Starting to build our boat….

In the last week, the workshop has gone from looking like this….

To like this…..

And underneath the excitingly boat shaped tarpaulin is this….

This is the jig; the platform that will support the hull of our boat as we build it. Si designed it to be profile cut along with the frames, so that the frames themselves fit exactly onto the jig and can be fit into place quickly and accurately.

Once Simon finished designing the boat, he converted his design into kit form, nesting the component pieces for the jig and frames onto a collection of sheets the same size as a standard sheet of plywood. This way the boat could be profile cut by the three axis router at Fibrefusion with a minimum of wastage and a maximum of precision, speeding up the build considerably.

Si picked up the pieces of jig from Fibrefusion on Monday, and I left him at the workshop for a bit while I went to catch up on emails and the blog. By the time I got back the jig was together; it took Si about two hours to assemble the whole thing.

In the second picture of the jig above you will see there is a model sitting on top of it. This is a fifth scale model of our boat (about 1m in length), which Si had cut two weeks ago as a final stage in the process of checking and finalising his design. It is a model of the jig and frames of the boat; if you look at the photos below you can see how the jig of our actual boat is constructed in exactly the same way.

On Wednesday we got a message from Steve at Fibrefusion to say that the plywood for the frames had arrived from Robbins Timber, and later that day we heard from him that the router was in the process of cutting the third sheet of ply.

As far as possible we are using sustainable local sources for our materials, and in every case we are investigating the best way of achieving this. Even if it is not possible or practical to implement these choices this time, we hope that in the future it will be. So our plywood comes from Robbins Timber in Bristol and is FSC certified, which means it comes from a responsibly managed and verified source.

Fibrefusion finished cutting the plywood for the frames of our boat on Thursday and Si went to pick them up in the car. In fact, Si went to have a look at the frames being cut and arrived at Fibrefusion to find they were nearly finished, so stayed and picked them up. It’s a good thing I didn’t go with him in the end; there wouldn’t have been much space!

Thanks to Fibrefusion cutting our frames so quickly and efficiently, since then we’ve been sorting through them, sanding and checking them to ensure that they are all ready to put together and we are now ready to start putting them together. We’re away next week for a few days visiting friends and family but once we get back it shouldn’t be long before we have photos of the frame of our boat assembled in the workshop. Once that is done we can begin strip planking the cedar skin of the boat to the frames.

So after months of thinking and planning in front of a computer and over the phone, everything has finally started to happen. Very, very quickly! Seeing the footprint of our boat in the workshop has made the (slightly scary) enormity of the task ahead sink in, but it’s also made us all the more excited about our project, and we cannot wait to begin!

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2 thoughts on “Starting to build our boat….

  1. Dwayne says:

    Great stuff! I look forward to seeing more of the process for sure! Keep on rock’n!

  2. Nick Vowles says:

    Very exciting!

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