Saturday, 3 August 2013

Wooden fittings

I might not have the full plans for my Penguin yet, but there's still a lot I can do.  When I built the "Gradual Progress", the plans were my reward for successfully giving up smoking.  This meant that I started making the little bits and pieces first - the things I didn't need exact dimensions for.  When I did eventually get to the fitting out stage, I already had all the cleats, blocks, fairleads, thole pins, belaying pins and other bits and pieces ready made.

Gradual progress was in many senses a recycled boat.  I was recycling myself at the time, retraining as a teacher and had zero money to spend on boat materials.  I scraped together the cash for the marine ply for the planking, but everything else was recycled.  

Luckily, here in Australia we have a system of "Hard Rubbish" where, a couple of times a year, households leave all their unwanted items on the side of the road for the council to pick up.  Rich pickings for a timber scavenger. Often, the old timbers ripped out during renovations are close-grained wood of a quality impossible to buy these days.  They just need a little cleaning up, or resizing on the table saw.  

Sometimes it's a case of being creative.  I couldn't spend $600 on clear-grained Spruce for the mast for "Progress", but was lucky enough to salvage a large Venetian blind with cedar slats.  Laminate these into a large beam and plane to size and you have a lightweight mast strong enough to walk along, all for the cost of a couple of pots of epoxy.  The wooden deck for my Kaholo SUP started life as the cedar slats from a couple of louvre doors.....

So that's the approach for this next build.  Use as many recycled materials as possible, keep things simple and low-tech so I can make what I need.  Gradual Progress, a 14' dayboat, cost me less than $2000 in materials.  Cleaning and resizing timber no doubt took up a considerable time, but I get a great feeling of satisfaction giving new life to lovely pieces of wood that would otherwise end up in landfill.

Here's a few of the fittings I'm working on.  Harvey Garrett Smith's "The Marlinspike Sailor" is a book I'd recommend to any boatbuilder and there are plenty of good websites and forum discussions that can help.
Rope-Stropped Wooden Blocks are discussed at length on this site, for example.

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