progress report

Work has been going a little slower on the new dinghy this week. The yard is still slow, but we’re getting around to those boatyard tasks we’ve been putting off (fixing the roof, repairing floats, splicing new mooring pennants, installing new lights in the back of the shop).
Still, i’ve been putting an hour or two in each afternoon, and slowing getting ahead. The centerboard caused me some grief; i over-reached and paid for it. i laminated a board to the largest size i thought would possibly fit the trunk, grinding and power-planing away the ‘board for hydrodynamic shape. In the end, i ended up grinding away almost half of my own work! The board looks good on it’s own, but it just wouldn’t fit the boat. i made up a second board, this one far undersized, and am building the shape up, rather than grinding away to reveal it. So far, the board is a little less shapely, but fits 110% better. i’ve also cast 10 lbs of lead into the bottom of the new centerboard.
On to the fun bits! i made up a nice cap for the top of the centerboard from a gnarled teak plank. Sanded and oiled, the teak grain swirls from near-black to a buttery blonde. i plugged the screw holes with plugs cut from the lightest part of the same plank, for a great contrasting effect.
i got the spreaders made up as well. Although they’ll be up the mast and (usually) far from scrutiny, i wanted to make really great, strong spreaders for the rig. They needed to be between 18 and 20 inches long, so i rooted through the scrap bins for a piece of hardwood to get them out of. i found a rough, un-milled offcot, the right moulded dimensions, 40 inches long, but couldn’t identify the wood. i cut off an inch or so from the end to reveal fresh grain, and was rewarded with wild pungent aroma. James and Tracy identified it as Imbuya, a remarkable tropical hardwood.
Planing the piece to remove the rough sawmilling marks, i got myself a pile of curled shavings looking all the world like dark chocolate! With the planing and further millwork on the tablesaw and bandsaw, the air filled with the powerful aroma, and my eyes started tearing up. Strong stuff! Tracy says he put an imbuya mast step in his wooden boat, and although the wood comes in a wild range of colours, it always has that same strong aroma. Sanded and oiled, my spreaders turned out a deep dark chocolate, swirled with mocha. They’ll be quite a contrast to the Bristol Beige-painted fiberglass mast they’re going to be attahed to!
i also oiled much of the exposed mahogany, iroko, and teak on the boat itself, and will continue adding coats of oil as i go along. Playing with jigs on the drillpress, i made some diminutive teak mast collars for the attachment of rigging to the bowsprit end as well. Time to follow up on Tracy’s suggestion and find a small gold star earing or bauble to affix to the bowsprit end!


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