Day 9: Thursday 15 February

Ian is a perfectionist

What a difference a day makes. Lake Noust has disappeared, and the inside of this superbly well-ventilated building (did I mention that it was designed and built by local architects Roots?) is dry again. The worktop of The Bench had some thick makeup applied, and Donald Archie made some mahogany fills to complete the front. This piece of furniture is well loved, I tell you. Quietly, on the other side of the room, John P and your correspondent started making a skiff. Well, we labelled all the pieces of the kit, and I was pleased to have an architect and expert plan-reader with me for this task. Dot came in to say hello with a second welcome kettle and some more welcome cake; Mark Beese, one of the directors of the Tiree Maritime Trust, popped in; and David Vale came to have a look at progress. 

John P, builder and architect, labels the kit

As a physician, I thought I had seen it all, but I now had my first case of Skiff Withdrawal Syndrome (SWS). I tried to persuade the patient to take a day off, but Ian T insisted he would be in tomorrow “to give The Bench a wee sand”. He is a very stubborn man. A quality this project needs in abundance. Donald Archie said he would also come in and look at the sagging door. Otherwise, Friday is a Day Off, and we will meet again on Saturday morning at 10 to start cutting out the kit. There are also two moulds to tape, and there should be plenty to do on Sunday. We hope to start erecting the building frame with David at the beginning of next week. The next job will be to glue the stems. Once the timber is here, we can also make a start on all the ancillary pieces like oars, floorboards, footrests and rudder.

Bella’s brother, Ed, is a boat builder, and has passed on this excellent advice:

Start by making sure your building frame/table/backbone are straight.  Then take immense care to build your frames straight and level. Absolutely straight!  Measure and measure again.  Measure diagonals and anything you can.  Get a laser level and use that, but don’t fall into a ‘Well it looks right to me’ or ‘Well this must be how the last guys did it’ or ‘Not quite but it will do’ etc. etc.  It must be right and this will take you much longer than you think.  But unless you get this right, all your work is wasted by building an unstraight boat.

Second bit is:  However strong you think your frame is and needs to be.  It needs to be stronger, so make it so.

Third bit is:  Work to keep everything symmetrical.  Whatever you do to one side, you must immediately do to the other.  Never allow any differences.  If you are building as a team, it is best to have the same crew always do the same job on both sides.  Don’t do one side on Tuesday with group A and then the other side on Thursday with group B.  Whenever cutting boards for hull or anywhere else, try to make sure you cut them together and make them as an identical pair and fit them as such.  This is the only way to keep the boat fair and symmetrical.

Has everyone seen this?

If not, do pass it around.  I love this film, as much for seeing all the people and what they wear etc .as for anything about the boats themselves. Ed

Dot with supplies. Did I say it was cold?

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