Blog time : it’s July 2021 , sultry warm and there’s been a huge bloom of pollen so i’m having a bad time with hayfever – it seems like the worst year for a long time and we did have a wet spring so there’s lots of wild grass which is one of the things that really gets me going. If anyone else out there is a fellow sufferer then i sympathize…..it’s a great time to be at sea but then nearly every time is a good time to be at sea somewhere. For those that are wondering i missed all of last week’s posting because i just couldn’t make the effort to sit and write after doing a day’s work – call that half a day at best. We also had a short break away and my project management let me down a bit such that there wasn’t much i could actually do when we got back , so yes….bad hayfever and i decided to give the garden a much needed haircut : not my best plan ever !
This week though iv’e completed a very important but totally unexciting stage of the project a bit like building the outside build shelter – to build a boat i had to make a strongback/building frame but before i could do that i had to sort the workshop out and build the outside shelter. With the ‘flat-pack’ stage of construction over and all of the parts now stacked in the workshop i had to move the temporary bench out from under the shelter and construct the frame/strongback that i’ll actually build the boat on. In terms of a job it’s a bit like the build shelter , that is, basic carpentry except that i somehow had to make a straight, level and square frame out of the available timber which is anything except straight , level and square.
On the bench.
On the bench then this week iv’e done more work on the centerboard and rudder although both of those jobs are now on hold until i get the next batch of timber. With the centerboard i now have to build the centerboard case as soon as i can because that becomes part of the structure quite soon in the build process – i cut the case sides when i had pieces of plywood of the right size going spare but i can’t do anything else with that until i get the stock to make the packing pieces. As it happens i might use some cheap softwood ( 2 x 4″) to build a dry assembly which will help me with the layout of the bow spine assembly and the first few frames….anyway, more on that when the time comes plus i’ll show the actual board progress in a separate post.
The main work ‘on the bench’ then is the building frame itself and because of it’s size i did most of that directly in-situ. The plans call for side beams from 2 x 4″ construction timber, well cross braced and then levelled and squared as exactly as possible. My problem was that i couldn’t find any 2 x 4″ plain timber that wasn’t warped and twisty – in a previous project iv’e tried to straighten out standard 2 x 4s and it’s next to impossible so instead i laminated a pair of side rails from 2 lengths of much wider (but thinner) stock, 1 x 7’s with their grain reversed and well glued and clamped to take out the twist. Both came out well enough that i only had to take out a small amount of warping and twisting when i joined the side rails with the 4 cross webs – a bit of firm clamping with my long sash cramps did most of that.
To set the strongback level i sat the complete assembly (minus legs) on a pair of crates plus lots of timber packers while i slowly brought everything level and square and then made the legs individually at each position cutting them level with the top of the frame. With being built on the driveway and being a bit ‘Cornish’ none of it is level – not the cottage or the workshop and certainly not the drive which slopes off every which way ; now when i look at it i’m convinced that the frame can’t be level when i visually reference it against the workshop and the wall behind it but mister spirit level says it is so i’m going with that.
This weekend, as i write now, iv’e just finished attaching all of the station cross members and all of the station risers that define the bottom profile of the whole boat. With the bottom panel already made…and yes i know i haven’t cut out the centerboard slot, it was just too tempting to sit the bottom panel on the build frame and see how it looked ; i was hugely surprised when i sat on the risers as it should with no hint of wobbles, hollows or rattles. Of course it’s got to come off again as have most of the station risers because i now have to trim them so that they finish inside the underneath of the bottom panel, presumably so that i can get tools onto the bilge chine and first hull panel.
Still…..it seemed like a good moment and felt like i’m actually building a boat now.
Finally…..a little bit of blog update.
All i’m really blogging about right now is my Pathfinder build project because i really haven’t got the time to work on other posts -also , because i’m building and not sailing there isn’t much else for me to write about. I notice that the views are going down and down ; that makes sense because very few people will get very much from endless posts about the minutiae from an amateur boatbuilder. Iv’e decided to cut back my output to just one post a week – that allows me to actually make some progress and have something interesting to talk about at the end of a working week. For those who are interested i post more often on the designer’s (John Welsford) Facebook group page because i get far more engagement there with other builders….here, not so much.