boats I see. Someday we want to have a boat we can sleep on but for now, we’re just dreaming.

Speaking of dreams, a superyacht appeared in Deer Harbor recently that was bigger than anyone had ever seen in the area. It was the Attessa IV, owned by Dennis Washington. 332 feet long, a crew of 22, and recently rebuilt. Amazing.

Attessa IV

Like the cedar, I’m learning to notice and appreciate boat design and lately, loving the classics. There are a couple of classic wooden yachts in Deer Harbor that date back to the 50s and 60s and are immaculately kept. I believe they are both Chris Crafts. You can just imagine Frank Sinatra on the bow with a cocktail.

MV Lovedrive
MV Miramar
MV Miramar

On the second day of crabbing, this boat (with 900 horsepower across three motors) came screaming up to us. It was the Washington Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, stopping to make sure we were in full compliance. We were and they were very nice.

WDFW Police
WDFW Police

As much as I love watching these boats, I am very satisfied with our little 15’ Short Story. She does the job!

love watching these boats

Until next time!


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Each week, I share media recommendations and a story from my life on a rural island off the coast of Washington State, where I'm building a custom home and learning island culture. Learn more.

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