Search This Blog


In Greenland

Iron Bark

Iron Bark
Under full sail


At Russell Boating Club's Tall Ships Regatta

Annie Hill

Annie Hill
Photo credit: Alvah Simon

Blue Water Medal

Blue Water Medal
Blue Water Medal

Books By Annie Hill

  • Brazil and Beyond
  • Voyaging on a Small Income

About Me

03 February, 2019

Finally I get to varnish!

I have been working really hard on the boat these last few weeks, well aware that Time is Going By and that everyone else is off sailing while I'm still in a boat shed.  This has meant that my Sundays 'off' have been more than usually busy, plus of course there was the Tall Ships Regatta.  All this is to explain why I haven't blogged for a while.  So lots of pics today to make up for it.

 I may have already mentioned these natty little floor rings from Classic Marine.  There is still a wee bit of space for dust to get into the bilges around them, but they are the best that I've seen and feel robust when you use them to lift up the sole.  They don't hold the boards down of course.  If I go offshore, I'll probably simply put screws in for the passage.

 Making the cabin sole is definitely one of the 'lolly jobs' and I am so pleased with the end result.  The tigerwood sands to a beautifully, satiny finish that feels lovely under one's bare feet.

 Another lolly job - and a rather scary one - is making the saloon table.  Many boats have tables that are works of art.  A friend has just told me how she inlaid hers, but I don't have that level of skill, so am keeping it very simple.  I had made a 'pattern' out of MDF and scrap plywood to test out the idea.  Because of the fore and aft bulkhead next to the dinette, the table needs to be able to slide so that one can get access.

The table is designed to fold, but instead of the leaf folding down, it will fold up and lie on top of the other one.  This avoids the irritating business of everyone having somehow to remove their knees when you want to extend the table.  It also gives more leg room when the leaf is up.

 I agonised for ages over the height of the table, and finally got my friend, Alan, to sit at it.  I had a moment of cold panic - it was only just high enough and I'd thought of knocking off another 50mm to suit me!  As I would like my friends to be able to be comfortable, I have compromised.  Of course, the definition of compromise is that no-one is happy!  This photo also show the table top slightly off centre - slid to one side.

 I then glued two pieces of tigerwood together to make substantial feet, for bolting the table down.  I cut them to a shape that I hope will avoid toe stubbing.

 Oh no!  More hinges and they caused me just as much grief as all the others.  Somewhere in my brain the synapses fail where hinges are concerned.  I hate fitting them with a passion!

 But they do look rather nice.  As long as you don't look too closely.

 Meanwhile, I've been working on the headliner, cutting the plywood, fitting the pieces, coating it, painting it and finally gluing it up.  Two more pieces are waiting to go in, but I decided to leave them off until I'd done the varnish.

 So while glue is setting on the table and paint is drying on the headliner, I may as well complete closing in the boat by laying the decks.  As you can see, even 6mm ply doesn't exactly flop over the camber.

 I had plenty to screw to at the forward end, with all the reinforcing for the mast.  It was good to start off with a fairly straightforward piece.

 However, the next piece presented rather more of a challenge, requiring far more screws than I'd originally anticipated.  Even my vast weight on the edge of the panel only just persuaded it to bend.

 And the matching one on the other side.  Gluing things down in temperatures of over 35ÂșC is not a lot of fun, even with super slow hardener, and can get a little stressful.  Thank heavens for battery screwdrivers!

 The next panel has to go between the bilge board cases: I'm still working out exactly how to cut them down.  The original idea was to hang the control blocks from them, but I have visions of some large person slipping and landing with all their weight on the 12mm plywood, breaking it off.  So I think I'll trim them flush and invest in some stand-up blocks to take the lines.

 When I dry fitted the panels, I discovered that once forced into place on the camber, they formed hollows on the fore and aft line.  I don't quite understand this.  I'm hardly 'torturing' the ply, because the deck is horizontal (more or less!) from bow to stern.  However, mine not to reason why, so I put battens along the prevent it happening. 

 Before gluing the panels in place, I put down some insulation material, more to prevent condensation than anything else.

 Then I had another session with recalcitrant plywood, trying to get it to bend as I wanted.  It would have been a lot easier if I could have done it in one piece, but the bilge board cases prevent that and I didn't want to cut them off at this stage.

 I doubt you can actually see it in the photo, but in spite of my best effort - and the batten, the panel still has a bit of a hollow.  By the time I have another layer of (4mm) ply and the teak on, I hope it will have smoothed itself out.  Anyway, it will keep out the water and strengthen the boat, which is its major purpose in life.

 I find people's attitude to the camber a bit of a puzzle.  When the boat is heeling, you can walk on the weather deck and have a pretty level area to move along.  When the boat is upright, you can walk along the centre line (sail permitting).  I don't see the issue myself, but the camber draws a lot of negative comment.

 I am leaving the stove installation right to the end.  I've put a few tiles in place behind it.  They don't really do much, but they look nice.  Supposedly you are meant to leave miles of space around a heater, but I've lived with many and I doubt any of them complied.  The one I'm fitting has good heat shields and will be 100mm from 'combustible surfaces'.  I don't think it will set fire to the boat, as long as I don't crank it up too far!  And as I only have a small space to heat, I'm unlikely to do that.

Finally, I could get down to one of my favourite jobs, varnishing this lovely wood.  Masking tape was required around the white paint, which is only a semi gloss finish.

 I put three coats on the areas that will get hard wear, two coats everywhere else. If only paint were so forgiving!

 I varnished under where the heater will be.  It's much easier to remove the dust from a shiny surface!  The varnish really picks out the grain in the wood - the strange mark on the kauri to the left of the passageway is in fact a golden whorl of wood that literally glows.  It's quite beautiful.

 I like the contrast of the tigerwood and the kauri.

 And the little locker doors all look rather sweet now that they are varnished.

And I've treated myself to two lovely brass, pumps for the galley.  I am so pleased with the way my sink has worked out.  Large enough to wash my biggest pot in, but small enough that I can use fresh water to do so.

So back to the decks. 


Deborah said...

Will this be a Junk Rig?

Skaraborgcraft said...

Going great Annie, that really is the mutts nuts. Your joiner work looks great from here, that really is quite a special galley. Envious of the nice timbers too....

Annie Hill said...

Hi Deborah

It certainly will. In truth, I don't enjoy even an afternoon sail with any other rig that much and nothing would induce me to fit an alternative to my own boat. Once a junkie ...

Annie Hill said...

Thank you Skaraborgcraft :-) One of the lovely things about building this boat has been the way wood had materialised. The tigerwood was on offer at my local timber merchant, BBS and of course my friend Gordie gave me a heap of Kauri weatherboarding, which had been used for a lot of the interior, now. There's a lot of satisfaction with working with beautiful timber and I've tried to make the best of it.

I think the galley is going to work OK. We shall see!