January 31, 2013
Built by Berthon in 1925 sail number W-8 (originally named Dinah)
Refit started October 2012
The story so far:
Joel Wootten 1st year Apprentice Painter: I started scraping the paint from the topsides from the port aft end but it was very difficult to start with since I am left handed. It was much easier when I moved to the port bow and travelled aft; on the starboard side I started at the aft end and moved forward. What a way to learn about ancient techniques, but using a modern hot gun! With years of paint removed we started identifying faults and damage.
Sam Page 1st year Apprentice Painter: After the coach roof and interior were removed Joel and I set to on the interior scraping away layers of paint that dated back to 1925, checking for rot and noticing many of the split grown oak frames that need to be replace. It is a more time consuming and fiddly task because the frames are quite close together and many have been reinforced where split with straps of steel iron or maybe bronze. Because the frames will have to be removed we are only scarping the hull planks and so we are not really bothered what metal the straps are. There is much discussion about rot from the shipwright apprentices and their mentors, and we now have to be careful where we put our feet now that two planks just above the deadwood and hog have been removed.
Jack Hughes 4th year Apprentice Shipwright: I was set the task of removing the deck which was made of plywood and sheathed in fibreglass. I removed the fibreglass and then cut the deck into strips as the majority of the screws snapped off when turned. After removing the cockpit I cut out the bulk heads, some of which had been moved when the boat was converted to a cruiser in 1952 (see http://www.westsolent.org/BoatsHolder.html). As I cut out the bulk heads I put in temporary 3” x 2” spreaders that were the same length as the width of the boat to maintain the shape of the boat. I then cut out the deck beams and as removing the deck beams could also affect the shape of the boat, as they pull both sides of the boat together, I fastened ratchet straps around the beam shelves on either side pulling them together throughout the boat. My last job was to make templates of the rotten or damaged frames to use to make the frames that would replace them. To do this I learnt how to use a spiling block.
Spiling (spy’ ling):
Spiling is a method of determining the required shape for a curved piece (of timber) to be fitted against a curved surface. There are several methods depending on the relative geometry of the pieces to be fitted together, in its simplest form a rough cut template is fitted adjacent to the surface, a spiling block pushed up against the surface is used to transfer marks onto the template, the template is then lifted off and laid out on the new timber to be cut and the marks transferred in reverse (using the same spiling block).
Not geometrically perfect, but close enough, the larger block used and/or the tighter the curvature the greater the error. Most boatbuilders have a range of different sized spiling blocks in their toolboxes with bevelled edges to make marking with pencil more accurate.
Jack’s description: “Using a big spiling block and pencil I marked the rough shape of the boat onto hardboard. I cut along this shape with a jig saw and pinned the piece of hardboard back in place next to the frame. With a small spiling block I carefully spiled the shape of the boat onto the hardboard gaining a more accurate shape. I cut along the new line with a jig saw and fitted the hardboard in place, sanding and cutting little bits away until it was a perfect fit. I am glad I had the opportunity to work on the W class ‘W-8’ as it is a part of Berthon’s history and it is a pleasure to refit and maintain this boat so it can sail for many more years. I cannot wait for the new wood to arrive and help make the frames later this year.”