Monday, September 7, 2009

This blog is an account of my experience in building a Port Sorell rowing skiff, and although some of this will be retrospective as I am already 6 months into my build, I hope to also log future progress. I'm also interested if there are other folk out there building Port Sorell's....
So, my build began back in March 09 with the arrival of plans from Selway Fisher in the UK. Although the Port Sorell can be built in 'stitch and tape' style, I have elected to build in clinker ply, hoping for a more traditional look. I have plently of cabinet making experience and a few boat repairs, but this is the first boat building project from scratch, and it is being done in my spare-time and holidays from my work as a teacher (you have to love the holidays!) So, here she is, back in April sometime, with the strongback built, frames cut and erected, stringers recessed into the frames (I gather you don't have to do this but chose to as it looked a sensible option) and the hog fitted to transom and inner stem. I laminted the inner stem from two fantastic NZ timbers, Kauri and Rimu and think it will look quite nice when all finished.

Here's a close-up of the inner stem showing the laminations of Kauri and Rimu - each layer being approximately 4mm thick. The whole thing took a fair bit of bending around a mold to get the right shape but has ended up pretty rigid.

The ply sheets have to be 'scarfed' - trimmed on an angle so that they can be glued end to end to create lengths long enough for the 4.7m boat. This photo is of the scarfs that I chose to prepare with hand plane - a little wavy in places but it was fun cutting these by hand rather than with the router.
Laying on of the ply planking began in May... I'm using 6mm marine ply. Getting the shapes correct by spiling from the shape of the stringers took some practice and I got better as time went on .... until completely messing up the last plank! Luckily I had a little spare and so didn't have to go out and buy a whole new sheet. So far, costs have been around NZ$500 for the marine ply, West system epoxy, materials for the strongback, frames, stringers etc.

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