Well, a good day! Befur went back on the water yesterday, and it would appear that the work over the winter worked well.
Just a note to say that Befur is out on the hard now, so we can commence the over-winter work.
We made about 5 or 6 trips on the lake in the season, and spend quite a few days on the mooring spannering the various issues we had into submission.
However, just before we fetched her out the first named Storm of the year “Ali” produced some impressive weather, with gusts of over 70mph on Ullswater. We stopped by to see how she was doing on her mooring – here is a video…
The main task is to find the source of all the knocking and rumbling (which I still think is most likely a fractured crank) and then tackle some other outstanding issues. This list is to remind me what is to be done:
- Inspect/fix/remake the Crank
- Cure the leaks between HP cylinder and Valve Chest
- Make some Gauge Cocks (to damp the pressure surges in the gauges)
- Tidy up the fittings for the stern-tube cooling feed
- Re-paint antifouling (as quite a lot fell off!)
- Inspect/test all the vacuum side for leaks as it’s still quite low (~10-15 inches hg)
- Make a new ball-cock valve for hotwell (plug-cock type)
- Maybe make some drawers for the galley
- Fit a stern light
- Think about remaking the cockpit sole to improve access to stern-gland etc.
- Fit a seacock to the blow-down line (to allow the flexible hose to be removed when afloat)
- Install a skin-fitting for the bilge ejector…
- Make a whistle that whistles!
- Attend a VHF course, to get my license 🙂
Well, as we approach the end of the 2018 season, we have decided to fetch Befur back onto dry land a little earlier than planned. This is principally because I can’t tolerate the racket the machinery is making underway, and it seems cruel to run it further pending the noise turning into a real “issue”.
We did have a nice steam this week about 2 1/2 hrs round the northern reach of the lake in a “fresh” breeze. We were towing the inflatable (still nervous about our reliability) and this very nearly became airborne as we opened Befur up into the headwind – she goes quite well. Continue reading
As Lou explained (as I sat in the land-rover feeling quite defeated) “It’s like when you built the racing bikes/cars – you can’t expect to show up at the circuit and have it all work perfectly the first time you race it. There is always going to be development work.”
…and I guess she is right!
This post firstly relates the trips we have made so far, and secondly attempts to provide a balanced view of the successes and failures to date – to help other builders.
Trials (and tribulations)
I noticed that I had not written anything since the end of March, and I guess (unconsciously) this was because I had intended to have Befur ready for the water on the first of April, and that clearly wasn’t happening – and addressing that fact in print was a bridge too far!
However, we have been far from idle, and I actually do think we should be there for the first week of June (fingers-crossed). So here is a quick review of progress in April and May.
Checking the Solar Panels
(editor’s update: This trailer was eventually scrapped and a new aluminium one purchased from Gecko Trailers – see The Final Push to the North )
Thank goodness for eBay… (and Graham Wright)… Graham managed to spot this gem on ebay, it’s about 6ft too short, in need of some paint, somewhat bent from abuse, but it was only 4 miles away, cheap, and nothing a welding torch can’t fix – happy mode:on!
So we reach the point where we can see if it looks like it will fit together. The engine is makes a lot of use of jigs, something new to me, but you can see how they work.
So firstly the front columns are clamped to an assembly jig located in the main bearing slots. Then a jig to locate the lower covers of the cylinders is clamped to the slideways, then the whole cylinder block is lowered onto these covers – and you start to get a feel for how it’s going to look! and how heavy it is!
Well, we passed the first milestone; all the formers/moulds/jigs are cut out, and I only made a complete hash of one of them! One needs a 14mm “outer” laminating around it due to my misunderstanding of the frames v ribs question and cutting it undersize – but that will serve as good practice for the rest of the laminating I have ahead of me.
Here are the rest showing the ones next to the Transom and Stem; an elegant stern and prow designed to cope with open water…
We are going to return to some metal work while we await the arrival of the Castings from France…. (end August) – I think I will fix the two bikes occupying the building space and turn them into wood funds…
As you can see the bows flaire to throw off spray when operating in rough water, and the transom has a significant tumblehome, so the moudls are made in two halves, so that they can be dismantled and removed once the stripping is complete.
The game plan is then to cut the floors, frames and bulkheads to shape using these moulds. Having spoken to Paul Fisher he has persuaded me that we should not try to fit floors etc. prior to sheathing the inside of the hull, so I am planning to just preinstall the Hog/Stem/Transom (of course) and the Bilge Stringers and Clamp.
Next up is sourcing the timber for the strongback of the building jig. I was thinking of building box sections from OSB (sterling board) to save weight and money, but “the community” has persuaded me that this is a bad plan, and I have come to agree. While I think the actual box sections should be a strong as the timbers, I concluded I could not attach the “risers” that hold the jigs in place firmly enough – It would be too hard to spread the load to acheive a stable solution… so 30+ meters of 8 by 3 – here we come!
Well I have turned the first 7 sheets of chipboard into moulds and am half way there…
Paul (from SFD) clarified my confusion, I was thinking that the frames marked on the drawings were like the ribs on some of the pictures of his designs, just square and laminated onto undersized moulds – but they are full bulkheads cut away as needed to fit under sole and behind seats and lockers – at least I figured this out before I cut more than one undersize 🙂
Using the plastic batten to produce a smooth curve round the offsets from the mould drawings really works well, and has highlighted 2 or 3 occasions where I had miss-measured or mis typed a dimension, so hopefully we are going to wind up with a fairly fair jig!
The game plan is to a few 3/4-inch panel pins into key marks, and then pull the batten round… normally 3 or 4 are enough, and the fact that the batten will normally then automatically align itself with the other poinst marked from the offsets from the plan show wat a good job SFD’s computers do in fairing the design.
The ally clamps just hold the batten down and stop it jumping out. Then when it’s all in place you just draw round it, pop it out, pull out the pins and break out the jig saw!
…and tonight Paul from the Castle of Comfort (my local) came round to help move the next 8 sheets of chipboard in to cut the rest of the moulds…
Having clamped a pair of mould-half panels together, I figured I could just cut them out with a jig saw….
So off I set, slowly and carefully sawing along the line – 2 inches in I encounter the first problem – there is so much dust I can’t see the line… At this point I engage “smug-mode” and pick up the shop airline, and with the spare hand blow the dust clear as I saw…
… I reach the end and discover (horror) that the b*&^&^y saw has cut at an angle to the vertical – and (double horror) this mis-cut has resulted in the lower panel being significantly undersize (we are talking about a ~5mm undercut!) grrrrrr….
I check the saw and the blade is square to the foot, so I am mystified…
A number of posts to the Selway Fisher Builders Yahoo group follow… (this really is a great group of people) and a deal of suggestions emerge within a few hours. These range from observations that cutting 1.5inches of chipboard in one go is too ambitious, thru to real Zen-like encouragement to chill more, take up a pipe and cut them with a Japanese hand saw – excellent!
So, I take some of my scrap chipboard (I just made a nice new bit of this) and draw curved lines and practice my sawing (by hand and other approaches) – including sawing it an inch oversize and improving my planing and surforming technique.
In the end two key factors emerge 1 – you cannot saw two at a time (you were right Graham) and 2 – I was going too slow! By setting the variable speed JigSaw to “flat out” and keeping my feed rate slow the desired results emerge….
I leave the workshop with three assembled and very “boat shaped” moulds – life is good again!