Sunday, 20 April 2014

On with the bits

Once again it's been a while since I posted.  Real life has a habit of getting in the way of boatbuilding plans and in this case it was ill health that set me back somewhat.  Hopefully things will go well, but progress on the boat and this blog may be sporadic.

I've been working on the bulkheads as well as other bits and pieces.  Just recently. I decided to try making the bowsprit and, in the absence of good cheap Douglas Fir here in Australia, I decided to try working with Cypress Pine - a native softwood.  Usually used for building or fenceposts it has a fine grain and is as strong as  Douglas Fir but a little denser.

I bought a 2.4m post 100mm x 100mm for about $20 and went to work with table saw, plane and spokeshave.  Here's a picture of my brother-in-law Andrew hard at work with spokeshave, working out some of his frustrations.  Turning a piece of rough timber into a  tapered, rounded spar with nothing more than a homemade spar gauge and a few hand tools is always a satisfying process.

I've also noticed that the wood sold in Bunnings - one of our big home improvement places here in Australia - as "structural pine" is also called "baltic pine".  This appears to be the Australian name for Picea abies, Norway Spruce.  Pickng through this lumber can give fairly clean lengths of relatively slow-grown timber.  Compared to clear-grain Oregon (Douglas Fir) which here costs about $40/m for 200 x 50, it seems like a good choice for relatively inexpensive spars, even if I have to increase the dimensions slightly.


  1. Sorry to hear about the counter currents in your life john. Hope some fair winds are coming your way soon. Parts are looking good.

  2. Hi John, How's the project coming along? I must say you've encouraged me enormously with your resourcefulness. I am also a keen recycler who has viewed the Welsford Penguin as potentially my next (and last!!!) boat so I look forward to following your project with great interest.