It’s nearly the end of April and the last few weeks have seen great changes and contrasts. The weather has switched from cold to hot and back to cold again with some welcome rain. Then it was hot again Spring flowers came out and then stuttered and slowly matured. The Bluebells have been at their most intense blue throughout the local woods. Honesty and Herb Robert compete on the grass verges. Suddenly, the Hawthorn is in flower and it’s not even May. And now it’s cold again with some welcome heavy rain.
There been little motor traffic and no aircraft, making the birdsong seem intense. Woodpeckers pounded themselves silly in the woods close by the boat shed and large bumble bees thundered around looking for who knows what. One came into the boatshed and disappeared into an empty post hole in the floor.
Despite all these distractions, the boat is coming into shape. Scantlings 1 have been glued along the outside top corners of each bulkhead, steam bent into shape at the bows.2
The top plank (sorry, plank 3) was tack glued to this strip whilst cable ties held the bottom of it to plank 2. Similar wooden strips have been glued to the sides of the various bulkheads to provide resting places for the cockpit floor, the “capsize righting” tank and other buoyancy tanks.
The horizontal “decks” have been adjusted to fit and a start has been made with epoxy coating the insides of the ballast and buoyancy tanks. Now that the workshop is warmer (thanks to the weather), I’ve had to watch how long mixed epoxy lay unused and what sort of container it’s been in. On a couple of occasions, the container has been too deep and the material had been left unused for too long. The chemical reaction became strongly exothermic and let off visible fumes 3 and I had to hurriedly take the container outside.
Despite this, plank 3 has been glued in place, and the “capsize righting tank” has been painted internally and glued in place. I’ll explain all that in a later edition. I still haven’t told you about the motor pod.
It will have to wait for the next edition.
1 Scantlings are thin strip that run longitudinally along the boat to provide form for the plywood planking. I called them stringers when building model aeroplanes several decades ago.
2 An elderly steam wallpaper stripper steamed merrily away for about 90 minutes for each scantling. By then the steamer was dry but the larch was wet and flexible.
3. No doubt toxic