The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2021.07.04 - Mainsheet Blocks IV

Over the past few days I've continued the work on the new mainsheet blocks.

Once the glue holding the cheeks and spacers together had dried, the cramps were removed and any excess glue squeeze-out removed with a sharp chisel.

The excess material was removed over at the bandsaw and sanded smooth using the belt sander.

At this point the shells are shaped in one direction and need to be shaped in the other.

This is a drawing of the block that I made using my cad software and then printed it out full-sized.

One side of the drawing was cut out to give a template that could be held up to the block to see where the wood needed to be removed.

It wasn't easy for me to achieve as this is the first time I've done this, but here is one of the shells partially shaped.

And again with more wood removed to give a smooth shape.

A groove around the shell was made using various round files and it was at this point that I realised that I had drilled the hole for the pin in the wrong place. It was too close to the top of the black and with the sheave fitted the rope would not pass through the block.

Fortunately I have many Ash arrow shafts around in the workshop. One of these was turned down to 8mm, the smallest I could go using the dowel maker I have, so the holes in the shells were widened to 8mm and then plugged with pieces of the arrow shaft. Once the glue had dried, the plugs were trimmed to length and sanded flush with the shell both inside and out.

The pin holes were then re-drilled in the correct position.

Here the second shell has been shaped but not yet had the groove cut, however, as soon as that was done and both shells sanded with 240 grid sandpaper and they were submerged in Boiled Linseed Oil.

The shells float in the oils so a lead weight was carefully placed on top of the shells to keep them completely submerged. The lid was put on the pot and the whole thing put aside out of the way where the shells will soak for a week. This will allow the oil to penetrate deeply into the pores of the Ash. After a week the shells will be removed from the oil, drained, the excess oil wiped off and they will be hung up in the workshop for another week to allow the oil to dry.

Once the oil has dried several coats of varnish will be applied before the sheaves are pinned in place and the strops added to complete the blocks.

But right now, it's time for a cup of tea.

2021.07.01 - Mainsheet Blocks III

Today's task is a little tricky for two reasons. Firstly, I've never done it before and secondly, it is very easy to mess it up.

The idea is to drill a hole very close to the edge of a piece of Ash like this.

But as you can see, this is a little too close.

The other side the block is also trimmed like so.

However, the block is too thin at a little over 13mm when I need it to be a minimum of 14mm and preferably less than 15mm. So I need to try again.

This time I cut the hole deliberately too far away from the edge...

...and trim both sides.

This time the width is 14.6mm which is close enough. Slightly too thick is not going to be a problem.

This piece is cut into two though the hole giving two pieces each with a semicircular "groove" in one edge.

Two more pieces of Ash are cut the same thickness, but without the groove.

One of each will be glued to the block cheek pieces like this...

...and the other cheek piece glues in top to form the shell of the block.

It is not easy to glue the entire shell in one go, so the spacers are glued to one side first and the other cheek is placed on top to spread the load of the weights whilst the glue tacks up for half an hour or so.

Once the glue has tacked up sufficiently the weights are removed, the unglued cheek taken off and any glue squeeze-out removed with a sharp chisel.

The second cheek is now glued in place. The location of the two cheeks is assisted by a drill bit through the holes and additional pads of scrap wood are used to stop the clamps from damaging the shell as they are quite strong.

The shells will be left over night for the glue to cure completely and the next part will be done after that.

Time for a cup of tea.

2021.06.30 - Mainsheet Blocks II

Now that various tools and gungy stuff has finally arrived, it is time to continue the new mainsheet blocks.

This is one of the two Ash timber pieces I bought from which the block will be constructed.

I cut off a piece the correct length...

...and cut the piece in half to give two thinner pieces. This is known as resawing the timber. The process took over an hour to complete because I had to setup the band saw first. Resawing uses a different blade from normal and you need to set it all up correctly and ensure that the table and fence are adjusted so that the blade doesn't cut through the wood at a skewed angle.

The blue masking tape is put on to the cut surfaces, superglue applied to a few spots on the tape and the two pieces of wood 'glued' together.

Like this. You'll see why in moment.

I stuck the outline of the two blocks onto the timber with spray adhesive...

...and used the bandsaw to roughly cut the timber to shape. Here one part is cut...

...and a short while later I had both blocks roughed out.

The next stage is to use the belt sander to sand away the remaining waste.

This leaves the two blocks now shaped correctly.

The centre holes for the pins are drilled next...

...and the cheek pieces 'un-glued'. The paper and blue masking tape have been removed and any tear-out sanded away.

I stopped at this point as the next part is a little tricky and I want do some painting.

The rudder blade and stock have been sanded, the parts that remain in the water coated in a fresh coat of copper epoxy and the rest painted Burgundy. This is the second coat of paint and probably the last for this season.

I'll leave the rudder hanging up for a few days to a allow the paint to harden a bit before remounting the lead weights on the rudder blade and repaint the waterline.

Time for a cup of tea.

2021.05.28 - Mainsheet Blocks I

Whilst I'm in the mood to be making things and sorting things out both in the workshop and on Naiad, I was putting a coat of varnish on one of the mainsheet blocks and decided that they may have been reduced in price, but they are really much too big for the 10mm (~3/8") diameter sheet. The block is more suited to a rope size of 18mm (~3/4") which is why they look too large. They are too large !

So, two Tufnol blocks suitable for 10mm rope and 50mm (2") in diameter costs £20 including delivery and VAT. Two off cuts of Ash with enough timber to make a dozen blocks is £22 including delivery. With what I have in the workshop to make the blocks I will have two correctly sized blocks for about a third of the price I paid for the two I have been using. Plus I have the satisfaction of knowing that I made the blocks myself.

Here are the Tufnol sheaves...

...and these are the two Ash offcuts. They haven't arrived yet, this is one of the photos from the people who are selling the timber.

Later on today I shall work out the dimensions of the blocks.

Time for a coffee !

2021.05.25 - Trailer Guides II

Yesterday after work I set to glueing the laminations together to form the trailer guides. The glue arrived mid-afternoon and 5l (just over a gallon) of the stuff only cost £17 if you buy it from a construction merchant and not from a woodworking site and especially not from a marine site !

The first two layers were bit tricky at the corners sInce I needed to put the glue on both sides to be joined, hold the parts at the corners square using set-square and then use the (heavy) brad-nailer to pin the two layers together and also to the plywood underneath as my nails are longer than the two thickness of plywood. That is acceptable since that holds the entire thing in place on the plastic used to stop the glue from sticking the guides to the sheet of plywood on the floor.

Once the corner pieces were done it was just a case of glueing up and nailing down the rest. 

The second layer is now in place and ready for the third to be added.

Once the first four laminations were in place, completing the first guide, I placed plastic sheeting on top and then started the second guide on top of the first. Like the first layer being nailed to the plywood flooring, the nails holding together the first two layers of the second guide pinned it to the first guide. Once the second guide was completed I used the lead weights to add pressure to the glue-up and called it a day.

During a tea-break this morning I couldn't resist popping down to the workshop and checking the results.

The guides were easily prised off the plywood flooring.

The brad nails didn't penetrate that far into the flooring as you can see. That also meant that the two guides came apart easily and once I had rolled up all the pieces of plastic I used a pair of end cutters to cut off most of the protruding nails followed by a hammer to push the remaining protruding metal into the wood. I suppose that only amounted to about a millimetre or sixteenth of an inch or so but needed to be done or there would be blood everywhere each time I handled the guides. Even such a short length of sharp metal can draw blood.

So, here we are, two trailer guides ready to be offered up to the trailer and Naiad to check that I haven't messed things up too badly. I'm pretty sure that corners are not quite square but by how much remains to be seen.

Still, there's enough thickness of wood in the guides to allow some adjustment by sanding or cutting some of it away should that be required, which we shall see later on today.

But for now, tea break is over and it's time to get back to work.

The forward guide on the port side. Not bad.

Aft on the port side is too bad either.

Here is the forward guide on the starboard side. Still good here.

And finally the aft guide on the starboard side. Still go.

I don't think any adjustment is going to be necessary. The final fitting will have to wait until Naiad can be lifted off the trailer and repositioned correctly.

I think the guides are going to work well.

It is going to be necessary to make a full length support for the keel on the trailer, however, as the rollers are making indentations in the keel from the weight of the boat. I may see if I can get a laminated shoe sorted out when Naiad is lifted off the trailer.

A task for a mother day, that's for sure.

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