Wednesday 21 January 2015


 In January,the start of the new year ,saw the start of a new volunteer..
Duncan, who at present is involved in a Level 2 Marine Design course at Llandrillo College, came to gain and implement  marine skills.
He is working with shipwright Dave on Thursdays.

The starboard (right ) garboard plank is now fitted and the black tarry paint I put on last week oozed out .Guess who got the job of cleaning up and making good ! (I've learned from this experience ).

Shipwright Dave began work on the third plank up. If you click on the picture you can see the snug fit of plank 2.
The length of each full plank run will now require two parts as we have no larch slabs long enough for a full run.

Meanwhile apprentice Dave tweeks the base of the frames (ribs) on the port (left) side of the keel so his garboard plank fits snugly.
Before final fitting, Dave paints the tarry paint, which won't come off clothing, behind the plank. (I told you I'd learnt from previous experience !)

The plank is then positioned and secured with clamps where possible .
The story continues........

Wednesday 14 January 2015

When two pieces of wood are joined together, the joint can slowly open over the years and water seep in the gap. To stop the water getting in ,a wooden peg can be placed across the joint via a drilled hole.
As the water seeps in , it meets the peg which absorbs the water and swells up and this stops the water in its tracks !
Today students from Llandrillo College came to see the progress and see how stop water plugs are fitted and used.Students rarely get an opportunity to see these being inserted and the problems involved in doing so.
Apprentice Dave showed the students previous pegs inserted and both Daves showed how this is done.

As some joints meet at different angles , Dave has made a jig which allows the peg to sit across joints at irregular angles.

Once the jig is lined up across the joint ,small pilot holes are drilled from both sides and if the two drills meet, then the hole runs straight through the joint at the correct angle.
This hole is then re-drilled with a larger drill ready to take the stop water peg.

This is then hammered home and the ends cut off.
 Both Daves were really chuffed the demonstration for the students went well
 and were almost unbearable for the rest of the morning !!!!

Garboard plank fitting.....
Once the  stop water pegs were all in place ,the garboard planks can now be fitted.Dave the shipright finalised the port pattern and we 
"first fitted" the starboard plank by clamping it in place to see what needs tweeking.

Notice that Dave is still grinning from his successful demonstration this morning.
I wrongly told him I had noted this .This was a mistake !

I was rewarded for my observations by being given a large tin of tar paint which I had to slap on the keel where the garboard plank was to fit.This horrible stuff will fill any gaps behind the plank sealing it water tight!
Once suitably gunged up (not a technical term ) the plank was finally fitted and duly nailed home.

We then all celebrated a successful day by looking at some beautiful cake given to us by volunteer Pat .

Which apprentice Dave ate....

AND Wednesday Phil showed everyone his latest war wound but no one seemed impressed!!!!!!

Wednesday Phil

Wednesday 7 January 2015


Dave started with a plywood template lying along the keel with a tapering edge towards the bow. Having drawn the required lines on the template ,as in Making a plank for Helen 2......,
this was then laid on one of the new 30 foot slabs to transfer the  exact detailed  lines ready for cutting out.
A tourist asked why Dave had now started planking from the keel up.
I explained that planks were fixed from above and below so that the final plank (called the stop plank ) is laid near the centre of the hull in a place that is easy to get at ( presumably to make an awkward job a little easier ).

Meanwhile apprentice Dave began" fiddling" with some bolts and noticed an unexpected problem !
He found that previously tight bolts were now slack and some could be tightened  by fingers.
The reason turned out to be that the frames had dried out even further and the wood shrunk so that all bolts needed to be tightened at least one complete turn if not more .We discussed what might happen later when the wood swelled, but decided we could not have slack fastenings now . So Phil went round the entire boat re-tightening all bolts. Oh what fun I had !

At the same time PAT, our latest volunteer, began work filling in the nail heads on the planks with a stiff mix of West epoxy. She soon got in the swing of it and was finally mixing her own filler.
It's great to see another helper with a love of
Helen 2.... and patience.

Readers will be pleased to see that FANG, our guard dog , is keen to model as the figure head for the bow. Dave thinks he has ruff chance.

Visitors today were in abundance with many well wishers coming to see progress.
Adrian, the saw mill owner, came to see what was happening and to discuss his idea of using sail power to restart trading between Wales and the Shetland Islands. More on that later.....
Tony Mead and Murray Taylor two of the trustees made one of their regular visits to discuss the work in progress and then Murray,after funding lunch , went to the College to see some of the students on the boat construction course . Cheers Murray
And finally both Daves showed me how to sharpen my chisels to perfection. I learn something new each day.
Wednesday Phil