Thursday 16 October 2008

Friday on my Mind

A long time ago in a far off land I made a decision not to work in an office but to work outside travelling around to interesting places with strange sounding names, I would be wind swept and interesting as Connolly once said and would leap from landrovers and helicopters with a single bound. So I joined the Ordnance Survey and became a surveyor and to be fair did my share of bounding with the best of them. But of course eventually the desire to settle down sets hold and the need to pay the mortgage encourages a bit of slippery pole climbing and here i find myself doing that fairly boring office job I said I wanted to avoid.
Such indeed is life, and as I sit waiting for Friday to come I dream of sailing here or paddling there when I should be project planning the build .
So I suddenly realised I've now finished the scarfing and have all the planks glued. What's next? Well i'm going to need a transom, keelson and stem before I can assemble the moulds and back bone.

Friday comes, I book a half days leave and suddenly I'm a boat builder again, so it must be time for a visit to Bamptons Timber. Dick Bampton is the President of our little Sailing and Rowing Club. Indeed it was from Dick's launch that the photo above was taken of Southampton Water looking all broody with an extreme cat equipped with those fancy kevlar sails being harried by its attendant Rib.
Dick's joinery and wood store is situated in an old boat yard right next to the River Itchen. They have a few pontoons out the back where a pretty eclectic bunch for people moor their equally eclectic bunch of boats. We are up the low rent end of the river here well away from the rich man's boat parks at Ocean Village and Hythe Marina.

In fact come to think of it Dick's address is R & A Bampton , Four Maries Yard, Vespasian Road, Bittern Manor, Southampton. So in terms of Interesting places with strange sounding names that'll have to do for now. P.S. Also some pictures of epoxy drying. zzzzzzzzzz

P.P.S. In a new and infrequent addition to this blog, music choice of the week,

A Piece of What You Need by Teddy Thompson. excellent!

Teddy is the son of Richard and Linda Thompson and if you don't know who they are, boy you need educating.

Friday 10 October 2008

Never mind the width, get your scarf on

Its not been a particularly productive week and photo's of the inside of my garage can be a bit boring so here's one I took earlier of a fishing boats in St Ives harbour Cornwall. I've had a couple of chats with Alex Jordan this week. I couldn't understand why the paper pattern of the transom differed so much from the ply template I'd made from the table of offsets. Of course the reason is that Andrew Wolstenholme gives his dimensions to the extreme aft of the transom while Alex has compensated for the bevel by bringing the measurements forward by an inch, the thickness of the transom. The difference is half an inch which was surprising, anyway that's another thing I've learned.
I cut the planks from the pre cut ply in a couple of hours, I used my Japanese Pull Saw which avoided the nasty buzzing of the jig saw and gave a very accurate cut which needed very little sanding. I then started to cut the scarfs. I'm just using my old jobbing plane to rough out the scarf and then going in with my trust block plane to finish off. I know this part of the process puts a lot of people off but it really is fairly straight forward if you sharpen your blade and take your time.

The main thing to watch out for is to make sure you cut the scarf on alternate sides of the plank so that you get a join not a great V shaped void!
I'm going to use the building frame as a work surface for gluing the scarfs which should help keep things fair and even.
I wrote to Steve at North Sea Sails the other day to get a quote for a sail. He made the sail for Caitlin on Iain Oughtred's recommendation. He is a very frendly bloke and liable to chat about all sorts of things, I think he gets a bit lonely in his sail loft over in Tollesbury. He told me he makes lots of sails for Oughtred boats in Norway and Sweden and that he's currently making a set for a Macgregor Canoe being built in Eyemouth. Steve's quote was £399 to include two rows of reefing points a canvas sail bag VAT etc, which seems very reasonable and a good bit cheaper than the quote I got from Jeckells, so Steve gets the job. I think I'm getting ahead of myself again. Back to work. Oh and by the way, its to be a wee girl.

Thursday 9 October 2008

(Doh) Ray & Me

I have a pretty good excuse for not getting much boat building done last week-end and I make no apologies for the unabashed name dropping here. Every year Ordnance Survey give away free maps to every 11 year old school kid in the country, 750,000 per year, since you're asking, we've just passed the 5 million mark. There's a competition the kids can enter and the prize this year was a day out in the woods with Ray Mears. I've played a small part in getting all those maps out so I get the chance to accompany /supervise them on the trip. So off we go tramping through the woods learning how to navigate and light fires, cook squirrels and hunt down bigfoot etc etc. Great Fun.

Ray is of course a boat builder par excellence, famous for his birch bark canoes, so deserves his place on this blog. He is also a very very nice man and can light a fire with a snap of his fingers.

The kids were taught all sorts of useful things about woodcraft and how not to get lost in the woods. They were all given a flint fire starter, taught how to light a fire using birch bark as tinder, boiled a billycan of water straight out of the stream and made a hot drink to wash down their sarnies, brilliant and not a mobile phone in sight! I know the kids had a great time, so did I!