Thursday 13 December 2018

Over the past 5 weeks volunteer trustees have met on Thursdays to tackle the shaping of the 46 foot mast.
 It must be planed down from a one foot thick trunk to an eight inch round work of art.
 Ron (our work of art ) assesses the task.
He began by running a length of string down the mast .When pulled tightly , this shows the high spots or lumps to get a straight flat along one side of the mast.

 Alan and Jane prep for the first planed surface to be made.
Unfortunately the heavy duty plane was broken so D.I.Y. ones had to be used.
 Alan used a lot of  unusual words whilst trying to get the plane to work as you may notice the others have got out of earshot !

 With the aid of the string, the high spots were leveled on the first run
and a board also highlighted smaller errors on small sections.

Alan does a Darth Vader impression.
 before a high spot check with the board.


 Once a flat surface has been created , the mast needs turning over to repeat the process on the bottom side. As the mast cannot be lifted by four trustees , a windlass bar was created to give the necessary leverage to roll it.

 The mast first had to be secured so that it could not roll to the left as its weight would dislodge the props and thus the boat fall over.

This will continue  as a work in progress for some time to come.

The rudder is now fitted between the metal U shaped "tangs".
and these are slid into the correct positions.
Trustees Ron and Alan came today as it was a two handed job.

The holes for the bolts to fit through the tangs
need to be carefully drilled and for this a set square is used to make sure the drill is upright.
Half a hole was drilled from one side then the other half drilled from the reverse side to create a clean straight  channel.

 The bolts are then temporarily secured .
The tangs can now be spot welded to hold their correct position prior to full welding later.

We all felt another important milestone had been achieved on the coldest day of the year so far !

Friday 9 November 2018

The 8 cm thick oak sleepers for the rudder have been lying in the yard for some time and under the guidance of trustee Ron , Phil plucked up courage to tackle the build.
4 sleepers were selected and had to be planed down to just 40 mm thick .This took the best part of a day!
These were placed together and a copy of the existing rudder drawn on for the pattern.
These were  then cut to shape ready for fixing with epoxy resin.

Due to the cold weather , the gluing could not be done in the compound as epoxy will not harden below 10 degrees centigrade
Wednesday Phil decided to do this in his warm garage as a bit of homework.

The individual pieces were taken home separately as lifting heavy weights is a no no !
Unfortunately Phil forgot that after gluing,  the pieces became one solid weight.
Don't try this without support....(or A support ! )
Once back in the compound , the sanding down continued to make an attractive unit.
Since my last blog money has been in short supply.

Wednesday Phil now works alone when he wants  to (usually 2 to 3 half days a week.)
Under advice of trustee Ron, Phil  works on jobs he is confident in doing.
 He has now made a variety of blocks for rope pulleys
15 thus far.

 Phil then began making hardwood cleats to secure ropes to .

Having come up with a desirable pattern, this was drawn round to make 8 similar cleats.

the curves were difficult to cut so Phil used a pillar drill to make the curves. 

Then using the band saw, cut the straight edges forming the basic shape

 Having drilled the screw holes to secure them,  they were counter sunk for a smooth finish

 Wednesday Phil gained confidence from this and then progressed to his next task.....

 These holders will support upright posts which will hold the guard rail around the boat to stop anyone falling overboard,
 They are made from 8 cm off cut blocks of oak and are placed at 6 foot intervals on the toe rail and screwed and glued in place with epoxy resin.
Care had to be taken to make them vertical which proved difficult when working single handed.
20 have been made  and fixed. 

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.