Sunday, 19 October 2014

Keelson on - Stems Glued - Tent up

There has been some fits and starts with the Charlotte build. Some friends from the Wooden Boat Association also starting builds have applied peer pressure with a mutual guideline - "do at least one thing on the boat project every day".  I got off to a good start but then a few other priorities got bumped up and that "one thing" became just thinking about what I would like to do next on the boat project,  Well I am now on top of these other things and , weather permitting, it's game on with the boat.  I'll try to post more regularly as bits get done. This post covers quite a few things done over the last couple of weeks.

The keelson was cut some weeks ago but before fitting it I champhered the internal edge with a small brass spokeshave (I'll post a pic of this later). Then I sanded the three internal faces.  This is all much easier to do now before the hull is built. Here's a pic of clamping the keelson on the jig and checking for straight.

Then I got to work sanding the faces of the Stems for similar reasons and planing the glue faces  
flat.  I then clamped the stems to the keelson, I cut wedges which matched the curved profile of the stems so that I could clamp perpendicular on both edges. I used some strips of that non-slip mesh used in kitchen cupbords so that when it comes to be glued, the stem won't slide off the mark.  You can see all this in the following pic.

Next step was to mark the shape for a filler piece that goes between the end of the jig and the stem.  This will be glued to the jig but left free at the stem edge and clamped while all the shaping work is going on with the stems.  I made my stems a bit longer than the plans so that I can firmly clamp them to the end projection on the filler piece.  I am also giving myself the option to have higher stem projection on the canoe above sheer for holding it and maybe securing an anchor line.

 Then finally as the sun set today I got the stems glued to the keelson so the actual boat itself is finally on it's way!

And now with the next five days with rain around it's time to erect the canoe tent. I built 5 arch supports from 50mm PVC plumbing tubing and two of these are secured to the tressles holding the jig. You can see the wooden attaching pieces I made with circular cut out to fit the PVC tube. Yes there is a chance of a grey flying canoe house crossing the Tasman (with canoe inserted) if we get a big blow!  But it is easy to dismantle on building days and re-erect and leaves me with room to move around the building jig. The arch supports fit inside one another at the end of the deck and don't take up much space. Here's a couple of shots inside and outside the tent.  I have ridge poles for the sides but didn't get time to fit them today when I took the pic.


Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Building Tom Hill's Charlotte Canoe

Just started my first real boat build after spending lots of time on design modifications on the model of Skye Maid.  Tom Hill's canoe design Charlotte is a great first boat to build for lapstrake design. It has six planks a side, beveled stems and inner and outer gunnels. All the basic elements of small wooden boats. Tom's book "Ultra light Boat Building" and DVD on Charlotte building are a great substitute for boat building school. The plans are a simple one sheet.  I have had the ply for the planks all ready for this for some time.  It's 4mm Bruynzeel Gaboon imported by Andrew Denman in Tasmania.  Target weight for the canoe is 27lb so let's see how close I can get to this.

I copied the mould shapes from the plans onto monofilm.....

 .....I've cut out the moulds from 9mm marine ply and will keep the female parts for help in shaping ring frames which I might add to support foot supports and maybe bouyancy tanks (both of which are not part of standard design). 
   The building jig is a bow of two 6 inch by 1 inch planks. I've used finger jointed pine for this which seems a lot harder to spread than what Tom uses in his video. Here I am using reversed clamps to spread my bow - I couldn't make it to Tom's specified breadth but I think it will work OK.

  ...........and after a couple of days I have the jig settled with moulds and stronback attached.

   I'm trying to follow everything pretty close to Tom Hill's methods in his DVD.  I've made trestles like he has and found them very unobtrusive and very useful for stacking clamps and boat pices out of the way.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Cruising Fulmar - More design mods

A few pics to update some modest progress on my design mods for the Cruising Fulmar. For the benefit of those not reading earlier posts, this is to be an 18ft lapstrake cruising cutter based on Iain Oughtred's original design for the Fulmar and with inspiration and modified plans drawn by Kees Prins.  The extra work I am doing is to get more cabin space, have twin rudders stick driven and insert a well  for the outboard.

Re the cabin space, I have decided to push the centreboard aft so that the front of the case sits under the bridge deck and have a dagger board just ahead of the mast step to give lateral resistance matching the sailplan. This means no centreboard case in the main cabin space.  You can hopefully get the idea of this with yhe model pics below with white cardboard in the model representing the centreboard case and forward dagger board case.

Centreboard will sit just under cockpit floor. The two brass tubes drive the twin rudders and will sit just above the cockpit floor.  The centreboard will swing down and not be as wide as standard design but total lateral resistance will also come from the forward dagger board as well as more effective size of rudders area compared to one rudder. The combination of swing centreboard and forward dagger board will allow flexible options to trim balance and set rigs with the three sails of the cutter rig.

...and here you can see the forward dagger board case represented by the white cardboard and teh extra space created in teh main cabin area - bunk soace either side and feet space projecting back under cockpit seats. The square frame (which will be stainless steel)  is mast step support - mast will be in tabernacle on cabin top.  This frame give some central space for (optionally) a seat, a kitchen box/cock top, or a porta poti. 

And now for the cabin. I am experimenting with a stitch and glue structuring of the cabin top. The pics below shows the "chine lines" on which this cabin top will be put together.  I'm in the process of spiling the patterns for the "planks" which make up this cabin top.  The strata in this mock up will not be part of the structure - it's just there to show the lines.  More to come once I have had a go at making the stitch and glue model.


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Skye Maid lives

Gradually getting some momentum back on the ultimate project - my (approx) 18ft gaff cutter version of Iain Oughtred's Fulmar and Kees Prins' Far Fetch design.  Here's a pic of where I am at right now working on the 1/5th model. I have made a model of the Tohatsu 5HP 4 stroke short shaft outboard and done a cut out in the stern to test how it will dip below keel level and swing out the back.  It's a bit border line as to whether I need to go for the long shaft to get it clearing the transom and I will have to get the well isolated to stop getting pooped in sloppy conditions. You will also notice the final configuration for the push rod steering system, now isolated to the top area of the transom. I'm going to have to lengthen the boat a little bit more to make the cockpit comfortable for two people to windward.  So we are getting close to 18ft now. More work to do on cabin ergonomics. I'm thinking of planning it for single handed comfort with the option of a removable pipe birth for second occupant.  Also looking at an arch support under mast to provide central seating position in front of centreboard case.


Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Lake District Downunder

Living where I do you would think I would have got organised with more real boating activity but I am making steps towards it.  I do a bit of looking at the water even if I am not out on it. A nice walking track is just 5 minutes away beside Narrabeen Lakes.  Here's a pic of the trail I walked this morning taken with my new phone (yes I am slowly climbing into the 21st century).

I though I would have a go at video as well to catch the bird sounds - they were all out this morning, whip birds, owls and others I don't recognise. I captured a few on this video of the vacant launching ramp at the end of the trail awaiting arrival of my yet to build Tom Hill canoe. I thought Dylan Winter might be amused by this one. He's a well known UK sailing blogger who is an expert camerman. When I got home I realised I had taken the video upside down! Well the phone doesn't have a clear Top and Bottom on the case does it? Anyway as luck would have it I was really going to post these pics to talk about the Lakes District Downunder. Whilst it's a mini version compared to the UK lakes district, it hasn't stopped the founding fathers naming nearby streets Windamere, Grassmere etc.  Except for the seagulls dancing on the ceiling you won't notice it's upside down until it gets to the end and the sky and houses come into view - enjoy!  (it's a bit stretch re 16:9 format - I'll improve it later.)

Fetching Overarching Articles in Wooden Boat

The arrival of recent Wooden Boat magazine reminded me of how slack I have been on blogging.  Even more embarrassing I've also just noticed John How is getting close to launching his big Fulmar. So thought I should add a few items, even if the boat building hasn't progressed much.

There is a comprehensive article on Kees Prins cruising conversion of Iain Oughtred's Fulmar from page 38 (see index page below). It refers to plans being available from Kees for the modifications I commissioned him to do for a cruising cutter version of his boat - he refers to this as FarFetch. So if you are inspired to have  ago at the boat I am developing you can get the drawings from Kees at  You will also need the full plans for Fulmar from Iain Oughtred at

Also in the same Wooden Boat is a life story of NZ born Arch Davis, now ensconced in Maine - it's a wonderful tale many of us latter day boat fanatics would be envious of. His Penobscot designs are stunning.  I wrote away for his DVD of Building the Penobscot 14 to add to my virtual boatbuilding  school and it has many practical demonstrations - I can recommend it as money well spent if you are starting out like me.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Back to the Boat - Cabin Fever

At last some free time to potter in the boatshed! Taking stock of where I last got to (it's been a while) I've been making some modification to Kees Prins "Far Fetch" plans.  The main mods done to date are lengthening the hull by 8 inches to 17 ft 5 inches, centering the outboard cut out and adding twin rudders. The remaining item I had not yet modeled was the cabin size and ergonomics. To do this I first built a "lining-off" jig out of quad aluminium tubing and plastic connectors. This sits on my workbench over the model and I can measure down from the centre bar into the hull to check all mods and also do final lining off of the whole model prior to modifying the original plans from Kees Prins and Iain Oughtred.  You will see a pic below showing me starting to use this with the work I am doing on cabin design.

First thing I did re cabin space was to add 2 inches to the sheer. You can see this in pic above - pretty rough planking with that gap there but I will fair it up later. This was a bit of a pain to do as I had already fitted an inwale on the previous sheer plank. Next I added deck beams at station 2, 3 and 6 (the main structural deck points where I would be playing with cabin shape) and then made a cardboard deck. I drew a preferred deck perimeter for the hull/deck joint and made (extended) focal point of these curves ending just in from the bow where the forestay is to be anchored (you will see this point used in later pic re cabin slope). I took lining off x,y,z's of these perimeters and played with them on Delft ship CAD to get fair lines then.  After many cups of tea and coffee sitting looking at various ideas I came up with the following cabin profile which gave me head space sitting up in the bunk and included an extended front cabin roof for a bit more airspace and dry storage (there will just be a deck beam there in the middle, not a bulkhead as in the mock up).

Now to make a more permanent cabin model which I have started in the next pic. I am making the whole cabin structure above deck as a separate item so I can lift it off and view internal space as more detailed internals are checked.

Here's an amended draft on Kees Prins plans to show the full extent of hull and sheer increase and the new cabin design (new profile lines in red). New cabin is (relative to waterline) 9 inches higher at rear, 3 inches higher at front (both include the extra 2 inches sheer) for main cabin section and the forward extension is 17 inches long.  Note that there will now be no anchor hatch - this will help maintain clear foredeck space given the extended cabin. I intend to keep the anchor and warp in a self contained box inside the hull.  I also have plans for a small dorade box in the front cabin section to improve hull airing in our hot humid climes here.
I suspect waterline will come up a bit with the added displacement from higher sheer and cabin profile and it is starting to look a bit more like a motor sailor but that's acceptable compromise for me.

Here's some more pics a few days later after adding some more realistic cabin facings. Umbrella pole is roughly where mast will be.

A view dead ahead from about waterline level....

...and side on at deck level with 15 degrees heel....on the wind.