clinker boat under construction, dragon with new cedar deck, solid cherry unit, large solid cherry

clinker boat under construction, dragon with new cedar deck, solid cherry unit, large solid cherry
We handcraft beautiful wooden boats and furniture.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

New deck for Flying Fish

After many weeks of sorting out the fitting out, I have finally come to the icing on the cake - a beautiful swept deck. Since the boat is not 100% symmetrical ( very few old wooden boats are) , the fitting and shaping of the coamings is crucial in the overall layout of the deck. The timber used is Sipo Mahogany. This is particularly suitable for the Mediteranean climate - Iroko, for example, would split and warp under those conditions.
I like to rebate the decking rather than a "V" - it gives me more control over the width of the gap. When the deck is sanded, a "V" gets smaller and smaller, giving rise to the need to correct seams before sealing. The rebate remains constant with sanding. It also seems to be easier to fill it with sikaflex.
Sipo Mahogany coamings ready to fix
Sipo Mahogany machined for decking.

The coamings are scarphed using recorcinol glue before fixing onto the deckbeams

Monday, February 6, 2017

Restoration of Saucy Sue

Here some pictures of one of the projects we have been busy with for the last few months.
Saucy Sue is a very old boat ( probably about 100 years old) from Kenmare, where she was originally used as a small ferry. At some stage, an inboard engine was installed, which wasn't quite supported by her original build. She is 22ft long, Larch planking on oak. The gardboards appear to be made of real teak.She was stored in a shed in Kenmare for several decades

10 sections of planking had to be replaced, as well as all the steamed frames.
We fitted new stringers and gunwhales in oak. The lower section of the stem was also replaced.
Floorstraps were fitted, bolted to the keel, 16" apart.
Saucy Sue - propped up at the beginning of the restoration

Steamed frames

Gunwhales and stringers were strung

Saucy Sue tilted to one side to facilitate working on the keel as well as the fitting out

Saucy Sue - fitting the forward deck beams

Monday, February 15, 2016

Preparing Flying Fish for fitting out and engine fitting

The hull has been completely repaired and sealed - no more surprises from here on. Painting the interior of a wooden boat is always a daunting task... and it is very tempting to push on with fitting out at this stage - but to do a top class job, the painting has to be done now.
Fitting out will be a pure pleasure!
Once the boat is fitted out, this amazing view will be hidden ...forever

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Merciless restoration progressing on Flying Fish

Restoration is very much about showing mercy to a beautiful old wooden boat - ironically this means mercilessly taking care of every single detail - scraping off all the old paint, replacing broken fastenings, removing, repairing and refitting ancient planks. Because of this, a restoration is always much more involved than a new build.
Flying Fish has been fitted with some splines and new planking to seal up the hull. Broken timbers (which I discovered were made of Elm) have been replaced by new oak ones. The whole interior and exterior has been scraped.
Fitting a new second plank
All down to bare wood

Spline fitted to seal large gaps
Brand new mahogany plank
Interior beautifully cleaned
Ready to refit gardboard on starboard side

Thursday, October 22, 2015

New Project for the winter months ahead

Flying Fish, a beautiful classic one off, was built for a Mr W. D. Kilroy to his own design by Primmer & Snook, of Hampshire in 1936. She will be restored from the bottom up in our workshop over the next few months. As you can see from the photographs, quite a lot of preparation has already taken place. 
Scraped to bare wood!

Laying out bitumous felt on ballast keel

In mid air - preparing keel for ballast seal

The ballast keel being resealed up to the wooden keel

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Happy Return at Glandore Classic Regatta 2015

During the final preparations in June it seemed almost an impossible dream to bring Happy Return to the 2015 Glandore Classic Regatta - but, it finally came true - she raced in Glandore from the 18th to the 24th of July, winning "Boat of the Regatta" as well as coming first in her class.
As with every boat, we're getting to know her better with each sail, gaining more and more trust in her seaworthiness and reaction to the slightest adjustments.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The moment of truth....

Because craning in had to fit in with so many other schedules, it happened all of a sudden on Monday afternoon in the pouring rain. Official launching will be on the 18th of July at the Glandore Classic Regatta.
That gives Happy Return enough time to swell up and get back into shape. Summer adventure here we come!

Last minute preparations at Roaringwater pier

The moment of truth - about to touch the water after decades on dry land ( sometimes not so dry).

Monday, June 29, 2015

The difficulties of bringing a boat to water....

During the many years of restoring Happy Return, we never thought much about finally bringing her to the water once she was ready. So, there were a lot of last minute logistics to sort out: new wheels on the trailer, a help from neighbour Connie O'Sullivan with his tractor on Sunday morning, organizing the crane at Roaringwater pier with the Whooley brothers.
Impossible to plan in detail!

Gleaming in the sunshine - ready to go to sea!

At the pier at last - loading fenders, mattresses, sails and camping cookers

Friday, June 26, 2015

Happy Return finally hatching!

Sometimes it seemed like this day would never come - finally Happy Return is on her trailer, almost ready to head towards the sea. Some minor details still have to be taken care of, such as positioning of the travellers, cutting the sheets and halyards, fixing the hatch hinges...and of course the name on the transom! But still, the sense of achievement is elating!
Happy Return almost ready for launching!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Unrelenting attention to detail!

A boat like Happy Return (26ft Stella One Design), is like a miniature house with engine, electrics and plumbing. Because of the limited space, every single item has to be placed very carefully, keeping in mind everything that is going to happen on board.
There are many books and articles which attempt to teach and help with boat electrics/plumbing/rigging - but ultimately, one has to really imagine oneself sailing the boat to make those crucial decisions...
Shroud plates finally fitted

Laying cables for windlass

Wiring up switches

Very nearly ready to paint!

Nosing through the door towards the sea!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

One step at a time - finishing touches on Happy Return

With our self-imposed deadline creeping ever closer, the amount of details and small but important jobs to be done on Happy Return seem to be increasing rather than decreasing...
The coachroof was laid out in Samba onto the deckbeams, and then finished with fibreglass and white flowcoat.

Sliding hatch in mahogany. Traditional dovetail construction.

The anchor winch was taken apart and serviced completely before fitting to Happy Return's new swept deck.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Restoring Happy Return's Rudder

The old rudder fittings on Happy Return had completely corroded away, leaving quite a bit of rust damage in the rudder itself. New fittings will have to be made...
Purpleheart pieces were scarfed into the rudder where necessary:

Friday, February 6, 2015

Dry weather ideal for annual maintenance

One has to take advantage of this dry West Cork weather at the moment to do that necessary annual varnishing and maintenance of the wooden boats in our care.
With a few days of special care per year these boats will still be sailing off the west cork coast when we are long gone... hope fully they'll remember us - the mad boatbuilders of West Cork!

We have managed to fit three of the Ettes ( all built by us) into our workshop, as well as their spars.
To create optimal curing conditions for the varnish, we heat with two ceramic infrared heaters.

Creating optimal varnishing conditions can be challenging - so we pack as many boats into the shed as possible to take full advantage of it.
Varnishing spars. The mast to the right is that of Happy Return ( our Stella One Design)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

No time for hibernation!

There is no time to be wasted now - the sailing season is practically upon us!
Even over the Christmas holidays "Happy Return" was not forgotten, with new deck beams fitted for her cabin roof, as well as all those niggly details which come with fitting out a boat. Every piece fitted has to be thought through carefully; everything must work; everything has a purpose.
That is the true challenge of fitting out a sailing boat like this - it's all about function, practicality and safety.
You will notice how Rui has kept the interior of the boat as simple as absolutely possible to ensure easy access and comfortable moving space below deck. The galley has been sacrificed for more sleeping and sitting space.
Rui fitting the cabin roof deck-beams of douglas fir

Starting to look cosy: every piece fitted requires careful thought to ensure functionality and simplicity. Chart table to starboard, and battery storage to port

Deck beams have to be fitted with dovetails to ensure reliable strength for the cabin roof
 The plan is to upcycle this old hollow mast to the right. Happy Return's broken mast can be seen to the left.