Thursday, 22 March 2018


Life keeps getting in the way of the boat-build; I won't bore you with the details. Having said that, there isn't a lot to say about sanding, but I'll try.

The tip to be emphasised is 'Wipe off the surplus glue, from both outside and inside, whilst you are gluing. Don't leave it to set hard or you will suffer from the sanding problem I have now."  

I was warned, but the significance of it was either not fully understood or/and not emphasised enough.

What seems such an apparently easy job - wipe off glue with wet cloth - isn't as easy as all that, for three reasons:

1. The inside of the boat, shown in the picture above, is hidden when you're gluing because the boat is upside down at the time and it's difficult to see, or get at, the surplus glue.

2. Even when you wipe all the glue off the problem isn't solved,  because one attribute of the type of glue used is that it expands to fill gaps. 
   This expansion continues for up to an hour and leads to the surplus glue continuously expanding out of the seam, and you have to wipe it off after every expansion.

Planking edge Glue

3. Where the masking tape was used to stop the moulds (molds) sticking to the planking, there is a considerable build up of glue. The worst of this I remove with a chisel, but there is a risk of damaging the planks with this method if you're too heavy handed. I'm not!

Tape with build up of glue beneath it

So I've been sanding for days and days and got about a half of the boat completed.

I'm mostly using the round orbital sander, supplemented  with my rectangular one.

Round Random Orbital Sander
Rectangular Orbital Sander

The rectangular one is of limited use with the concave curve of the inside planking, whilst the round one soon gets through the paper backed sanding discs. The wear on the disks is chiefly at the edges.

I looked around for alternative discs and came up with there metal mesh ones that have tiny hooks all over its surface.

They seem marginally better, but I've only just started to use them, so I will update you their performance at a later date.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Not Exactly a Boat, But......

I can't really claim that I have a boat yet, but certainly turning her over and removing the last few moulds (molds) has produced a hull, which I boarded for the first time.

The white strips you can see are the masking-tape I used to stop the moulds from getting glued to the planking. The next task is to sand -paper the hull internally, so as to remove all vestiges of glue.

An interesting view taken from inside the hull, giving a view never possible to see when she was being built upside-down.

You can see all the glue that has to be removed running (white) between each plank. Important Lesson to learn: wipe off as much surplus glue as you can whilst it's still wet - given that it is almost impossible at times when the hull is upside-down and full of moulds. 

Friday, 9 February 2018

Turning The Boat - Stage 5

Stem clear of workshop floor

I began by taking out the forward support, which left the stem clear of the workshop floor which meant that the weight of the boat was now hanging from the front pulley system, and and the temporary uprights along the boat.

Next I removed all temporary uprights, except the two at the transom.
A Temporary Vertical Support Clamped to the Transom
With a large gulp, I took away both of the remaining supports. The boat was now hanging from both pulley systems and the two back ropes at the transom.

It was time to test the theory: if I slackened one black rope, that side of the boat would dip, as the boat turned about its centre line. So I put it to the test and slackened one black rope.

Black Rope on left Slackened and Boat Dips
The theory was working. I placed pillows along the workshop floor in case the boat scraped along it - you can see them on the above picture.

The boat was raised a few inches by using both pulley systems. I then slackened the black rope on the left and the boat turned a bit more.
This process was repeated until the boat hung vertically

Boat in Vertical Position 

Leaving the boat hanging from the pulleys I moved the black ropes over: that is to say I left them tied to the transom but moved the top end of the left rope across to the right hand scaffold, and vice-versa with the left. Exactly to the theory. 

You can see the reason for this swap in the picture below (taken before I swap ropes) and comparing it to the following picture (taken after I swap the ropes). The top rope was was taken down from the right hand scaffold and slung across the left hand scaffold,

Boat Hanging Six Inches Above Workshop Floor

In the above picture you can see why I changed the black ropes over: now instead of crossing each other they can help to lower the boat.

At this stage I assembled the cradle I had made (see few postings ago) earlier.

Positioning the cradle ends (note carpet on each to protect the boat's paintwork)

Connecting and Bracing Cradle Ends
(White blobs on side of boat are reflections from Camera Flash)
Using the pulleys and black ropes allowed the boat to be dropped snugly into the assembled cradle in the exactly right position as the spirit level confirms. 

The Boat is a Very Dark Blue - not the bright blue caused by camera flash.

I am therefore pleased to report that my theory for turning the boat single-handed, within its own length and width, was achieved in a  way that was exactly as visualised.
                                                QED (Quod Erat Demonstrandum)
 Not bad for an 80 year old!

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Turning The Boat - Stage 4

People are concerned that, at 80, I shouldn't turn this boat over on my own, whereas I see it as a fun challenge. In theory (!!!) I see no problems with the system I have devised. It all revolves - pun intended - around two pulley systems: 

Pulley System, forward.

Pulley System, aft
The hardest part by far is already done, first I removed the moulds (molds) upon which the planking was formed:

The Moulds (Molds)

This was a tough job which involved squirming around under the boat and squeezing up between the moulds (not for those with claustrophobia). Each of these moulds had to be carried 200 yards (183 m) to the shed I built just to store the boat materials. 

That's 26 journeys carrying very heavy and awkward moulds. Then I had to remove the building jig itself (to which the moulds had been attached) 

Part of the Building Jig during its construction
The Working Drawing I  Made of the Building Jig

With all the moulds and most of the Building Jig removed, there is very little holding the boat up and not toppling. To stop it falling over I have clamped some temporary uprights in place.

Temporary Uprights attached to three Moulds which are left to help maintain boat's shape during turning
Temporary upright on transom.
In addition I have packed under the boat, forward, to stop stem damage, below:

I then had a grand cleanup as there places that couldn't be reached whilst the building jig was in place.

It's just about ready to start the actual turning operation now, but that won't happen for a few days yet: other commitments

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Turning The Boat - Stage 3

 One good idea suggested was that we slide the boat out onto the drive on planks, roll it over, and slide it back in. This would work except for the fact that my drive is on a steep slope - visions of toboggans comes to mind.

Related image

I've watched lots of videos on turning the boat over and they all call for lots of lifting power - usually men, jacks and ropes - and/or lots of space. I have none of those facilities and so I think I have come up with my own way, which I expect has been used many times over the years.

It occurred to me that if I could suspend the boat by two ropes: one  attached the outside of the front of the boat - about mid-way down the stem - and the other mid-way down the outside of the transom  (back)... then the boat could be rotated within its own length beam (width).

It would be naive of me to believe the boat would turn nice and gently. Once I got it towards 90 deg of turning (halfway) it would probably need raising, as the side would hit the floor. Therefore it might be better if the ropes holding the the boat were block and tackles. To my amazement I could buy two sets off Amazon UK for £25 (US$36) total; they are light weight each capable of lifting 184 kgs, that's 368 kgs. between them ... or approx 800 pounds. The design says that the weight of the boat should be about 400 pounds, which gives me a lot of leeway.  

The next problem would be that the boat would run away with me once I passed the 90 deg point, and could swing about wildly and get damaged. Therefore I intend to add a couple of ropes with which I could control the rate of descent (I'm back with flying aeroplanes again).

Stage Three is all about building a structure from which the blocks & tackles and restraining ropes could could be attached. There is no roof structure I could use, so I began by fitting one upright at the front, braced against lateral movement by 2 x 1 inch battens (Picture 1)

PICTURE 1 - showing the forward lifting upright and £10 block and tackle

 The upright is bolted to a 4" x 2" spar that runs the length of the boat to the aft lifting arrangement at Picture 2.

PICTURE 2 - The longitudinal spar connected to the aft lifting arrangement
From picture 2 (ignore all the metal parts which are the garage door system) you can see there are two wooden uprights (scaffold planks) which act as lifting uprights. These are bolted to the transverse 4" x 2"beam. The longitudinal spar from the forward upright is bolted, above the centre (center) line of the boat, to the transverse beam.

That's as far as I've got ... but watch this space.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Turning The Boat - Stage 2

The weather got warmer for a short while, so I took the opportunity to get the third, and final, coat of red anti-fouling paint done.

I then needed to dismantle all but three of the moulds (molds) in preparation for turning Seagull.

To remind you how the moulds are constructed:

1. The mould is cut from particle board, then sawn in half down its centre line (for easy extraction!) and then rejoined by screwing to three pieces of 2" x 1":

2.  The Moulds are screwed to vertical uprights, and braced by diagonal struts.

3. The vertical uprights are fixed to the building-jig by two bolts

TIP: Cover the bolts and nuts in masking tape to protect them from glue: they take 30 seconds to undo ... but ... if glue falls on them and sets (as it did on many of mine) it can take 15 - 30 minutes to get each bolt unfastened.


The idea is to leave three moulds in place: one forward, one aft and one midships - to support the boat whilst rigging her for turning. To remove the other 10 see below:

a. Undo and remove the bolts at 3 (above).
b. Unscrew and remove diagonal bracing struts at 2 (above).
c. Unscrew and remove the three 2" x 1" pieces holding the two          halves together at 1 (above).
d. Unscrew and remove the vertical supports at 2 (above). Pull out      and store the verticals 
e. The two halves of the moulds will need to be pulled to & fro            until they come free.

Seeing inside the boat without moulds, is like seeing the boat for the first time. In the picture below, the pieces of tape are where the moulds were. The tape stops the moulds getting glued to the boat, which is something I worried about. 

Inside The Boat

So far the tape has worked, but there is still that moment of anxiety when you first try to pull the moulds free ... they really don't want to be pulled out of the comfort of Seagull and into the cruel world, and then dumped in a pile.

I have been watching videos of boats being turned - 12 strong men is favourite, with elaborate lifting gear coming a close second. All I have is me and a hot mug of steaming Assam tea! Can't wait to see what I do.... but 'do it' I will :)

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Turning The Boat - Stage 1. (Does my Bottom Look Big in This?)

Reasons for loooooong delay in posting: 3 months away in Australia, Christmas, and daughter's Wedding!

I've got to the point when I need to turn the boat 'right-way-up'.  However, there remains the outstanding task of applying the final (third) coat of the red anti-fouling. With temperatures hovering around freezing I'm putting off painting as it's outside the temperature range of limits for the paint's application.

There remains many stages to turning Seagull over, not least a cradle for it to sit in. As she has a rounded bottom! Without the cradle she will roll about as I work inside, and the paint will get scratched.

I used the two off-cuts from the moulds (molds) '9' and '4' for the 

The moulds (molds)

ends of the cradle.

CRADLE ENDS from off-cuts from Moulds 4 & 9  (9 is nearest)
Next, strips of carpet were cut and nailed to the edges of the cradle 
ends, to stop the cradle scratching the paintwork. I used felting 

Carpet nailed to edges of cradle.
nails as they have large flat heads which wouldn't pull through the carpet. (TIP: Convince wife that carpet in utility room is dangerous).

To keep the ends in place, as sides I used old tongue and grooved planks I had left over from building my workshop. These needed bracing to keep cradle rigid.

That is the first stage completed, but doesn't answer the question of how I will turn the boat over on my own ... I'm interested to know how I'm going to do it, remembering the small space I have.