At last – oar construction begins

After long deliberation, measurement and spreadsheet calculation we have finally decided to make 11ft oars that can be cut down if necessary.  They will have leather sleeves.

Adrian and Andy bought some straight-grained Douglas Fir from A&W Cushion of Norwich and today finally got down to marking, sawing and planing.


The actual blades are “wings” of Douglas Fir glued with epoxy to the shafts.  Outside it was trying to snow so the garage was too cold for the epoxy to cure, so after discussion with Katy (Andy’s wife) it was decided that the kitchen was already being used for an authorised purpose (cake making) so we would work in the conservatory.


Finally the gluing was done and the wood began to look like a pair of oars.  Clamps off on Sunday and then some shaping to do.


Back on track…

Finally, with our lovely larch having dried out a bit, the polyurethane glue holding, much puzzling and multiple dry-fitting the aprons are on, the hog epoxied to the frames and we can start shaping and fitting the planking. We had to resort to the tarpaulin tent with greenhouse heaters beneath to raise the temperature sufficiently to cure the epoxy. 




It’s OK Chris, it’s meant to look like that……




Snug inside the tent.

Trip to Scotland

Andy and Ian travelled up to Scotland on Tuesday 12th.  It was intended that Adrian H wiould be with us but sadly he preferred to enjoy the delights of the Norovirus instead.

We visited Johnny Johnson at Eyemouth and Hugh Mackenzie and others at North Berwick.  All were very helpful and gave us lots of answers and allowed us to photograph and measure various bits and pieces of their boats.

We came home buzzing and our enthusiasm was only slightly dampened by TWO punctures in Lincolnshire.


In the meantime Victoria has been busy organising designs and this looks like our new logo:-

cra logo

Laminating Stems

The larch which Alan (Collett) collected from the sawmill in Yorkshire, using John (Seymour’s) trailer looked very clean, knot-free and straight grained – ideal for bending. it was clearly green and moist – further ideal qualities for bending into our stems and aprons (the long curved extensions of the keel at both pointy ends of the boat.
Being moist, our polymer based epoxy glue would not bond to the timber, so I used a polyurethane glue which requires a degree of moisture to cure. The blurb on the web stated it could tolerate up to 25% moisture content. At the time we had no moisture meter with which to test our larch.
We pressed on confidently, assuming all would be well, glueing strips of larch and bending them round the jig. On Sunday Chris, Barrie and I were cutting the forward apron to fit when it sprung apart. Careful prodding of the other laminations showed them all to be failing.
Gently prising the laminations apart we salvaged the larch intact and Chris set to cleaning off the residual glue.
Vicky managed to borrow a moisture meter from Neil Thompson at Glandford and we were able to establish that our larch ranged from 18% – 23% moisture content.
Hidden deep in the small print on the can of glue it stated that the figures given for drying times etc. were based on a moisture content range of 8% to 18% in an ambient temperature of 20 degrees C.
The net outcome is that I am having to let the larch dry out, checking the meter regularly. This could take a few days, meaning there is again little else we can be getting on with this week – very frustrating.
My concern is to get the balance between reducing moisture levels for the glue but not drying the larch too much so it then cracks when we try bending again!
I will keep you posted.  IAN