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...)

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Faering Week Three

Slowly but surely, the faering is taking shape. The lovely thing about a faering (or one of the lovely things) is that with three strakes you're a third planked after fitting the garboards, and after strake two goes on you can kid yourself that it's only a matter of days.

On the downside, those three-section garboards take nearly as long as two ordinary strakes, maybe three as there is absolutely no hiding place when it comes to getting them to fit the keel and stems perfectly. With no false stem the fit has to be spot on, which is why those scarphs are so vital - the other reason being that they allow much more efficient use of timber. See how that section above came neatly out of the flared end of a board?

With the garboards now fixed, the fore and aft sections of the second strakes were cut from patterns I made when I built the first Woodfish in 2006 and although they are not accurate enough to trust alone - besides this faering is 16ft as opposed to 15ft 4in - they do serve as a pretty close approximation of the plank shape. There is a lot left to eye despite Iain's detailed plans. For example, I have given the stem more of an up turn as the owner wants to mount a dragon's head, which means a bold, forward stare; not one looking downwards. I think I'll modify the sheer too, which means altering the top strake a bit. Sorry Iain; that's what comes when you work with solid timber.

The frames are in too, which helps define the shape and was the reason why moulds three and five were not necessary. The frames go into the garboards, and from then on they dictate the shape at those stations. The cross pieces are also fitted, notched over the frames and held temporarily at the centreline by a lashing.

It took me a day to fit and nail that lot up and tomorrow I plan to fit the forward sections. Slowly, slowly does it as a millimetre out at the stems and it shows. NB the after sections are fitted first or the scarphs would point the wrong way.

I have also decided not to use any mastic in the lands, which calls for close fits all round and as I am using copper nails not screws, there's only one chance to get them into the hood ends. All for the sake of authenticity. The owner also wants me to use gun blue on the copper to make it blacken like iron. Jury's out on that one, but early experiments are hopeful.

All the while I am aware that this is not the traditional way to build a faering but then, as I have said before, I'm not Norwegian with a lifetime's experience behind me, in which case I would be half finished by now (three weeks for goodness sake) my only tools being an axe, some sticks from the ceiling and a pile of pine.

Now one thing I can say is, to hell with knotty pine, my larch is the finest I have seen since I began building boats. Just one know in the whole boat so far. Where from? I'm keeping it a secret...

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