Tag Archives: SBA

SBA Event at Windermere

Each year the SBA (Steam Boat Association) has a week long rally at Windemere in the English Lake District.

This year Louise and I arranged to be there at the same time and joined them for a couple of days. This gave us a chance to take a trip on three boats; Arminta (built by Len Williamson), and powered by a Leak compound of the type I am building; Grayling, built by John Maltby – a tribute to his fine engineering; and Imp owned and built by Chris Davis – a lovely traditional river launch, with a Stuart 6A built by himself.

We also visited the Steam Boat Museum, soon to be reopened following a change of management and major refurbishment.

Some pictures below:

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Steaming with the ABV

Louise and I had a fun weekend with the Steam Boat association, at the Rally they organised with the French Steam Boat Association at St. Ives on the Great Ouse.

In a Lock on the Great Ouse

A collection of UK, French and Dutch Steamboats in a lock..

We were fortunate enough to blag trips on Lady Selsey (owned by Richard Mitchell) and Theodore (owned by Pieter Brittijn) – with brilliant sunshine, and good company we had a great time.

It also helped confirm Louise’s and my view of the style of boat we wanted to build, we are very taken with the more open “working” boat typified by the yacht tender from the turn of the century (1900!), as opposed to the Edwardian river launch style. (as Louise commented these could be characterized as the difference between Ikea and the Antiques Road Show.

There is still a long way from here to having to implement our decisions, but my current favorite design is typified by Lady May build by John King.

John King’s Lady May, modeled on yacht tenders for the 1900’s

Sawing Straight (not)

Having clamped a pair of mould-half panels together, I figured I could just cut them out with a jig saw….

The "Offending" Saw - as always it's the bad workman who blames his tools!

The "Offending" Saw - as always it's the bad workman who blames his tools!

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….

The first three moulds - halves bolted together, showing the marking out

The first three mould-halves bolted together, showing the marking out (Nos 1,12 and 16)

I leave the workshop with three assembled and very “boat shaped” moulds – life is good again!

 

Where it all began

Being a youth in the ’70s I got swept up in the emergence of the industrial archeology “movement”. Building on basic motorcycle/petrol-head beginnings I became significantly infused with serious doses of Steam and Engineering. This included working on Brindley’s Water Mill at Leek, helping the Northern Mill Engine Society dismantle a cotton mill in Shaw in Lancashire, and going sidecar racing.

Probably the key moment was meeting a retired engineer, who was helping with the sidecar project, and  whose house was full of 5-inch-gauge model Steam Locomotives, and I thought “wow that would be a good thing to do when I retire” and then realising that if I waited till then I would not have time to learn the craft – so I bought a Lathe…

About 25 years later (after 2 daughters (Becca and Kathy), a wife (Louise) and building a model of one of Nigel Gresley’s first designs (the O1 for the GNR) (see below) and a lot of swarf and scrap)  I ran into the Steam Boat association of the UK at an exhibition in Taunton in 2010. They had a steam boat on the stand… and a couple of blokes who made it sound interesting!

I felt the “obsessive gene” kick in…..

Here is the loco – showing that I can finish something, even if it takes over 25 years!

…and here’s a video of Dave driving…