deck beams

I removed foredeck stringers and one of the deck beams failed across the grain. so using as a pattern I have made  a replacement with spruce ply.  In order to get tenons at the beam ends into their respective mortices I made it in two interlocking pieces.  The two pieces now glued together. Sealed and sanded  it is now pegged into place.


Thigh hooks

Connectivity for my thighs and knees has not been best so I removed my plywood hooks and re-designed them a bit to make them longer.  This has not been entirely successful because to attach them to gunwales they need to have more thickness at the base than is desirable, pushing my legs toward the centre of the boat.  They also needed to be at least doubled up to give the same thickness as before otherwise all the contact is on about 3/4 of an inch and is painful no matter how much padding I added. So a re-think...

As I am using a keyhole shaped coaming I thought to try and make 'ears' like you might find on a plastic or glass boat of modern design.  Using some odd bits of 4" PVC soil pipe and a hot air gun I think I have the makings of a solution.  I could yet make them out of a different material now I have established the shape, ply laminates, fibre-glass or the like but the PVC is very strong and may just do.  I am thinking they can be lashed to gunwales and coaming which will maintain strength across the cockpit opening and because they are much thinner they allow me to raise my knees a bit more which will ease my back.

So my next step is to lash in place and make sure of the shape and strength before re-making them out of some stronger 'underground' pipe.



I gave the whole armature a coat of linseed oil about a week ago.  It has hardened off sufficiently to move the frame onto the floor.  Now I am considering how to improve the cockpit, coaming and overall connectivity.  While it is still unskinned I can see how best to organise the air bags and storage.  I am thinking an airbag in the bow because it has to get past the footrest and for the stern, rigid foam in a nylon covering with attachment loops for the draw cords. There will still be storage space behind my seat and in front of my feet.  It either of the spaces are not in use I expect I will add additional air bags or inflated dry bags.


I have decided against epoxy coating the remainder of the frame as it will tighten up lashings , joints etc.  this will make the frame less resilient and subject to more local stresses.

So... my next task is to coat the remainder of the frame with another coat of oil (boiled linseed).


Now I have planed tapers and bevels to the supplementary stringers and lashed them into place.  It appears to have achieved the desired result.

Now I need to review my list of changes to see what's next.


Stringer repair

As my plan to change the profile includes beefing up stringer dimensions, I decided to apply a quick fix to the broken stringer by patching it from behind.  So gorilla glue and a scrap of cedar sorted that out. 

Now, I was thinking of adding another stringer alongside the innner one (the one nearest the keelson) However I have decided to plant another on top to increase the original's dimensions.  This will also have the effect of beefing up the repaired stringer and adding a bit more longitudinal strength (and of course weight).  I intend to taper off at each end and only be at full thickness under the seat area.  I expect this to have the effect of flattening the Vee angle on which I am sitting from about 160 degrees to 170.  This is based on rough and ready measurement of angles, over clamped on bits of wood with various dimensions.


A restart

Having been looking at the un-skinned hull of my boat over the winter I  finally became inspired to start work on it again. It has been dry for a few days and the humidity in the shed has decreased.  I took the opportunity offered by the warmth and brushed down the whole boat, particularly the stem and stern.   Now with mildew and dust removed and a little judicial sanding it was ready for some treatment.  That was Thursday...




The damaged stringer will need replacing but that is part of the planned upgrade and I intend to increase the dimensions, particularly at the area under the cockpit, and I will probably make the new ones out of something a little tougher than cedar.  The cedar is fine in larger dimensions but when things get a bit skinny then it seems too brittle. 

The skin came off without any fuss and only took a small splinter of wood off of one of the gunwales, so no issues there.  I am not so sure about the coating though.  I used a two pack acrylic clear coat which although was adequately waterproof, seemed to crack up quite a lot when flexed as I removed it.  The other thing which was a little disconcerting was how easily the skin was cut.  It seemed a lot less resilient with the coating than when it was bare nylon.  I will do some tests on uncoated fabric and see whether this is just my subjective opinion or this really is the case.



Well the skin is stripped off and this was very revealing (literally ;-). In fact it was kind of like greeting an old friend and I was happy to look over my previous efforts, even the smell of the cedar was more pronounced.

Each end was showing signs of mildew from damp  which had been retained (presumably from lack of air flow) so that will need some attention. Probably a coat or two of epoxy resin over the stem and stern plates to make them impervious to moisture ingress.



It seems I was a little careless in allowing users to register on this site without approval.  For my sins I had over 12000 registered spam users all posting shite which I am having to go through and delete (users and content).

Lesson learned but in the meantime I have suspended comments and user registration.  I won't update the site further until I have removed them all (just under 5000 to go).  Damn!

Well that was bloody epic.  6 clicks and two page downs to load 50 users for deletion, with the delays to and from the site, it took me over an hour to finish off.

Sorry but I also deleted the odd user that I would welcome too.  Please do apply to register again (you know who you are) as this time you need me to approve (there will be no issue with real people)



Resuming work

Today finally got started on the boat again. Set up in her new slings and they are at a good working height as well as being secure.  I don't want any repeats of previous escapades (escapes) where it fell off the saw horses and broke one of the stringers.

Further trials

A Thursday evening paddle was quite revealing of the boat's behaviour in a gentle swell.  I have to say it is not something I find comfortable.  The slightly veed hull gives it a tendancy to be twitchy and the swell, which ordinarily I would have had no problems with in my Avocet, made me feel unsteady.  Despite the fact that it has quite good secondary stability which I knew would come into effect if it went too far, constant twitchiness had me correcting it all the time (tiring). 

There are a number of things which need sorting out; 

  • The cockpit coaming is too wide and too high for effective rolling (to the back deck although it is fine for forward finishes)
  • cockit is too roomy for comfort
  • Thigh hooks work fine but are a bit hard on legs so need a bit of widening and some softening.
  • I want to round off the hull profile a bit more and create a flatter area to sit on
  • I have a broken stringer (fell off my sawhorses while in workshop) so needs replacing
  • foredeck is too high

All of the above can only really be addressed by removing the skin and then replacing with a new one.  This is not all bad as it will give me a chance to sort out my seams which I was not entirely happy with and stitch some loops to the deck for lines etc.  I also want to add some blocks beneath skin on the back deck to attach a jam cleat and fairlead for a towline.  At the moment I am doing some work on the workshop itself but when that is complete I will make some modifications.



Open water

Thursday evening at Newtown Creek proved interesting.  Once it gets moving stability increases and it's lightness helps in the moving department too.  It zooms away! Could use a back band and a bit more hip padding though. Getting off the water was easier too as I just pulled alongside some steps, got out and then lifted the boat out one handed and up onto the quayside.

Pictures taken by Barbara Robinson


Boat, body, water!

Well it didn't fall over when I put it on the water and was easy enough to get in and out of.  A few people paddled it and nobody had any difficulty getting in or out.  I took a picture while Paul put it through some manoeuvres which was very revealing of the boats characteristics.  It turns well on its gunwale and has good secondary stability.

deck lines then open water


Steering seams

Seams at  both ends are now started and working towards the cockpit.  Keeping a straight line is an interesting exercise!  The seam also adds a bit of final tension to the skin, so to keep straight needs a bit of thought as to where the needle goes in and comes out to maintain that tension.  The bow seam has a small deviation but that was necessary if not intentional as I had cut one side of the skin a bit short and had to move the seam over to accommodate it.  The stern seam is going better.  The push pins added to keep the skin in place have been a bit of a nuisance and keep snagging on the saw horses (quite a few pins have got broken and the remains needing to be carefully extracted) as well as catching the thread when sewing.  On the whole I think they're only useful initially while changes need to be made and they are best replaced with staples. On the subject of staples, they need to be the pointy type and not just plain chisel ends which cut the fabric. The pointed ones remove fine and do no noticable damage.



Finally the skin!

Well almost finally. No doubt there are a dozen other things to do too, but...

Draped the skin over and centered over the keelson and added a couple of pins at each end of the keelson.  Stitched a small pocket at the bow and then marked the stern. Added a couple of inches (or rather reduced by a couple of inches ), unhooked the bow, removed pins and moved skin back and made another pocket at the stern at the new mark, re-fitted the bow pocket.  Gave it a good heave and stretched over the stern too, re pinned the keelson to keep it central.  Now started trimming excess material off with a small knife heated on my blowlamp.

Once the excess material was off then stitched a zig-zag line through at the bow end to tension  the skin up a bit and see whether I could get all the wrinkles out without sewing a cut end over the bow.  Fortunately it seemed to work out ok.  Using a pair of canvas pliers and a staple gun then got some more tension on the skin from keelson to gunwales.  More trimming of excess material at the bow end.

The original plan was to use dental floss to stitch the skin but as the skin is olive green the floss was too white and looked terrible.  I found a reel of dark blue whipping twine which looks a lot better and commenced stitching from the bow using a simple overhand whip stitch.

I did get carried away a bit and forgot to raise my bow loop so I need to rescue that tomorrow but on the whole the stitching went fine and it has taken 95% of wrinkles out of the skin.  I found that trying to manage enough twine to stitch all the way back to the cockpit was a bit of a folly in that it is very hard to manage and it gets a bit wooly after it has all been pulled through every stitch.  I ended up trimming it back to make it more managable.  I will simply start a new length of twine where I ended the previous one.


Pre skin

A few minor but important details;  A loop at bow and stern to take a deck line added and holes drilled at cockpit end on beams (for the other ends).  Holes drilled for cross deck lines on stern deck.  Foredeck will just have bungie straps as it is too high to usefully add similar lines to reardeck.

The loops at each end are continuous, joined with a sheetbend and stitched for security.



More Progress

Had another clear up today and took a few more pictures.

Roll up snow sledge arrived today and I offered it up, looks very useful and holds itself in place without fixings.  It may need trimming a bit.



Coaming trimmed in width to 1.5 inches  (about 40mm in new money) and sanded.  Fitted to thigh hooks and sanded those too where they were uncomfortable.  Fitted floorboards and tried out but too close together for comfort so re-fitted a bit wider apart.  One failed as soon as I braced my thighs into the hooks so had to remake, this time out of oak. Now the spacing is too wide so I need to re-do yet again.  This has good points and bad; good, I am getting really quick at lashing, bad, I am using a lot of nylon cord.  So far I estimate I have used 6 skeins at 18 metres each, that is over 100 metres, but not all of it is in current use as quite a bit has been consigned to the bin. Pulled a piece of cloth over various bits of the frame and this revealed some areas which needed sanding some more.  New spraydeck,  from Reed ( arrived this morning and it fits the coaming fine (as far as I can tell as the coaming is not attached to anything yet) nice quality too.  Lots of sanding on the frame in general and giving some thought to holes for deck lines.  Paul H suggested that I might be able to dispense with a carry toggle which would save a couple of holes through the skin at each end and I have to agree.  The ends are narrow enough to hold without a toggle and realistically the whole boat should be light enough to comfortably shoulder anyhow. Should I ever need a tow, the deck lines shoud suffice to attach to.


More lashing!  ribs to gunwales in cockpit area and thigh braces.  Attached some stainless rings inside at each stem to act as a pulley for a draw cord to pull in airbags.  I did lash the second stringer ends at the front which are flying past the first rib but after checking the aft ones, found it to be unnecessary and removed it again as the lashing would impede the airbag draw cord. The skin will bring the ends into line with no effort.  Trimmed thigh braces to accept the coaming. Some minor filling with epoxy of tiny voids in the coaming. Going to fit floor boards in seat area only next, then check and make any minor adjustments to the fit and connectivity of the cockpit area.   Hope to get completed frame outside tomorrow and get some decent pictures of it.