- Flip the boat and finish and paint the lower hull exterior.
- Fit the centre board and flip her upright again.
- Build and fit the tabernacle, spars, rudder and tiller.
- Paint the upper hull and fit out the boat.
I finally have to admit that it's now too cold to make any meaningful progress in the workshop, so I'm taking some time off from building PocketShip.
I will be back when it gets warmer and I can work outside, making the spars.
It will probably be sometime in March when I start boatbuilding again.
When I can wear shorts, and have the workshop doors open all day!
While the rudder was glued up and curing I moved on to making the bowsprit.
This looked like an interesting project, and would be the first of the boat's spars.
The bowsprit is manufactured from a solid piece of timber, made of two lengths of 2 1/2" by 1 1/2" Douglas Fir laminated together to form a 2 1/2" by 3" balk.
So the first step is to glue the two pieces together. As here, on the bench.
I found a pair of enormous 10" G cramps which I purchased online some time ago and had forgotten about.
They were much larger than I needed, but I kept them anyway thinking they would be useful one day.
Today was their day.
The cheeks of the rudder are made from two pieces of 9mm ply on each side, glued together to make a chunky 18mm cheek.
In the build manual they are installed all at once, and then a router is used to chamfer the edges.
I could not see how I could chamfer the cheeks where they are flush against the rudder blade, so I decided to make and chamfer them before installation.
The first step is to glue the parts together, to make the two cheeks.
Here is one cheek, clamped up and curing.
The day after I discovered that the rudder was effectively scrap I devised a plan to restore it to become a functional part of the boat.
The only bits that were wrongly installed were the rear and bottom blocking pieces. Everything else was fine.
So those pieces had to be replaced.
It shouldn't be too much of an issue.
When I started researching PocketShip I read on one builder's blog that he built a curve into his keel and resolved it by cutting the keel in half along its entire length and then realigning it. Compared to that a dodgy rudder is a piece of cake!
So, the misaligned blocking had to come out.
First, the bottom blocking was removed. I drilled a hole at both ends, as here.
Here is a view of the rudder interior, held open with a wedge of scrap.
Here is the bottom blocking being planed to profile in the vice.
This will make sure that the rudder is correctly aligned when glued up.
Here is a close up of the cord and the centre line.
If you're building a PocketShip and haven't built your rudder yet - don't do what the manual says.
Fit the front and top blocking first, clamped to the bench to make sure it's straight.
Then put it in the vice and do as I did here to ensure the aerofoil profile is accurate.
Lastly, here is the rudder glued up and curing.
I left the glued-up rudder to cure for a couple of days before removing the clamps and examining my handiwork.
I was immediately concerned at what I saw.
In short, the rudder blade was curved on one side, and straight on the other.
In other words, it was bent.
Here it is held upright in the vice, for appraisal.
For a split second I thought that perhaps it would not make much, if any, difference to the performance of the boat.
Then for another split second I thought that maybe it would not even be noticeable.
Then reality kicked in and I knew that I would have to remake it. It's not right and there is no way that this can be part of my boat. There is no doubt that this qualifies as a fully fledged Cock Up.
So I didn't do anything. I let it be while I considered how to correct the situation.
On reflection, I was foolish to simply glue the sides and the blocking together, and assume that they would acquire the required aerofoil profile all by themselves. Why would they?
I even made it worse by using wires to stop the blocking from sliding around.
When making the keel I had previously had a similar moment.
To make sure that the keel was straight I marked in the centre line and used a line strung between the front and rear of the keel to make sure it was exactly aligned.
That is what I should have done with the rudder.
So, more work required on the rudder ...
All the pieces of the rudder were made so a dry test assembly was in order.
Here is what it looked like.
As suggested in the build manual, I drilled a hole through the trailing edge and used a piece of wire to stop the blocking sliding inside the rudder. Here it is.
The blocking in the centre of the rudder butts up against the front blocking and makes the top section solid and very strong.
This is also where the cheeks will be fitted, giving more strength to handle the torque from the tiller and the rudder itself.
The lower, rear area of the cheeks blocking is chamfered where the side panels will curve to the trailing edge, giving the necessary aerofoil profile.
This required a bit of thought and practice on some scrap ply to make a test piece. Here it is.
A dry test assembly then followed, like this.
This is the finished piece in a test fit with the rest of the blocking.
In addition to the missing pattern, the piece of Ash supplied to make the rear edge blocking is too short by about half an inch.
Rather than wait for a replacement I decided to make it from a piece of Ash which I had left over from making the hood, because it was not wide enough and had to be replaced!
So I cut a piece of the required size according to the pattern. Here it is in the vice, being marked up.
Next the bottom blocking was cut out and marked up in the vice using the patterns, as here.
So it went back into the vice for more trimming. When finished it now looked like this.
Next the top blocking was cut and finished. Here it is in the vice being shaped with a saw rasp.
The online PocketShip Forum is hosted by Chesapeake Light Craft, and is an excellent source of advice, information and inspiration.
A builder posted a question about the rudder blocking in August 2019. He could not figure out what was what.
John Harris (PocketShip's designer) replied the following day with the answer. The blocking patterns in the kit had been incorrect since 2009!
He posted an invaluable diagram showing what the blocking patterns should look like. This is it.
The pattern for the front edge was missing, and the pattern for the bottom edge was duplicated.
The corrective posting gave all the information needed to fix this, shown in full here.
So I made the missing pattern and laid them out to see how things fit together. Here they are on the bench.
Work on the rudder began by finding the side panels.
I set them against the wall in the workshop two years ago and over time they became part of the landscape to the extent that I forgot they were there. It took several minutes to remember!
The rudder is hollow so the interior will require plenty of clear resin to protect it.
So the first task was to clear coat both inside faces. Here they are in the workshop, curing.
Progress is illusory though, because finishing the bottom of the hull will be huge task when it eventually happens.
In theory I should be planning to flip the hull quite soon.
The rails are done and that takes us to the the end of 'Chapter 3: Upper Hull Assembly' in the build manual.
And we are well advanced into 'Chapter 4: The Companionway'.
When this chapter is complete the manual moves on to turn the boat upside down and finish the bottom of the hull.
However, events conspire against this happening any time soon.
First, we are in lockdown due to the corona virus and forbidden to do anything sociable outdoors except exercise with one other person. I will need more than that to move and flip the boat!
Second, it's cold and wet and miserable and really not the time to be doing this.
So the flip will have to wait.
Luckily there is plenty to be getting on with in the meantime.
Rudder, tabernacle, and spars all need to be made. I will be making my tabernacle detachable so that the boat can get out of the garage, which will add to the workload.
I will start on the rudder next.
Onwards and upwards!
When the rails were all sanded I decided to plug the temporary screw holes.
The holes are all 4mm, so 6mm plugs would be ideal after drilling the holes out to this diameter.
I used a plug cutter made by Fisk specifically for use in cordless drills. Here it is in the big De Walt drill.
Luckily I had plenty of scrap Sapele so I cut a big batch of plugs in one session.
Then all holes were drilled out to 6mm to a depth of about 3/4" and plugs were glued in.
A dab of epoxy glue and a tap with a hammer did the trick.
Here are the starboard rub and toe tails, fully plugged.
That's because it is recently purchased timber, used to replace a broken section. I am not sure if it will darken to the same shade as the rest of the Sapele, which is now over two years old.
Anyway, the plugs show up more in the paler wood, but I don't think it matters.
Here is a finished plug in the toe rail.
It's pretty cold here now, in the middle of the UK winter. So I left the rub rails to cure for several days before carefully pulling the temporary screws.
Then it was time to clean them up.
I used my Rotex sander in rotary mode with a P40 grit to grind the top surfaces flat.
I then switched to orbital mode and a P60 grit to smooth them out, and finally a P80 grit to sand tops and sides clean.
Here is the port rub rail, looking towards the stern.
This a view of the starboard rail. The newest piece of Sapele is still held in place with screws, to allow it cure fully before receiving the same treatment a few days later.
I covered the ends with masking tape to mark in varying curves until I was satisfied with the aesthetics.
This is the port rub rail at the bow, with a cardboard template for marking up.
This is the port rail at the bow.
And this is the starboard rail at the stern.