I am continuing the blog at www.shipwrightskills.com I also have pages for other boats, fine woodworking and art on that site. Enjoy!
All the frames are bent into place and fastened. There are still a few rivets left to do when I can get a hand from a friend (my poor arms just cannot reach the bilge). I have decided that even framing a small boat like this is a two person job, though possible to do by oneself, I would have to advise against it. Next, I will varnish all the frames and the planking where the station molds were. Then I will move onto the longitudinal parts, which are the thwart riser, sole margin and inwales.
The floors are in, the planks are pre-finished…it is time for framing. I carefully selected straight grained white oak which was not kiln dried, and was as “green” as possible. I then milled it, sanded it, and knocked down the edges. I then enlisted a few friends and set up the steam box. After an appropriate length of time in the steam box, the white oak becomes pliable and able to take a bend not possible otherwise. Extra hands make this task easier. The frames are attached to the planks with copper rivets.
After several coats of varnish, the planking is ready for me to start mounting things onto it. First are the floor timbers, the shape is lifted directly from the lofting, and then scribed or spiled to fit the laps. After I am happy with the fit, I cut the limber holes. The floors are then sanded and pre-finished, then I install them with bedding compound and screws. The floor timbers are essential to the wooden hull, and serve several duties: holding the two halves of the boat together, stiffening the bilges, and supporting the sole boards.
With planking complete, I have sanded the inside of the hull, and begun varnishing the planking and backbone. Doing this finishing step now ensures that all the wood will be sealed properly, before I start installing the rest of the floors, frames, etc on top of the planking. It also helps me to keep the wood grain free of the dirt and dust which will be present for the remainder of the build. Now it is now time to install the remaining floor timbers in preparation for framing!
With the planking complete, it is time to review the review the class notes, double check measurements, and consult the stock pile of wood. Having procured the appropriate white oak bending stock for frames(or ribs) and stock for the floor timbers, it’s time to mill my stock to appropriate dimensions, and call in a friend or two to help me steam bend and fasten the frames.
The last planks are ready to mount! Shaped, sanded and now drying after a pre-varnish. I seal all mating surfaces before assembly to ensure water cannot wick into the grain over the years. This is a step many larger builders often skip, because it adds extra time that you just don’t have in a high production setting. This attention to detail is one of the many benefits of custom “one-off” manufacturing.