Goblins, Sawing, and Getting Jiggy

I sent a whole day sawing Oak last Friday, the noise grinds you down a bit but the smell is fantastic! Sawing great lumps of Oak into 5mm thick slats creates a startling amount of sawdust, very expensive sawdust, still I can’t see another way round it. The beast of a saw at my father’s workshop has a very sharp new blade with a 3mm kerf which means to get 70mm of laminated beam I need around 125mm to start with.

The startling amount of sawdust settled on an equally startling amount of wine storage, (father has his priorities well sorted) which meant about an hour of sweeping and vacuuming at the end of the day.

The Oak started the day like this….


Once it was all sawn, this is what I was left with…


I hadn’t really thought through the amount of wastage so it will be back to the sawmill at some point to get some more. Meanwhile I’ve ordered some mild steel angle cut into 50mm lengths, from the The Metal Store, some bolts washers and wing nuts it’s time to make the jig!

time passes…..

Snow falls and 9 year old daughters must be appeased with snow man making.

Snowman or Snowgoblin?
Snowman or Snowgoblin?

He came out a little more martial then we were expecting with his teasel trident and ice shield. He lasted almost a week, looking more like a small white duck towards the end but still clinging on to ‘life’.

Eldest son, (usefully training to be an engineer) was cajoled into getting his hands dirty filing off burrs, and then the slightly warmer, inside by the fire, but rather tedious marking out. Now if I can just persuade son #2 and #3 to study Navigation and Sail Making we could have the makings of a pretty good team!

Filing of the burrs with Toby
Filing off the burrs with Toby

Back to the leaky workshop and before drilling 84 holes in 28 bits of steel angle, first get the trusty old drill working. After several years of neglect sitting under a leak in the roof, its more rusty than trusty and the belt shredded within moments. New belt from Lenco Motors, a squirt of oil, and the removal of some spacers to get the belt to fit, soon had it up and running.

Trusty old Drill
Rusty but Trusty Old Drill

Next job, make a jig…. yes I’m making a jig to make clamps for a jig… to make frames for the boat. It does seem a bit of a long winded process as my wife sweetly pointed out.

The Drilling Jig in use
The Drilling Jig in use

The conversation went something like this;

“What are these bits you’re making, dearest heart?”

“They’re clamps, my own sweet darling”

“Why, wherever do they go on the boat, you clever man?”

“Well my love, they don’t actually go on the boat…. they are more like tools… to make bits… that do go on the boat…”

“What?! You mean you’re spending all this time and money making things that aren’t even part of the boat?!” (thinks; “Dear lord what have I done to deserve this nincompoop?”)

Meanwhile, back in the cold and damp, a happy day is spent drilling, next stage, wooden pads.

Clamps ready for the next stage
Clamps ready for the next stage

Some leftover Walnut worktop seems a bit extravagant for clamps but its too small for any other use so…

Leftover Walnut worktop cut into blocks and marked up ready for drilling
Leftover Walnut worktop cut into blocks and marked up ready for drilling
Screwed onto the steel angles
Screwed onto the steel angles
Rounded off and squared up...
Rounded off and squared up… does that make any sense at all?

The advantage of a bench disc sander is getting everything nice and square.

Finally! The finished clamps.
Finally! The finished clamps.

Next up, make the bed which might look something like this…

Drawing for the frame laminating jig
Drawing for the frame laminating jig

I’m sure this project is making very slow progress for anyone reading it, (don’t kid yourself man, there’s no one out there) but I’m starting to feel like things are moving forward. 🙂

Paraffin, Presents and goodbye Shipwreck

So here we are, a few days in to 2016 and I’d like to have something more momentous to report other than the strong winds, tail end of storm Dave, Eva or Frank or whoever, which ripped the tarpaulin off the frame requiring a morning spent wrestling it back on. But the fact is, for the last month there’s  been nothing more than some ineffectual pottering, inconsequential scraping, untimely stripping, and a morsel of polishing, in fact anything that puts off the moment of biting the bullet and actually starting to laminate frames. “It’s the weather.” I tell myself as another drip finds its way down my collar. “I need a workshop” I mutter as I squelch about in the mud. However, Christmas spending has depleted the workshop building pot to non existence so work will have to continue on a weather permitting basis.

On a more positive note 25 litres of paraffin have found their way into my possession (thank you Brian!) and with this seemingly inexhaustible supply I fired up the old blow torch for some nice warm paint stripping.

Paraffin Blow Torch getting scarily hot
Paraffin Blow Torch getting scarily hot

It’s a bit of a fiddle getting it fired up and it’s heavier than a gas one but there is something satisfying about a tool that’s on its third generation and it certainly keeps you warm!

More paint stripping...
More paint stripping…

It took a couple of hours to get to this stage (below) and there is still many hours of picking, scratching, scraping and sanding to go to get all trace of paint off…. where are my boys when I need them?

Lesson learned here is never paint wood if you might ever want it unpainted!
Lesson learned here is never paint wood if you might ever want it unpainted!

In these dark winter days the interior of Flamingo’s cabin is dim at best. Luckily my lovely wife bought me this old brass lamp for Christmas, with half a dozen more like this I may even be able to read a chart in there….

Despite much rubbing, no boat building genie appeared...
Despite much rubbing, no boat building genie appeared…

The arrival of the paraffin lamp prompted the removal of the nasty lighting and wiring, legacy of a previous owner.

Shoddy cabling...
Shoddy cabling…
Lights and wiring stripped out
Lights and wiring stripped out and all looking much cleaner.

Realising the little lamp was not giving quite the output required for working, I filled up and fired up an old pressure lamp. It adds heat and light in about equal measure and if I had portholes and wash boards in, might have actually made Flamingo, dare I say….. cosy!

Faithful old pressure lamp kicking out the heat
Faithful old pressure lamp kicking out the heat

The extreme weather continued and days of rain culminated in the stream by the house rising about 1.5m in a few hours bringing it perilously close to the house. Remarkably an hour or so after the rain stopped the water level dropped back down to more normal winter levels. Still I think some sand bags might be a wise precaution.

This being the time of year for promises and plans I am adding another resolution to the ‘no alcohol during the week’ one that ‘we’ have decided on. I have shortened and prioritised the mahusive Schedule of Works from September last year, into a smaller, still daunting, but hopefully achievable list of jobs for 2016. I wont bore you with the details, but if I can complete it, I will have a watertight, seaworthy hull before the year is out and Tilly will no longer be able to refer to this project as ‘Daddy’s Shipwreck’.

’til next time…