Wednesday, 9 November 2016

The Build Continues

I finally got to work on the boat again - Alleluia!

This type of boat has an outer stem that is separate to the inner stem - the stem being the very front of the boat. Whilst the inner stem is made from Douglas Fir, the outer is from a hardwood: Utile, which is a timber from Western Africa and used as a substitute for mahogany. 

Here is a photo of the outer stem in place - it's the dark wood.

The problem was how to bend such a large piece of hardwood without the wood snapping? Assuming I was strong enough to carry out that task.

The answer was that I built the outer stem from 5 layers of Utile - shown below - rather than one solid piece.

Even then the risk of snapping the pieces as they were bent through almost 90 degs was high. I therefore resorted to the shipwright's old trick of steaming the wood. This in turn raised the problem of how to steam it. Then I had a eureka moment and took the rain drain pipe and end-bend from my workshop and brought it into the 'boathouse'.

Drain pipe from roof that was removed to become a steamer!

 I also took the kettle from the kitchen whilst Pat was distracted.

I put the wood  for steaming into the drain pipe, the other end I inserted into the kettle and switched it on

I wanted the steam, from the boiling water in the kettle, to stay in the pipe for as long as possible and so I tore the sleeve off my shirt and stuffed it into the far end of the pipe.

After 10 minutes or so I took out the steamed Utile and, as quickly as I could, screwed it into place. It worked really well despite being really hot to handle. 
     This process was repeated for the next four pieces and then left overnight to settle into its new shape.

I was quite pleased with myself, camera blur notwithstanding.


  1. Ingenuity at its finest. I showed my hubby and he said, "he must be a Brit!"
    Be proud, proud.
    I am very impressed.

  2. I'm a Shipwright, Julie, it's what we do - Necessity is the mother of invention