Saturday, May 20, 2006

Putting Things Right

Boat building is not like house building where most joints are at right angles or at forty five degrees, such as where bricks meet at the corners of a room or where the lintel and side frames of a door meet. Roof supports may be angled so the roof will shed water, but unless the building is very unusual there will not be many multiple curves or differing angles to test the builder, but with boat building some surfaces where they join can have variable angles such as a chine log following the curve of the hull while meeting frames or bulkheads at differing angles.

Well, it’s been my joy over the past fortnight to fix the sheer clamps and chine logs to the Paradox sailing boat I am building. Shaping them by hand while using a plane made me sweat, and when it came to forcing the chine logs into place with the aid of sash clamps a good deal of effort was needed to accomplish the task, but what a joy it was to see them in place. The next job was fitting the floor supports and water tank frames into the bottom of the boat. To make them level and in line with the chine logs transversely I used a straight edge to check them as I planed the edges that will come into contact with the bottom of the boat. There must be a good bond between them and the boat’s bottom.

Yesterday and today I fitted the baffle to the inside of the transom. It will prevent water entering the hull through the opening for the tiller and it will also act as a ventilator. Another little job I did was making the mould for the lower gudgeon and pouring the epoxy into it with loads of chopped strand matting. I was a bit surprised when it started to cure quickly because of the amount of heat generated by the chemical action during the solidification process. I’m wondering if I’ll be able to withdraw the copper tube wrapped in sticky tape which I placed in the mould to make a cylindrical hole for the pintle. If I get a good grip on it and sharply tap the gudgeon I’m hoping that will do the job. Failing that, I’ll have to heat the tube to melt the epoxy in contact with it.

In all of these and similar tasks there’s always a bit of fudging to make things right, because nothing is ever perfect and therefore it’s necessary to add a bit here or take bit off there until thing fits. There’s a saying that love can cover a multitude of sins, but the boat builder uses epoxy to hide a good many faults! Whitewash is a quick fix that covers for a little while, but good quality paint can give a really good finish to a moderate job, so there’ll be no whitewash on my boat, but plenty of epoxy and paint to put things right.

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