20 October 2014

Both oars largely complete

I have carved out the second oar, and again, am very pleased with the result. The weights of the two are within 20gms at about 1900gm each. They balance at almost the same point and they even fit the rowlocks, which was a bit of luck because I had forgotten to check those when I started!

Planing them to match was much easier than I expected. By laying the finished one alongside the one I was working on, I could continuously compare them visually, and using a cheap vernier calliper, I just compared thicknesses at any position along them. I still haven't managed to hollow out the blades either side of the central ridge. I bought a convex base spokeshave and it is one of the worse tools I have wasted money on. The curve of the blade doesn't match the curve of the base. The chip breaker doesn't fit properly, even after regrinding, and the blade was blunt. I couldn't get a single decent shaving off with it. I am planning to get some coarse sandpaper and a large diameter dowel, and have a go with that, but they will work as they stand. I still need to get some leather for each.

12 October 2014

First oar largely finished and second under way

The first of my "Pete Culler" oars is largely finished, apart from a lot of sanding and maybe a little trimming here and there. Very satisfying thing to make. Lots and  lots of planing of wood shavings, which has an almost zen like feeling to it. Hard to stop.

The handle was relatively easy to form, as it starts square, then circular. After that it tapers all the way to the tip, which is tricky. The blade has to be judged by eye and touch, it is very hard to measure anything. I couldn't hollow each side of the blade as I don't have a round bottomed plane, but I think it looks quite good without the hollow.

The really tricky part will be making a second oar to match.

9 October 2014

New oars

I have started making a new pair of oars for my dinghy. The ones I have are too short and really not very good. I have got plans from Peter Culler's book on boat building, and adjusted the lengths a bit to suit. For timber I just got a pack of four eight foot boards from B&Q. Each oar is a sandwich of three boards. Much, if not most, of the outer boards will be planed off in the shaping process. This first photo shows the first oar blank cut out, alongside one of my current oars and an uncut board.


I marked the outline from the plans onto one board and cut it out on my band saw. This was quite a rigmarole as I had to unscrew the saw from my work bench and screw it onto a workmate so that I could get enough space for the board lengths on to and off of the saw table. Once I had cut one blank I used that to mark out the other five. This was quite a slow process. I think my saw blade must be getting blunt.

Three blanks are sandwiched together with polyurethane glue. A really messy process, the glue squelched out all over the place. Keeping the blanks in line was quite tricky as the clamps were tightened. The two outer layers are a bit narrower than the central one, but this won't matter as they will be carved down to a tapered side and won't come anywhere near the edge of the finished blade, The outer layers are unlikely to come more than a third of the way down the finished blade. I am seriously thinking of buying a power plane, because there is an awful lot of wood to remove.



7 October 2014

First coat of paint on the patched deck

I am very pleased with the outcome of the deck repair. The first coat of paint is on and the repair is undetectable to touch. Still shows through visually, and it needs probably two more coats, but then it should be undetectable at all.

30 September 2014

Repairs and changes ongoing.

The basic repair to the cockpit deck is complete. I stuck in the infill panel with epoxy and then planed the patch down to flush with the deck. Some bits were a bit too low, so I spread on a layer of epoxy thickened with micro-balloons, which is supposed to give an easily sanded finish. I tried the technique of putting on the first layer with a notched spreader. The ridges are sanded down and then the remaining grooves filled in. It seemed incredibly hard, so I ended up planing off the ridges.

I then filled in the grooves with ordinary marine filler. This did sand down easily and although it looks a mess, it is completely smooth. When it is painted I have hopes that it really will be undetectable.

I have fitted turn buttons to the cabin floors and painted the boards with non-slip paint. I should now be able to lift the floor quickly at any time. I am not convinced by the paint as I think it may hold too much dirt, but I want to do away with the weight of floor finishes. I add too much to the boat and want to cut back next year.