Sunday 24 January 2021

Rudder | Making The Blocking Pieces

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.

It needs to taper to 1/4" at the trailing edge, so I planed it to the required shape in the vice. Like this.

A saw rasp was also useful for shaping, as here.

It didn't take long to make the finished article.

Except it wasn't finished - I just didn't know that yet.

Next the bottom blocking was cut out and marked up in the vice using the patterns, as here.

This blocking was completed with the jack plane, like this.

At this point I realised the the rear edge blocking was way too fat to mate with the bottom blocking, and needed to be much slimmer.

So it went back into the vice for more trimming. When finished it now looked like this.

That's better!

Next the top blocking was cut and finished. Here it is in the vice being shaped with a saw rasp.

Blocking for the cheeks is made from two pieces edge-glued together. This is how I clamped them up on the bench.

Work on the blocking will resume when the cheek blocking is fully cured.

Rudder | Making Sense Of The Patterns!

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.

Blocking is required for the front, bottom and rear edges, and for the cheeks and the top of the rudder.

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.

I knew that I would have the same problem so I printed the posting and filed it in my build manual, so I would know what to do when I got to that point.

So I made the missing pattern and laid them out to see how things fit together. Here they are on the bench.

It all makes sense now! Next step is to make the blocking pieces.

Companionway Hood & Slide | Second Clear Coat

When I was clear coating the rudder sides I applied a second coat to the companionway hood and slide, after sanding them smooth.

This is the hood.

And this is the slide.

They look good, but I still don't like the idea of finishing them bright. They will look really nice painted!

Rudder | Clear Coating The Sides

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.

I can't believe that I am starting the rudder!

Progress is illusory though, because finishing the bottom of the hull will be huge task when it eventually happens.

A Flipping Dilemma!

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!

Making Plugs & Plugging Holes

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.

I tried the smaller Bosch cordless drill but it doesn't have sufficient power for this task.

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.

When cured the plugs were trimmed with a saw and pared flush to the rail with a good chisel, as here.

Finally the plugs were lightly sanded to clean them up. This is the port rub rail.

You can see that the Sapele at the front of the outer laminate is paler than the rest of the rail.

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.

You have to look closely to find them all. I'm happy with that!

Rub Rails | Cleaning Up & Trimming Ends

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.

I was worried that the scarf joints might be a bit too visible, but they turned out OK. Here is a set of scarfs on the port rail.

You have to look quite hard to see the joints in the three laminates which make the rail.

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.

The toe rails were also cleaned up. Here is the starboard rail.

Time to cut the rail ends to their final shape!

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.

And this is the port rub rail at the stern, with its shape marked up.

I then cut off the overhangs and roughly shaped the rail ends with a Japanese saw, before grinding them to their final shape with the rotary sander and a P40 grit.

This is the port rail at the bow.

I think the curve might be a little 'fat', but I will see what it looks like when finishing the hull.

And this is the starboard rail at the stern.

She is starting to look quite elegant!

Companionway Hood & Slide | Fibreglass

The starboard rub rail was left to cure, and work continued on the companionway.

It was time to cover the hood and the slide with fibreglass.

Here is the hood with a single piece of 'glass laid out to cover the top, sides and front.

And this is the slide. It needed two panels due to the trim being in the way at the rear face.

As usual I made paper patterns to cut the 'glass panels accurately.

This is the hood, wetted out with resin.

And similarly this is the slide.

Looking quite nice!

Rub Rails | Finishing The Starboard Rail!

I attempted to install the third and final laminate on the starboard rub rail shortly after Christmas, and of course it snapped.

It was entirely my fault - see previous posts if you're curious about the unhappy event.

In the end I removed the broken piece by cutting a new scarf where it was joined to the rest of the timber, and installed the shortened laminate.

More Sapele arrived early in January and was set aside while I continued work on the companionway.

Eventually, while waiting for things to cure, I resolved to tackle the remaining piece of rub rail.

I was very careful not to repeat previous mistakes, and the installation went smoothly.

Here is the newly fitted laminate, viewed from the side.

I drilled the new piece for temporary screws and made pilot holes in the rail at the scarf, and fastened the aft end in place.

More pilot holes were drilled as the timber was gradually bent into place, working towards the bow where a clamp on the overhanging rail completed the test installation.

The screws were then removed - carefully this time - and the new piece held loosely in place with F clamps while I applied glue to the rail.

The installation was then repeated successfully.

Here is the completed rub rail seen from the bow.

I am very happy to have installation of the rub rails behind me.

They have been the most vexatious part of the build by far, and they aren't even structural!

But they are looking nice ... which is their main purpose.

Saturday 23 January 2021

Cabin Roof Butt Strap | Extra Piece Fitted

This isn't much of a news item and is only included for completeness.

You might recall that the butt strap that joins the two halves of the cabin roof turned out to be a few inches too short.

I made it that way, and until now I couldn't understand why. The manual clearly states what to do.

However, I remembered that I followed the photos in the manual when making the roof. And the photos show that the builder made the same mistake!

So I of course did the same thing ...

Anyway, here is a lump of lead holding down the missing piece of butt strap while it cures.

Companionway Flange | Installation

In between working on the hood and the slide I fitted the companionway flange.

It was a quick and easy job. Here it is glued and clamped in place.

And here it is finished, cleaned up and sanded.

I think I will make the drop board retainers out of Sapele, if I can find some 9mm board. They will look great varnished to match the rails!

Companionway Hood & Slide | Final Assembly

I left the companionway hood and slide inside the house for several days to fully cure before continuing their manufacture. This is the hood, stood in the hallway and all clamped up.

When ready I trimmed the the top of the hood, first marking up the edges so I would know where to cut it. Like this.

I then cut away most of the overhang with the Japanese saw, as here.

Then I cleaned up the edges with the block plane.

And lastly I rounded over the edges with a rasp, like this.

The slide then received the same treatment. Here it is, although its trim is yet to be fitted.

So I next glued the the trim in place. I used a temporary screw at each end to hold it in position, and clamped it up. You can see that I filled all the temporary screw holes at the same time.

Finally I plugged the temporary screw holes in the hood where the support brace had been fitted.

That's the hood and slide nearly finished. They will next be covered with fibreglass.

Saturday 9 January 2021

Companionway | Making The Flange

I should have fitted the companionway flange some time back, according to the build manual.

The flange goes around the inside of the companionway opening, on the rear cabin wall, and will be used to seal off the interior with drop boards when complete.

I cut the tops of the flange off a little short some weeks back, and rather than fuss with it when there were more important things to get done I left it to one side.

Now I had to get it finished, so started by levelling the bottom edge of the entrance with a rasp, like this.

This is so that water will not lie there, in a trough.

Then I made a pair of fashion pieces for the tops of the flange, like this.

These will carry the flange up to the top of the rear cabin wall, with a recess to fit around the cabin roof carlins.

Lastly I clamped the pieces in place to await gluing when the next epoxy resin task is under way. Here they are.

Onwards and upwards!

Companionway Hood & Slide | Installing Tops

When the companionway hood trim piece was refinished I installed the hood and slide tops, glued up and buttoned down with temporary screws.

There really isn't much to say about this, except here is the hood top in place ...

 ... and here is the slide top, permanently fitted.

It's very cold here now, in the British winter, so I left them for a couple of days and then moved them into the house to finish curing in the warm interior.

Coming along well!