Sunday, 15 September 2019

The orders of parts by Ron for the prop shaft etc. have now arrived and he is in a happy place.
All parts are correct and he and Wally are planning installation. 

 Tegwyn from SUPERSHARP came to replace the planer blades which had been badly damaged by someone planing wood which contained metal parts!
The machine now works beautifully.

Wally then gave the planer a full 3 hour service and it is now a joy to operate .It can now do things it never did before ! Cheers to all above.

Wednesday Phil started homework on creating locker spaces for storage alongside the bunks using 12mm ply wood.Once cut out, they were taken to Helen II for first fitting .

They were then sanded down and are ready for painting and final fitting.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Wednesday Phil was really excited at the prospect of creating the toilet (heads ) !!
 While waiting for the toilet floor to dry, Phil made and fitted the door.

Having noticed the loo hull was not glossed he set to and remedied the situation. 

 Once the floor was dry and fitted, Phil made a template for the partition between the loo and the chain locker and was awarded  a gold medal for creative contortionism !! Work areas are getting smaller and more awkward.

 Ron has begun fixing the remote controls and guages in the cockpit. While Wally draws up plans for the parts needed to fit the engine and gearbox.

 Then Wally and Phil created the hatch runners using the bench saw and elbow grease.
"I'm happy with that !" said Wally .And when Wally says that, we all are .

Sunday, 11 August 2019


After many mornings of drilling to create a passage  through the hull to house the propeller shaft , Ron finally bored through the metal obstacles blocking his path.

When the hull was built,the position of the engine was not clear and so nails or bolts were fixed as normal and only became an obstacle when the  route of the shaft was drilled.
 Ron has now been able to measure accurately the required prop shaft and accompanying hard wear and has  ordered the parts.
Ron grinned all morning long and planned the next phase.

Wednesday Phil had the exciting job of making the floor of the toilet section (heads). Having created a rough cardboard pattern , he used a technique taught by shipwright Dave and used a block of wood to accurately measure the edges of the floor.
The final pattern was then transferred to ply wood - drawn and cut out. 

 Welder Wally and Ron then discussed the sliding system  for  the  the cabin hatch .
It was decided the runners would be made of a hard smooth plastic  called NYLON 66  
Wally went all the way to .Sheffield to purchase it.
( He has now caught the Helen II bug ! )

Wally and Phil practiced  cutting the running grooves the Nylon 66 strips will slide on , using pieces of wood and the  circular saw  instead of a router .
Wally has the smile of confidence as the method  proves a success !
He then sanded down the grooves which Phil wrongly assumed was a snooker shot technique .

Saturday, 27 July 2019


Work on the portholes stopped as the epoxy glue set too quickly in the heat on Wednesday .29 C
So work on fixing the rudder permanently began. 
We decided to tighten the wooden rudder against the metal shaft.To do this we needed to clamp the two tighter together but with only two pair of hands it was difficult.

Luckily Sam Markland from North West Model Shipwrights was showing a keen interest in Helen II and was more than willing to lend a hand.
So we tightened the wood to the metal and drilled the bolt holes.
Cheers Sam !

Unfortunately trustee Ron noticed the stainless steel bolts were round headed so, as Phil bought them,  it fell to Phil to grind the heads on Thursday, so they could be held by a spanner if ever the need arises.

Trustee Ron explained the need for extra support
to stop the sky light glass from being pushed outwards in the event of a capsize.

Phil then set about making wooden batons to negate such an action.
These will be glued and screwed when it cools down.

Monday, 22 July 2019


The welding of the rudder finally took place thanks to Wally who volunteered his time and supplied the materials free of charge.

Wally clearly enjoyed the task as he never stopped grinning !

He is also proving invaluable  in teaching Wednesday Phil exciting facts about screws and bolt threads and how to order the correct ones in the future.
It's amazing what you can learn  on this project !

Wally has also offered to help with future welding projects.

Just to show that Wednesday Phil is still learning as he goes.......

Ron " the one who knows"came to see progress on the port holes and said
 " Phil you have made a good job of the first fitting BUT
You've fitted them inside out!!!  They should open from the inside.

Phil went to the naughty corner for the rest of the morning and thanked his lucky stars he had not fitted them permanently.

After therapy,Phil continued work extending the top hatch as it did not fully cover the washboards.

 To make sure water does not penetrate through the sky light Phil has added a border round the edge of the opening lights.

The reinforced glass is now ready for fitting soon.

Monday, 1 July 2019


Wednesday Phil finally plucked up courage to fit the portholes gifted by Tony Banks.

Having decided where they would go (over the chart desk and above the cooking area) Phil began by taping over the wood to protect it from scratching and marked the hole to be cut.

He then drilled a hole  big enough for a jigsaw blade to go through and cut out the circle.

The hole was roughly cut as Phil 's blades are only DIY standard.
The tape covering the wood also proved difficult as it pulled up obscuring a good view.
(Phil knows all about blaming the tools!)

Once the holes were cut the brass fittings could be positioned for first fit.

These now need to be sealed in place but Phil is not sure which sealant to use yet.
He awaits advice from" those who know ".

The tiller bolts finally arrived and were fitted today to complete the job.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Wednesday Phil is now "home alone " working on the boat two to three mornings a week and often takes pre cut wood home to his garage  to be made up at his leisure when there is nothing on the T.V.
The steaming of the cockpit capping was finally done at home on the third attempt and only succeeded using 10 clamps to bend the wood to the desired curve ,having been steamed for two hours. These are now fitted and screw holes capped with wooden plugs epoxied in place.

Phil then decided to tackle the rudder and helm set up.He first went to talk to those who have knowledge of such things and visited several ports and boatyards to see for himself steering designs.Phil decided to be a bit "arty" with the tiller as there are many beautifully created ones to be seen.

To create the tiller he found an original Helen II oak rib of the desired curve with nails central to the wood.The nails were removed with brute force and the rib cut into three planks 'leaving the nail holes in the center plank which was discarded.
A center section of purple heart was then cut roughly to shape and two lengths glued above each other to give enough depth for the desired curve,
The two oak rib sections were then placed either side and epoxied and clamped. This was left to cure for a couple of days.

It was then rough cut on the band saw to the required shape and then planed to a finished shape.
The handle on the end was extended and narrowed for a child's grip ,but this can be removed if necessary  and the stock shortened if it is deemed too long in the cockpit.

Once happy with the design and length ,Phil took it home again to give it  copious coats of varnish and is now ready to attach it to the rudder post which is being re worked  locally.