Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Drilling The Prop Shaft Hole

 Trustee Ron has set to work drilling the hole through the hull for the prop shaft.
       He has made  two wooden blocks to support the shaft end . He now needs to enlarge this hole to fit the shaft.

This is where the shaft comes out of the hull .

Making rope pulleys for the boat sails and rigging.

Meanwhile Wednesday Phil has been experimenting with building rope blocks to look traditional.
First he watched you tube videos of making blocks and then tried himself.
Lots of practice and learning by experimenting ensued.

 Bending metal bar was the first problem .Each bar had to fit the block faces.At first the only way to bend the bar was with a vice.
Later Phil created a jig  from oak and this solved the problem .

The metal was finished off  and checked for fit in the vice.

 With the oak sides cut and the outside  faces routed to seat the metal bar, the parts can be put together and the wood glued and held fast for 24 hours.

 You can click on the picture to enlarge it to see the metal bar slotted into the side faces.This is then drilled through to take the pin for the rollers.

The unwanted wood is then cut off and the block is sanded down to finish the design.

These are then coated with Teak Oil via a brush.

The block on the left is the finished article !

Wednesday Phil is producing approximately one a day and refining techniques based on evaluation of the finished article !


Tuesday, 7 August 2018


 Over the past weeks Wednesday Phil has been in the bilges (botton of the boat ) painting below the floors with bitumen paint.It was hot , fume filled and dark . 
The paint got everywhere - on paintwork ,clothes ,car, home furniture and dog !!!

If anyone thinks working on old boats is romantic they should try that job.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018


Due to financial constraints work on HelenII became almost dormant with Wednesday Phil keeping things ticking along by doing none shipwright jobs like painting and making simple wooden parts in preparation for start up again.
After a meeting of trustees it was agreed that "those who could " would come on agreed Wednesdays to help speed up the work.

So trustees Jane ,Ron, Alan and Wednesday Phil set to with a will to make a difference !!
Ron began work on the engine supports while the rest gave a first grey undercoat to the hull.

Ron slipped smoothly into the role of project manager giving encouragement to all while tea tasting.

With a first coat on and basic engine supports roughed out Wednesday Phil and Murray looked towards fund raising to assist the work...
An ideal opportunity arose with the advent of PIRATES WEEKEND...

Murray set to, to draw in the visitors with his wealth of Knot making knowledge and having got them in the compound, Wednesday Phil would take the visitors to view the ship from deck level.
Upon alighting to exit the compound ,Murray's persuasive nature and dogged determination ensured all made an enthusiastic  donation  to our funds .
The two day event proved financially rewarding and we both enjoyed showing off  Helen II.

After several weeks and a further undercoat added ,three  trustees returned  to continue the glossing   the hull.

Jane Alan and Phil worked on one of the hottest days this year- with the paint touch dry on one side before the other was completed.

Alan prepares for the morning's work with his designer suit and his one and only glove !

Painting on planks can be a dangerous thing when one trustee likes bananas !!!

At the finish, all left for home having made a difference.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017


Shipwright Dave is taking some time to go sailing and climbing for a few weeks so Helen II will be on hold. 
Recently, Dave cut and welded the front piece of metal called  "the gammon iron".This is heavily bolted to the bow and will hold the bowsprit.This is the round piece of wood just to the right of it in the right hand picture.The bowsprit is slid out about 12 feet and will hold the forward sails.


This shows the bowsprit hoisted out in a picture of Helen II taken thirty years ago when she was working. 

Thanks to the effort  of Barry our fabricator from Penmaenmawr ,Dave has set the chain plates in position ready for fixing after drilling.
These will hold up  rigging to steady the mast.
Wednesday Phil has been varnishing the cabin using this stuff. I have to say it is really easy to

apply" any fool can do it" as Dave keeps telling me !

Once D1 is brushed on and has dried , D2 is then used to give the lovely finish.

So as we close for a break,
Wednesday Phil has left his trusty guard dog  FANG to keep watch and hopefully continue to encourage donations in our absence.
There is nothing like emotional blackmail to swell the coffers !!!!
Happy hols Dave.

Saturday, 10 June 2017


 Our new crew member  busied himself filling voids (spaces between frames and planks) with red lead putty.

Wednesday Phil rubbed down the cabin in the morning and as Shipwright Dave fitted the final keel bolt ,we then had a BIG CLEAN and replaced  the floors .

The following photos  show the finished views as displayed for the public on the notice boards.

 There were then  many shouts of " I've just cleaned that !"
 We now have a door mat for use before entry !

Sunday, 4 June 2017


Over the past two weeks we have been working on preparing the topside for weather sealing with the first of many coats of varnish.

It proved inexplicably exciting to see Dave start the first coat.
( I don't get out very much )
 We were soon both painting  with  pleasure .The effect is superb.
 The weather proved excellent -dry and calm and the passers by commented on the transformation immediately.

 Once completed ,Dave set about the keel band as discussed last blog.
The metal tabs I pre-drilled  were temporarily  bolted to the wooden keel and spot welded to the metal band.
The band was then lowered away from the keel and Dave then fully welded the tabs in position.
The band was then re sited to check for refitting.

As it fitted perfectly, it will now be sent away for galvanizing,( this will protect it from corrosion )

We are sorry we were unable to open Helen II for Pirates Weekend .
It was very enjoyable.... especially when Wednesday Phil discovered the pirate ship VILMA at secret anchor on the river.
The motley crew were busy below drinking lots of grog  and practicing "OOOH ARRRGHING " prior to attacking Conwy quay.
(Unless it was something they ate !)

Another beautiful wooden vessel .

Saturday, 20 May 2017


While Wednesday was away checking out spanish trawler designs ,Dave continued "home alone" on sealing the decks by gluing and screwing "thingies" along the cabin/ deck sides.
We couldn't decide the name for these seals so we settled for thingies.
Notice the precision at every stage. 
(click on the picture to see the detail)

Avid followers would also have noticed the completed grab rails.

The 47 foot  tree trunk which is destined to become our mast arrived.
It is 12 inches thick and needs to be shaved down to approx. 8 inches.
The nice delivery driver said "that's a big job ! Why didn't the lady who ordered it, have that done in the factory ?"
Dave said,"OOPS !  (he remembered we may have younger readers).

Meanwhile Wednesday Phil drilled lots of 4 inch tabs which will be welded to the metal  keel band  to hold it in place.

 Then back to sanding and priming of the starboard side.for the rest of the day.
Dave said it is better to do it now than later..... as a snorkel won't suit you !
See. He does care!
It's a pity that all this work will be hidden once launched.Still if it was clearly visible we would have a problem !

On the 28th--29th May it will be PIRATES WEEKEND on the quay.I hope we may be able to have an open day when devotees and visitors will be able to view our doings . I will let you know after the next trustees meeting.