Week five (or rather six, if we count the days before that spent lofting and making moulds etc), and the Arctic Tern is taking shape. The last strake went in last Friday, a scarphed length of Scots pine from the Queen's estate at Balmoral. Stems in the photos have yet to be fitted, which were to prove rather tricky.
Why pine? Well, honestly, we ran out of good larch and, in the best traditions of making do with what you have got, discussed with the owner the idea of giving the top strake a contrasting look in timber rather than the original idea of a light colour. We reckon, when capped with an oak rubbing strip, it will look rather fancy. This is a Shetland-type boat, but let's face it, really a rather posh traditional dinghy, authentic to a point, but not slavishly so. An evolution not a replica. We do not like painting by numbers at Viking Boats...!
The frames are now going in, slowly, as it is a painstaking, skilled job entailing spiling to each strake, and each has a different bevel, and some of the strakes have a slight cupping as well. So that's a job for Mattis, fresh from two years at a boat building school in Stockholm. I promise I'll take some photos of the ancient Swedish gadget used from time immemorial to make the frames fit the strakes.
You'll also notice that we chose not to follow the lining out of the planks, which calls for wider strakes two and three up from the garboard. In any case, we went for seven not six to make best use of the timber.
Here's me pretending to look busy, battening out the sheerstrake, which I had spiled, cut, planed and gained, a job I felt I should claim before Mattis had the chance. It's a lovely task, getting the sheerstrake right, and vital for the look of the boat. Besides, as Mattis had fitted the last three strakes on his own, I had to do something to justify my existence.
Undoubtedly one of the nicest jobs in building a boat is striking in the sheerline, and planing to the mark. It calls for lots of squinting, battening and discussion.
We even used a laser shone onto the sheer from the inside to mark what appears to be a straight line (which turns into a curve when seem from the side), then a length of cord, stretched tight from stem to stern (ditto). All methods seemed to agree, but the final line - a slight upturn at bow and stern - can only be done by eye. Then pure pleasure with the Veritas block plane...
The slight blurriness in the photo is because I am working so fast, such is the extreme skill and confidence displayed by Viking Boats.
Well, no, it's because I left the camera set on manual focus, rather than auto...