Sculpture in Epoxy and Wood

Boat building for botchers!

I have returned to work on finishing and fitting out the hull, and in the process come to the conclusion that boat building using strip-plank/epoxy is mostly a process of sculpture using wood and epoxy as the constructional elements. I must confess that this approach really rewards the botcher, as there seems to be no need for the kind and quality of woodworking skills traditionally needed – in fact I think they may be a disadvantage. 🙂

The general game plan is to arrange the various components and use simple joints (like cross halving or simple notched joints) cut with lots of slop and then soaking the joint faces with plain epoxy, and then filling the gaps with thickened epoxy (which is stronger than the wood and keyed to it via the initial coating soaking into the grain) while clamping the parts in place. When it sets the power belt sander is used to make it all smooth and look like you did a nice job!!

This approach has allowed us to fit the cabin sides in place in quite short order, and with the laminated roof beams produced a structure which seems very secure and strong…. Some Pics:

bunks and mast step

Bunks and mast step

Cabin sides in place

Cabin sides in place

cabin roof beams in bunk end

Cabin roof beams in bunk end

Other progress

We have also completed the fitting of the prop-shaft, with stern-gland, thrust bearing, CV joint. pulley and pulley support bearings. We need to remove the shaft one last time to cut the key ways and indents for the grub screws in the bearings (and to clean up the 1¼” BSF prop-nut thread with the die-nut eBay provided – and thanks to Nigel Spender for helping with machinery and welding for the prop-shaft.).

As you can see from the pictures below, we have also made a start on Befur’s boiler. (in fact we are working as a team to make a batch of 3, one for Befur and two for other SBA members.)

Prop-shaft assembly in place

Prop-shaft assembly in place

Finally a good picture of the fuel tank and piping in place under rear deck.

Finally a good picture of the fuel tank and piping in place under rear deck.

Largest Die-Nut I have ever seen (1.25" BSF)

Largest Die-Nut I have ever seen (1.25″ BSF)

Steam and Mud Drums turned to length and Faced (three boiler's worth her)

Steam and Mud Drums turned to length and Faced (three boiler’s worth her)

And a thank you

Lastly, I owe Paul Cox a big thank you for doing a great restoration job on the engine cover Nigel T provided… look at this shiny thing:

A great restoration job on the engine cover...

A great restoration job on the engine cover…

A great restoration job on the engine cover...

A great restoration job on the engine cover…

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