Progress in the Cold

The planks are now complete and are stored on a shelf while they slowly cure in the cold weather. I’ll be leaving them for several weeks until the backbone and the frames are complete.

I’ve borrowed a planer/thicknesser from P, a member of the MTSA; I tried it out at his house, but it needed sharpening! I did that today and finished planing and thicknessing of the timber laminates for the tiller, outer stem and the gaff jaws. That’s all the timber laminates cut, all I need now is some warmth to glue them and a jig!

I laid out all the pieces for the backbone, I think that there are 14 pieces. It’s too cold to do large areas of epoxy work so it will wait for warmer weather. There was an issue with location holes, either missing or in the wrong place, but it was easily solved. I’m going to buy some bolts and drill through the laid up backbone and the ply table and fix the bolts up through the table. I will use the bolts with large ply washers covered in plastic to act as clamps.

The ash plank for the oars was too big to put through the table saw, so I used the circular saw to cut them to approx size and the planer to get straight edges.

The rudder has been glued in two parts, but after 48 hours the epoxy had partly set but not cured. It’s now at home getting warm to cure properly and will be worked on at home. I brought the laminate timber home for the tiller and will glue them onto a jig in the warm over the next few days.

I’ve slowed down ‘cos the temperature is too cold and until the backbone is complete everything else will have to wait. This is all becasue we did not expect to sell our Sadler 34 so quickly and start this work in Dec!




Planks Glued

What a difference a day makes, yesterday was warm and the planks glued then were set today, so I was able to remove them from the table and stack them on the shelf and peg out and glue the final 4 planks. These will stay in place for a few days as it will be getting quite cold for a few days. I’ll use a hot air gun to help things along again.

Trying to saw ash, utile (mahogany) and oak with a blunt blade doesn’t work! I have bought a new blade and found someone who can get the old blade sharpened in Tavistock. Today, with a new blade in the table saw, I cut 2 lenghts of ash and 3 lengths of utile that will be glued together in a jig with the right curves and become the tiller. I hope it will look good.

I’ve cut 12 lengths of oak that will be glued together in another jig and will become the outer stem.

Thin Planks for the Stem and Tiller

All this sawing created so much dust that the vacumn cleaner was absolutely full and dust was going everywhere. I had swept the barn before I started cutting the wood this morning! It took a while to unblock the hose as well!

A Very Full Vacumn Cleaner

I’ll start building the backbone next, it may begin to look like a boat soon!

Gluing Planks Started

After a couple of days cutting the scarf joints with a router on the jig that I had made and finishing them with a plane. I’ve now started gluing the planks.

Using the method shown on the Off Center Harbour website and by Alec Jordan who supplied the cut plywood, I pinned 5 complete planks to the building frame, lined them up with a tight cord between 3 pins that defined their position and pinned them all into place.

The link to the methodology is here on YouTube: (Courtesy Alec Jordan)

Five planks and ten scarf joints glued and weighted while the set

I used two pots of glue, one was unthinned and painted onto both sides of the join in the ply to soak into the fibres. The second pot was thickened with microfibres to create a very strong adhesive which was applied to one side, then pushed together and the pins that located the planks at the join were removed. A layer of polyethene was laid above and below the join (underneath was placed there before the planks!) and a short plank over the join and a concrete block to weighed the joint down. As it’s a bit cool, it will take a few days to fully set, but I can’t get to the barn for a few days anyway, so that’s fine!

Just 13 to go; that’s 2 sessions of 5 planks and one of 3. Once they’re all joined, I’ll sand the joints and put to one side while I build the backbone.

Postscript: With the 2nd batch, I had difficulty, replacing the planks once they were buttered with glue. In the end, I used another pin to guide the hole in the plank onto the pin on the baseboard. Plus, clearer reference marking made positioning easier.

Getting Close to Joining Stuff Together!

The Bah Humbug season and the New Year stuff put paid to any work. To add injury to insult, I got some sort of bug that kept me out of action, all in all, nearly a couple of weeks lost.

The original scarf cutting jig was built some time ago, when I didn’t know what the slope was, but I knew is was around 1:5 to 1: 9, depending which supplier you read. I made the rear guide so that the height could be varied. I’ve now set it to cut 60mm wide on 9mm thick ply i.e. 1:6.667.¬† I used a gauge to check the heights across both guides.The front (lower) guide was too high, so I inserted some 18mm ply into the jig to reduce the amount the router cutter needs to be depressed. I also build a dust collection cover which is connected to a vacumn cleaner to reduce the quantity of dust fluing around. The brass half round should reduce the wear on the two guides, but I discovered that when they were glued down, the ends were very slightly higher that the middle. Ten minutes with a file sorted that problem. The planks are inserted into the jig and fixed with two wedges and further secured with a (very) heavy weight on the planks.

Scarf Jig Screwed to Building Frame

I screwed to the building frame the scarf jig; I’ve had several practice runs with scrap ply (I did spend some time working out why the measurements for 9mm ply weren’t correct, until I discovered that I had used some 11mm ply!).

Today, Wed 8 Jan 20, I completed half (of 28) scarf joints, isning the jig, however, the cutter ripped the final tenths of mm of the lower veneer, so I finished the scarfs using a plane which gave a finer finsh.

Other Job Done: I installed bracing onto the legs of building frame, something I should have done before I put the lid on! It involved plenty of rolling around on the floor getting very dusty. The Boss has cleaned the house in my absence and banned me from making the dirty again. Oh Yes?

Spent approx 23 hours building time; it does not include time collecting ply and timber.

Overwhelmed with wood

In “my” barn, I now have the pieces from about 18 sheets of 9mm Okume plywood and 2 sheets of sapele ply, and a load of timber for the rudder, tiller, oars and other stuff I can make in the winter when it’s too cold in the barn for glueing with epoxy.

My next job is to organise the chaos here and at home in my garage into some semblence of order so that I can start work. That will be cutting the scarfs on the 18 planks and all but 3 have 2 joints! Cutting the timber for the oars & tiller and I hope to make a single inert for the sculling notch in the transom, once the two pieces and joined. Any glueing, I will do at home where it’s warmer and will include assembling the rudder.

It’s time I acknowledged the people and organisations that have helped with my getting started. As “Perfect Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance”, I did agreat deal of research, in particular, with the following:

Off Center Harbour:; they are a source of excellent videos on almost anything involved with wooden boat building. Special thanks to Geoff Kerr of Two Daughters Boatworks who built and narrated the build of an Iain Oughtred designed Caledonia Yawl.

Building an Ebihen 15:; this is his blog of building the (slightly) smaller design of the 16.

Designer of the Ebihen 16: Francois Vivier.

Supplier of Cut Plywood: Alec Jordan, supplies the plywood, ready cut on his CNC machine.

I must thanks several people from the MTSA (it’s a local group), H & S who found “my” barn and A who owns the barn.

Last, but definitely not least, thanks to the “Boss”; BTW, I’m the “Skipper”, so work out who’s in charge!

The story continues …..

I have now organised the mess of plywood:

The collection of components for the backbone
Franes and Bunkheads on the Left and All the Rest on the Right
Sorted and Organised planks by Number and Side




Building the Frame

Completed Building Frame

Jewsons delivered the timber for the frame on Mon, just before all the rain on Tue, Wed, &c! I started to straighten and plane level the top edges to get a completely flat bed to the frame until it started to get too dark to see.

On Wed,I finished planing the top edges straight and flat, marked and cut them to length to take 2 sheets of 18mm ply. Next came five stretchers about 1m long to go in between and form a ladder frame. They were all screwed together making sure they were parallel and square. Finally, with the ladder, I added diagonal braces in the corners to keep the frame square (hopefully).

The corner legs went on next, temporarily with clamps to get the frame level in all directions and were screwed on. I added 2 more legs in the centre as well.

Apart from the weight, the sheets of ply were laid on top and also screwed on.

Planing the rails flat
Creating a ladder frame
Adding the legs to make frame level
Putting on the ply

I made a time lapse, but I had trouble with the conversion to video. So here we go:

Job done! Phase one of many completed. Next job, collecting the ply from Jordan Boats, near Taunton and some timber from MJN Timber in Bovey Tracy.


Preparation for the Off

The Skipper has purchased a number of bits and pieces … A large capacity vacumn cleaner with homemade attachments to saws, sanders and router etc; a variety of additionl clamps; treated myself to a new battery drill; half-metre steel rods for the router in the scarf jig; built 4 trestles for chop saw and to support other stuff.

A key element will be cutting the scarf joints for the planks in the jig I built to be used with my router. The 1st test attempt was OK, but main lesson learned: planks must be at right angles to router cutting line. The next test turned out pretty good, even if I did cut too much off! I also need to sharpen the cutters.

This week, I take over the barn and on Friday, with a small team from the Mary Tavy Sailing Association, we’ll clear some space in preparation for the arrival of timber for the building jig and hardwood timber. I intend to do some work at home where it will be warmer for the epoxy glue to set. I hope to assemble the laminated tiller in ash & sapele and the outer stem in oak using a jig, the rudder which is all plywood, the oars in ash with a bit of mahogony trim.

It’s all plans at the moment, it will get going in a week or two …..

The Hunt for the Workshop

We have looked at 3 possible workshops, however, the first would be too expensive, the next was very good but turned out to be for sale and the new owner couldn’t commit to a 12 month let, the final one so far is 30 mins away which we could use. We await a nearer workshop ….

Wed 13 Nov We have now got a workshop outside the village and about 12 – 15 mins away. It is a barn with a difference; it has patio doors along the front which has a lovely view up the valley, I expect to spent too much time looking at that view.

The View up the Valley – looks good even in winter!
The Barn before we start moving stuff!

There is installed and protected electricity, running water and a loo (summer only!). In a couple of weeks, we, and as many friends as I can muster, will help the owner move/remove the furniture and other stuff down to one end. I’ll put some plastic sheeting to keep as much dust out of the other half of the barn. Then we can start work!

Building an Ebihen 16

Ebihen 16 Clinker (Lapstrake) Gaff rig Cutter
Image from

The Boss and The Skipper have owned boats since 1975 or so. The first dinghy was an old wooden Enterprise, which we restored and sailed for several years. She was sold and the Skipper bought (with help from The Boss) a Laser which was raced for a number of years. That was sold and was followed by a Mirror, GP14, Optimist, a sailboard or two until we decided to go offshore sailing, initially in a Westerly Centaur, followed by a Rival 41 and finally a Sadler 34. We got our tags from that time, thanks to J with a video camera on a delivery trip. For a variety of reasons, we ended not sailing very much especially in 2017, 18, 19. By Oct 19, we sold the Sadler and the Skipper has chosen to build a wooden boat as shown in the image above.

This will be the story of its building.