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Annie Hill

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About Me

31 March, 2018

Recycling wood

I was very lucky, at the start of this project, to acquire a pile of kauri, which had originally been milled for cold-moulding.  This is what I've been using to panel the bulkheads, and make the doors, etc. Along the way, I've managed to acquire some more, but it's not easy.  The reason that it's not easy is that the magnificent kauri forests that covered the north of North Island, when the British settlers arrived here, were swiftly cut down and the large trees - which can grow to tremendous size, almost entirely eradicated.  (You can see photos, and read about one of these remaining giants, here.)  The trees are now protected and you need permission to cut one down (although this is too often either given or ignored), which makes buying the timber difficult.  My good luck is holding however: as I mentioned earlier, my friend Gordie has been preparing his mother's house to sell, and stored underneath was a pile of kauri cladding, some of which came my way.

Covered in old paint and the dust of ages, it was less than prepossessing, but it has cleaned up beautifully.  Because of the lead in the old paint, a full-face respirator was needed - unpleasant in hot weather.  However, JRA membership secretary, Linda, who is presently visiting NZ, wanted to join the SibLim Club, so valiantly donned the mask and cleaned up some of the boards for me.

 The paint generally came off easily, but some green paint underneath, was quite stubborn.  However, when I took to it with the random-orbit sander, I could remove it with no problems.

The reason for getting some of this cleaned up is that it should be perfect for making the small fore and aft bulkheads I am installing by the companionway. One of the drawbacks of putting bilge boards in a small boat is that it pushes all the accommodation that much further aft.  However, the anchor tackle on this boat is as heavy as I can handle, so this is a compromise I have to work round.  If you happen to be running with the washboards open, a dollop of water can land on the settee or the cooker, which is something I would prefer to avoid.  Rain can also pour in when you are having to go in and out to check on the chart, etc.  I would prefer for this not to happen, so am installing these bulkheads to prevent it.

 I put down an almost full sheet of plywood in the galley/saloon area, so the first thing I had to do was cut this to fit.  I plan to install a grating between these bulkheads to catch drips from oilskins, etc, which made things easier.

 The now-cleaned boards of kauri were fitted one at a time, with a lap cut in the edges of each one to join them together.

 Here you can see where the lap has been cut.  You can also see that there are plenty of marks in the timber from its previous life.  Not the sort of thing that would be acceptable in a superyacht, but I like the idea of using recycled timber, so can live with these marks quite happily.

 When they were all cut out I dry fitted them, so that I could work out where the fore and aft deck stringers are to be fitted.

 The next job was to glue them up.  Noel, a well-known boatbuilder who fortunately works for Norsand and has an incredible collection of tools, once again kindly lent me some sash clamps for the job.  As well as pushing the joints together, the weight of the clamps tended to keep the bulkheads flat.  It's still occasionally getting very hot in the middle of the day, and even century-old kauri will start to move.

Once they were glued together, the holes and odd gap in the seam were filled with epoxy.  I drilled out some of the nail/screw holes and put kauri plugs in, so that they were less obtrusive.  It was a bit tricky to decide at what stage to do this: too many plugs in the bulkhead would look a bit odd, too.

 In the meantime, I have been fitting, routing, coating and preparing the framing for the deck, the reinforcing around the mast and the liner.

As well as the continuing task of getting the portholes polished up, so that I can install them. I really want to get these done soon, so that when I fit the deck liner in the forecabin, I can close it off from all the dust.


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