A scissor rig’s two-piece design is a marvel in form and function, and it must be custom-built to your vessel’s specs. However, one cannot begin construction with just any old planks. Sure, most any wood floats, but even treated lumber will become waterlogged and sink relatively quickly and rot in the briny sound water. Juniper wood is the secret, sought-after for its buoyancy and resistance to decay.
Also known as Atlantic white cedar, juniper was extensively logged from the late 1800s through the 1960s. It is estimated that only 5 percent of the population remains. Guide Kent Vaughan explains: “You have to beg for it now. The only way to get any is when a hurricane messes up the swamps. Somebody gets to go in and clean up the timber and cut some juniper. You better know who’s cutting in the swamps.”
Each of the scissor-rig’s sideboards consist of two 2x10 boards cut at angles and bolted together at the ends. These are sandwiched between two 1x10 boards on the bow and stern and held together at the corners with galvanized bolts. The rig rides atop the vessel, resting on the bow, stern, and gunwales. Once a location is chosen, small notched pine limbs are inserted upright into holes drilled into the rig’s boards. Then, an anchor and line tied to the frame is set out. With the stern of the frame opened (which is the scissor-like motion the blind is named for) reversing the boat slides the frame into the water.
After the boat is driven back into the floating frame, the stern of the frame is closed, securing the boat. The second frame, bolted to the gunwales, rings the boat from bow to stern, also with holes drilled for securing more upright pine limbs. The end result resembles a small island that completely cloaks boat and hunter.