Tuesday 9 January 2007

What the futtock shrouds!

Not one to gratuitously drop the F-bomb it’s been fairly ringing out around the workshop over the last few days, echoing off the buildings, a monotonous soundtrack on my journey back to square one.

The reasons for this detour are, quite frankly, too embarrassing to detail, suffice it to say that the learning curve is a greasy pole and just when you’ve spent a few days scrabbling up it you can slide back down again in the time it takes to say “check your measurements.”

I bought the cleanest pine plank I could find from Mr Mushroom.

Although the thwarts are drawn as coming out of ply I’m using pine to free up space on the ply sheets. There are several pieces (centreboard and case, rudder and skeg) that aren’t featured on the cutting plan and I want to avoid buying another sheet of ply. Anyway it turns out that the pine plank isn’t that clean after all, there are four or five knots in its 3 metres. And my question is; will I be able to live with knotty thwarts?

In mind’s eye I have a vision of this beautifully finished Trow, gleaming in unblemished varnish, shooting blinding reflections from her brightwork and in such a vision I cannot tolerate knotty thwarts.

But the reality is different. My Trow will be launched bearing the scars of a prototype build at the hands of an amateur builder and I’ll be happy if she’s symmetrical (devastated if she isn’t) and seaworthy. Phil Bolger said, “Never use expensive materials to build a boat designed to be cheap.” I don’t think that Gav’s idea is for an expensively built boat or for one that’s massively pampered. Well built yes, obviously, but his message is more along the lines of get out on the water and have fun, than don’t launch your boat till the varnish is perfect. So I’ll take Bolger to mean don’t be too fussy if you haven’t got the time or the talent or the wherewithal. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to permit slapdash work, just that I’m not going to re-buy material that’s been used in a previously unsuccessful dry run. The upshot of this may be vacant screw holes in unlikely places but I’ll just have to live with them, and the knotty thwarts.

By the way, anyone who hasn’t arrived at these pages via intheboatshed should definitely take a few moments (though you’ll end up spending an hour) browsing the site. Run with genuine and infectious enthusiasm it opens up the world of traditional boats, restoration and boatbuilding. Don’t miss the link to the Free Design Stuff, which is where I got the Bolger quote and where I first saw Gavin Atkin’s designs. There are also some gems to be found on the “techniques” page. When you’ve finished go on to the Duckworks page, also linked from intheboatshed.


Anonymous said...

Great to be able to watch your progress on this site.
I see you posted this at 7.40am... Good god man - is there no limit to your enthusiasm for life?

Good luck with the knotty pine.

Ben said...

Truth is Gaff, I haven't figured out how to configure the time.

Baddaddy said...

Ben -

Be sure your experiences reflect everyone else's. This is how boatbuilding goes, even when you've built seven or eight.

Francis Herreshof thought one should have a comfortable 'moaning chair' to flop into for a good moan from time to time. I think he had a point!


Ben said...

Well that's reassuring. It's either the moaning chair or the bottle!