April 26, 2013
By Jack Gunstone-Smith (2nd year Shipwright Apprentice)
Whilst working on Ripple these last couple of weeks, I have so far removed the keel timber, which involved removing the large bronze keel bolts that fasten the keel to the strap floors, by way of drilling off the heads of the bolts inside the boat and then using a drift and a large hammer or “maul” to drive them out through the bottom of the keel. Once all of the bolts had been removed the keel was then dropped out of the boat little by little using wedges and shoring blocks. I then transferred the shape of the keel onto some hardboard and made a template ready for making the new keel; whilst doing this I also marked the positions of the
existing frames, and took the bevels off of the keel for the garboard plank landing. It was very interesting to see the boat without her keel as you’re able to see the extent of the rot in the bottoms of the frames which is quite substantial. It was also good to be able to see the wood keel out of the boat as you can really appreciate the amount of work that has gone into it all those years ago, cutting all of the frame housings, and getting the bevels of the plank landing just right to accept the garboard plank. That’s a job for me later on, I hope…
I then went on to construct a laminating jig which will be used to laminate the shape of the new frame timbers. Using one of the templates taken from the existing frames I marked the shape onto a piece of plywood, I then sprang a flexible batten through these markings to mark a fair curve without deviating too much from the original template. I then set up a number of steel brackets along this line and bolted them in place; these will be used to clamp the timber laminates in place and allow them to take the shape of the frame whilst the glue cures.
As you will have read in an earlier blog Joel & Sam (fellow Berthon painter apprentices) previously scraped the hull planking back to bare wood; they are currently very busy with painting work on a Challenger 67, a brand new Princess V52 which is off to the Middle East and finishing off an osmosis job epoxying the hull of an S&S Seafarer 49. Accordingly, as winter hopefully recedes into warmer weather, I have been detailed to stabilise the moisture content of the planking and reduce the shrinking caused by drying out by coating all with a marine paint primer, which has been thinned out to a watery consistency to allow it to soak into the wood. With this refit due to last a good twelve months, we need to protect what little is left of the original hull.
Berthon has a long history in marine apprenticeships, to find out more about our apprenticeship program or to apply to become a shipwright, marine engineer, marine electrician please see the Berthon Jobs page.