Fifty shades of Stringer.

Blog time : well good morning everyone, it’s nearly the end of September 2021 , as all of you sailors will know we’ve just passed the autumn equinox which means that days in the northern hemisphere are much shorter now…..and getting notably cooler which affects my work. This morning i’m taking the day off from the actual build to catch up on some other essential tasks like for example washing out my filthy boatbuilding clothes, having a shower etc !. Outside on the build i had a quick clean up of the site after my long planing sessions last week, cleaned and put away all of my tools and pulled back the covers to both vac the whole structure and get a couple of overall shots of the build. Iv’e got quite a bit of build admin to do today mainly because i found this morning that i need a lot more specific sized screws that i forgot to order last week and even basic consumables such as mixing cups for the many glue jobs i do in a day now.

Just as a side note this morning – the whole country seems to be in a panic (media induced) that they’re all going to run out of petrol or diesel so like lemmings they’re all queued at the pumps to not only fill their gas-guzzlers but every spare can they have. There have been arguments, actual fights and one ambulance that had to go via 4 stations before it could fill up. Sometimes i think that this country is just full of angry and entitled muppets !

Build progress September 2021

On the bench this week.

This week iv’e mainly been working on the fore and aft stringers that tie the whole boat together – at the start of the week i fitted the top pair which are probably the ‘easiest’ ones although in my case i found the job surprisingly hard ; mainly in just handling the long and floppy stock and getting it to stay in place at each upper frame notch. I found in the end that clamps weren’t that useful as they just tended to ping off and then the whole piece would fly off like a spring……some rather salty language may have been used because at one point my excellent neighbor came around and helped me with one of the practical problems.

For the rest of the week iv’e just been trying to fit the lowest pair of stringers (not the bilge/chine stringers which are already on) and these have been much more difficult so far than the top pair. The main problems iv’e had have been in bending the stringer both across it’s width (edge bending) and face bending it at the same time… add to bends in both planes the stringer also twists at bow and stern…..strongly so at the stern. I found it next to impossible to dry fit the whole stringer in one go so what i did instead was to work out a datum length at one of the frames and then completely fit the stringer at the middle 3 frames first and then slowly move fore and aft ; as of this morning one side is completely on except at the bow where iv’e yet to cut the notch in the bow girder and strongly bend and twist the stringer into it.

Improvised stringer twisting tool.


Iv’e had a challenging week because all week iv’e been doing things that iv’e never done before and every day iv’e had to problem-solve and come up with improvised solutions to each problem. The picture above shows one of my solutions to bending the stringers where the shape of the boat demands it – there for example the shape has some tumblehome and there’s more at the transom so the top of the stringer has to twist into the boat as well as bending on edge and face at the same time.

Yes, iv’e used nearly every clamp that i own – the big ‘Irwin’ quick-clamps have been superb but a lot of the time iv’e had to create and hold the bend and twist with long cable ties and lengths of cordage ; this morning it was strange seeing the whole structure with all of the clamps, cable ties and string taken away. Next…..having a break to go and get coffee and cake in town but i know that the super-useful local Screwfix store will be open so that will be one of my stops for more laminating brushes and another pack of 400mm cable ties…..oh and our local Tesco for a hundred disposable mixing cups.

Build progress September 2021


  1. Hi Steve – very impressive!
    Do you want to borrow some more clamps? You can never have to many … I could bring some on Tuesday


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