Eschewing Steel, Frog spawn and Spring.

After the disappointment of the badly welded steel floors I’ve decided to make new wooden floors. The mixture of steel, oak and saltwater was a recipe for corrosion anyway and I have never been keen on the through-the-hull bolts that held the whole lot together. That’s my excuse anyway, and it has nothing to do with the fact that constructing wooden floors means more time spent in father’s cosy work shop with its steady supply of tea, biscuits and soup and less time out in a chilly, damp orchard… nothing whatsoever…

Off cuts of oak ready to made into floors

‘Impoverished’ boat restorers get their supplies from wherever they can find them. This oak, some of which will be used for floors, some of which is probably only good for the fire, came from raised bed off cuts, an old friend (thanks Rupert) and Wealden Oak.

Where the keel bolts have compressed the Elm keelson over years of tightening, the timber has become compressed and more and more steel washers have been used to pack them out. Together, #1 Son and I squatted in the bowels of the boat and chiselled out the old timber to let in some new Oak blocks. Good to sit and chat whilst working together, despite the pins and needles.

Bolt blocks
letting blocks into the keelson for the keel bolts


Meanwhile disaster struck in the workshop. The trusty bandsaw guide mechanism snapped. Calls to the supplier proved fruitless, the part is no longer stocked and no, we can’t suggest an alternative. Faced with buying a new bandsaw, inspiration struck and cousin Kerry (modelmaker extraordinaire) was called into action,

and that which was broken became whole…

Nesting birds

Away from boat building spring is in full swing, the never ending mowing marathon has started again, hampered slightly by the presence of a blackbird’s nest in the mower shed. I was so excited to see the eggs a few weeks ago but worried my regular intrusions might put Mrs B off her incubating duties. Luckily she just hunkered down and carried on and subsequent visits showed 4 healthy looking chicks!


Frog spawn

Tilly spotted this in the woods by the pond. Confused frog who thought the damp moss was water, or do some frogs or toads spawn on the ground? If so how do the tadpoles survive? Who knows… anyway we put some in the pond and left some where it was. We’ll see what happens.


and of course there is always homework… today’s project is brought to you by the word ‘tessellation’ Tilly decided this was a homework for the two of us (plus cousin Crissy) so many thin slices of hazel were cut and stuck in an semi-regular tessellation (with a bit of artistic license for the limitations of a natural material that gets smaller along it’s length).



Inspiration comes from many sources, whether it’s someone’s comment on this blog, a beautiful old photograph of a classic, or a YouTube video of someone’s project. Here’s a selection of a few things that have inspired me recently.

Watch any of Leo Sampson Goolden’s posts about his restoration of Tally Ho and you can’t fail to be inspired by his enthusiasm in the face of the massive project he’s taken on.

Joshua Slocum’s round the world voyage in his homemade boat ‘Spray’ is the stuff off legend and it’s easy to forget what an achievement it was until you see how small and basic Spray was.


There is a wealth of information and talent out there and so much of it is free. Susan P Fino restores old nautical themed photographs and generously posts them on Facebook for us all to enjoy.

Restored photo
…and you thought modern Americas Cup yachts were extreme!
love these old images from the days of working sail.


Well , I started writing this about 3 months ago so I suppose I should publish it. Hopefully there won’t be so long before the next riveting update. 🙂

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