The blog will now be devoted not to boat building but to my 82-year-old Vertue, Sally II, now undergoing a well needed refit at Johnson & Loftus in Ullapool (and gliding...)

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Faering Progress

The backbone and garboards of the faering are now nearing completion. The garboards are in three pieces which makes it slightly easier to get them to fit closely along the keel, but also involves six separate operations. So it's probably slower, but surer. And more timber efficient, certainly.

Crucially it has meant I could use some pieces of larch that normally would have languished in the shed; notably two arrow-shaped sections from a board that perfectly matched he scimitar-like fore and aft sections of the garboards.

Thus wastage to date (and it would be a crime to waste a square inch of the superb larch I have seasoning) has been minimal. Whilst it wold have been nice to build in the traditional way with time-worn sticks from the roof to spread the strakes; alas, I have not the experience and rely thus on Iain Oughtred's detailed plans, from which I have made six moulds and three templates for the strakes (three a side).

Three garboard sections per side, scarphed using the curious but logical stepped scarph,  means steaming two fore and two aft sections into the stems, With no rabbet, just a bevel on the planks, there is little room for error. Simple, yes, but you have to take your hat off to the old viking builders. I bet their joints were fag-paper thin (if tobacco had been available).

Again, I marvel at the efficient use of timber; the entire side of a faering could be got from a single wide plank, presumably of oak riven, not sawn. As for steaming the tricky fore and aft sections, I have seen an old b/w film where the men of Os clamp them into wooden moulds, which are infused with steam - I use a plastic bag to get them to twist up into the stems.

Next stage (the photo below was taken during the build of the first Woodfish) is to make and fit the frames to the garboards which will set the shape.

One thing I had been asked to do, for authenticity, was use iron rails. This I had to refuse, so as a compromise I have been painting each of the exposed nails and roves with gun blue, a selenium dioxide (I am told) solution used to blue the steel of shotguns. It seems to work and the copper looks a bit like black iron.

He also wants a steerboard, which should be fun...

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