Wednesday 29 April 2015

Today we went to choose suitable planks from the saw mill..

First Adrian the saw mill owner visited the standing (growing ) larch forest at Bodnant Gardens with shipwright Dave. They chose individual trees which were to be felled soon .They tried to select trees which would have only a few knots and looked strong.

These were then felled, trimmed and cut into 26 or 20 foot lengths and delivered to Adrian's saw yard.
Each tree trunk was then checked for signs of rot or damage during growth and the best specimen chosen for action.

The trunk is then lifted from the pile to the saw bench mechanically as most weigh over two tons!

Adrian then takes a first slice to see what  is below the bark and the potential quality of the wood

Once all are satisfied with the quality, the planks can be cut to the required thickness and set aside for delivery to the Helen II compound.
Even with the best experienced eye, some of the trunks prove not suitable for boat planking and have to be rejected due to knots or shakes (splits ) in the wood.Adrian then has to find another use for this wood as it has already been paid for by him.
And finally ,today was shipwright Dave's birthday and apprentice Dave brought him a cake which was shared by all ! 
I love a happy ending................................................................................. and cake

Friday 24 April 2015

DUNCAN MAKES HIS FIRST PLANK                 16th April 2015
 This was the view of the boat today as we wait for  a new delivery of larch slabs. We still await a wide enough plank to create the starboard stop plank.
So shipwright Dave decided to let Duncan, our Thursday volunteer, try to make a plank all by himself for the port (left) side .Duncan is at present doing a course on Marine Design at Llandrillo College.
Duncan set to with great enthusiasm and using what he had learnt working on the project with the two Daves and specific tips and advice from shipwright Dave, he managed to fit his first ever plank snugly.
He was that chuffed, he is to ask the college if he can do a practical day a week on Helen II after completion of this year's exams. 
This boat has a special effect on all who work on her !


Wednesday 1 April 2015

CONNECTING THE PLANKS                 1st April  2015
While shipwright Dave continued planking the port (left ) side ,apprentice Dave and Wednesday Phil began joining plank ends together

First a block of wood which fits between the frames (ribs) is measured so that it fits in the gap and overlaps one inch above and below the planks to be joined. This allows the planks to be  pulled into line with the neighbouring ones.

Holes are then drilled through the plank and block. To do this I held the block and Dave drilled from the outside with the comforting utterance of "trust me ". This I did until Dave became over enthusiastic with the drill depth marker and a little hole appeared within a scream of my fingers .We then modified our technique and I increased my accident payout sums.
Six bolts are inserted and secured tightly once the back of the joining block is smeared with a mixture of red lead and putty which seals any gap behind the block.

This leaves a beautiful,strong and water tight joint.