Beware Boarders

Hello readers. Are you sitting comfortably? We’ll I’ll resume my jottings anyway. 1 Regular readers will be agog, sitting on the edge of their seat, chewing their finger nails to the quick, eager to find out how I solved the cracked plank that I mentioned at the end of the previous edition. It involved a long piece of flexible batten, a couple of G clamps polythene sheet, some woven fibreglass tape and a large slurp of mixed epoxy. The crack had occurred as I was attempting to bend plank 2 on the starboard side round the edge of the first transverse bulkhead. The intention was for this plank to take up a nice, smooth, sexy curve as it bent round the first and second transverse bulkheads towards the bow. It was too much for the plywood, despite it being softened by pouring boiling water over it. Instead of the sexy curve, there had been a significant sharp cracking sound and the plank had taken up a definite kink. 2

My proposed fix for this was to persuade the plank to adopt a better curve by using the batten and the g clamps to provide it with a pattern to follow and, whilst held in shape by this pattern, stiffen it in this position by gluing fibreglass tape to the inside of the bend. The snag was that I didn’t want to bond the plank to the intermediate bulkhead and that’s where the polythene sheet came into play. I could wrap this round the edge of the bulkhead to keep it and the plank apart whilst the epoxy set.

So, one morning in early January, I set off to the cow boatshed with this project in mind. I had by now settled into a routine. Arrive at the shed, open the sliding door and sidle into the “dirty” area. Here I stored fuel for the wood burner and also used a small pile of pallets as a platform for very messy activities:  chain sawing the pallets to provide the fuel and sanding down boat bits as needed. I’d then light the wood burner and spend an anxious few minutes whilst it decided it was going to work that morning – it’s very dependant on wind direction. Then once it was burning, it was a question of stuffing it as fully of wood as possible and then keeping an eye on the burn rate, fiddling with air vents and damper accordingly.  Then the ancient transistor radio is coaxed into life – BBC radio 4 is usually the station of choice but I do draw the line at the Archers…..

Now I can get down to work. This morning was a little different – I had some welcome boarders. They needed collecting from the farm gate 3 and then given a demonstration on the project. Although the kettle had been put on the stove when I lit it, I couldn’t offer coffee or tea – I have not provided the workspace with mugs (or coffee). 4

Boarders or visitors?

Despite this interruption, I was able to complete the kink removal project that day.  I had the woodburning stove roaring away (kettle singing merrily on top) and an infra-red electic patio heater glaring down on the plank to set the epoxy in about 3 hours. And it worked – the plank had taken up a nice sexy (not kinky) bend.  

With some trepidation, I then proceeded to put the port side plank 2 in place. I managed to learn from my mistake, persuading it to fit smoothly into position. Both sides of this plan were now secured in place with the usual crop of cable ties.

The fire had gone low, and there was little usable fuel left, so to round off the day I attacked a few pallets with the chainsaw and stacked the resultant firewood beside the stove for the morrow.


  1. One of the issues I find with writing a blog is not really having a good picture of my reader (s)  You are either one of the four faithful followers of this occasional stream of consciousness about building a boat, or you have chanced across it.
  2. Despite the term “kink”, it was certainly not kinky, nor sexy.
  3. Well, I couldn’t let their newish car become sullied by the usual messes in a farm.