Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Getting closer..but there's always one more thing!

Well the weather men (and ladies) said that this week we would have a nice high sitting over Ireland and temperatures touching 20 (that's 20C !)  Based on such balmy predictions, I thought I would charge ahead and finish out my little boat.

Alas the sun gods didn't want to play, so varnish coats are taking ages to dry and I'm finding more little jobs to finish.  Part of me perhaps doesn't want to the building process to end, I guess, but I am excited at the prospects of launching!

I played back and forth with the idea of mounting a bracket for my little electric trolling motor which I rarely use for my lough fishing.  But sense prevailed and so I spend a few days making an oar.  Just one.  I'm sure I mentioned here before how the traditional way of  "rowing" this boat is with one oar, while one counter-steers with the tiller.  Nice idea - hope it works!

The knot appeared out of nowhere!
So off to my local timer saw mill - Irish Timber Products.  David was as ever his cheery self and we reckoned that in fact larch would be suitable, and so we selected a nice straight grained example with as few knots as possible.  I brought it back home to realise that it wouldn't be wide enough, so a flurry of laminating resulted with various different species, which I thought might look well together.  I can hear the traditionalists already groan....but no matter.  Once I had the laminations made, using TiteBond 3 and about 60 clamps, I set about shaping the oar.  I had elected to make an 8' long oar and I had read that thin oars were most suited to a heavier style displacement boat, so I shaped a fairly narrow blade on my band-saw.

At that point, I realized that it would be a long day in the workshop armed solely with my spokeshave.  So I researched buying a draw-knife, but none were available at close quarters.  So I press-ganged an old lawnmower blade into service - welded two steel handles on it and used it to carve ash handles and then finally my oar. I was amazed at how controllable the draw knife was to use and sorry I hadn't built one years ago.
Very satisfying!

The oar is nearly finished except for a few more coats of varnish.  I found an old piece of leather lying around the workshop and made a rudimentary protection for the oar as it bears into the oar lock.  I have to figure out a way to make a button to stop the oar from sliding into the water.  I'm let to believe that a Turks head knot is the salty solution, but I have never made one before so no so sure how that will turn out.

I found this video on YouTube courtesy of SelfMadeSailor which might be worth emulating.

Home Made disk Sander

Mounting Pad for Oar Lock
Meanwhile, I went about building spacer blocks for my oar lock bronze mounts.  They have a slight indent on the mating surface, which had to be carved out.  I put my spindle sander to good use for this and indeed my home made 12" disk sander.

A more challenging task lay ahead.  I needed to drill holes ion the bottom of the hull to drain rainwater when on its trailer.  I had procrastinated over this task for many months, but eventually after a visit to my local chandler, I bought two drain plugs - bit the bullet and drilled two pilot holes from the inside of the hull.  Right up against the cross member steel beam of the trailer!  So I had to fiddle around with a variety of tools and small bobbin sander discs to get them to fit.   I had to cut off the points of the 3/4" bronze screws as they were protruding out of the bottom of the hull.  I simply withdrew them and clipped off their pointed ends and re-screwed them back in, then a final layer of epoxy on the hulls exterior.   I epoxied both in last night and today everything seems water tight and well sealed against rot.

When I was at the chandlers yesterday (nice folks at Marine Parts Direct), I bought two automatic bilge pumps - one for either side of the centre board - in much the same fashion as I positioned the drain plugs and a small battery.  Also a binnacle compass sneaked into the shopping list, along with a few other "necessities"!  I made a small housing out of Sapele today so that I can mount it on top of the centre board trunk cap.   It needs a sealing coast of epoxy and a few of varnish and that should make a nice elegant but useful addition to my Somes Sound.


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