WE ARE THE DOWNSTAIRS GROUP NOW!

So, after finishing all the open tasks we started making our own toolboxes based on a traditional apprentice design. How amazing is that?!?!? I chose cherry wood for mine and there was a big knot in the top so I had to make a graving piece and my lovely instructor gave me a little bit of black walnut to make it with so I did! It ended up looking really nice and will be a nice feature of the tool box. It will probably be a while until I finish it as we moved downstairs halfway through... the picture of it being glued up is in the downstairs workshop as we did it just after me moved down...

What a few weeks it has been!

In short, these things have happened:

1.     I moved rooms to a bigger room where I can see the sea out of the window

2.     I looked after one of the instructor’s dogs (Derek) last weekend

3.     Rowed in the Bridport regatta for Lyme Regis Gig Club in Tempest, a boat built at the Academy by Gale McGarva. We came 3rd in the Ladies 3rd boat and beat Bridport!

4.     WE MOVED DOWNSTAIRS TO THE BIG WORKSHOP AND STARTED BUILDING OUR BOATS!

So you can see that I have been a little busy and it has been bizarre but I literally haven’t had a moment to update the blog or do a vlog!

Wow! So, being in the big workshop is AMAZING! It was so weird moving out of our training workshop up on the mezzanine. It was a bit sad to say farewell to our shorty work bench but it also felt like the right time. My bench buddy and I nabbed the shorty work bench downstairs so we can still plane to our hearts content. Oh yeah, our workbench also has a view of the sea when the big doors are open. Incredible!

Seeing the Wherry actually come to life through our own hands is just amazing. It has also been good to see that although our project plan is ambitious it is actually pretty accurate, although we may have underestimated how long it will take to set up everything and get to the planking. We do have some “buffer days” incorporated into the plan and that has helped as when we made the plan we really had no idea of how long each process would take. This week we were nearly spot on and we will start planking next week... at some point... which is amazing! So what did we do last week? Well... another list perhaps?

1.     Set up the moulds on a box as the Wherry will be built upside down. We need to make sure the box was level and extend it by a foot to accommodate her.

2.     Set up a jig and laminate the inner and outer stem, then shape the stem to fit the template. My bench buddy did the shaping on that one.

3.     Make the transom. More about this shortly!

4.     Scarf large sheets of 12mm plywood together and cut out the keel panel shape roughly on three of them. Then glue theses three together to make the right thickness of keel panel.

Transom!

The transom has been my baby really. I first went to Yandles & Sons in Martock and chose some pieces of American Walnut (also called black walnut) then I used 3 pieces and arranged them and cut them so that they were the right size and shape for the transom. Then they needed to fit perfectly at the edges so they could be biscuit joined together. After that I had to use a cabinet scraper to make the transom flat and then sand with an orbital sander and then sand in the direction of the grain by hand to remove the orbital sanding marks. It was a bit of a lengthy process but so worth it as it turned out really nicely and this is an important part of the boat. My thinking is that as her hull will be glue clinker and painted then any bits of wood that will be bright finished need to be really stunning and show that she is a gorgeous wooden boat. Also there are limited opportunities to choose wood for her so I want to treat her to some lovely pieces. In the end I achieved my goal. To me the transom feels like it is her soul so I wanted it to be beautiful and strong, just like the rest of her.

This week we have all been working on the boats that we lofted, which makes sense as those who lofted the boats know them most intimately and completely. This means that my bench buddy and I have been working away on the wherry and it has been a joy and a pleasure. What I have also loved is the feeling of all our learning and training from our time in the upstairs workshop coming in to play now. Whatever comes up we have some experience to draw on and use to create a solution and that kind of problem solving has been so much fun. For example I needed to make a cradle for the transom to sit on so I asked one of our instructors and he drew a little sketch and then I built it. I took the angle from the lofting and I just built it.

We also needed to glue the keel panel together and so we had a chat with the instructors to talk about the best way to do it and then did all the preparation needed and... well... we did it after they had left. It was just us but we understood the principals of what we were doing and how the Epoxy we were using to glue the pieces together would work and so we were able to do something that we had never done before. Totally on our own. No instructors, just us. It went completely to plan. Brilliant!

Time passes crazily quickly here so it is important to relish every moment. With that in mind, we are putting in the extra hours now so that we don’t end up with a whole lot of things to do and no time to do them at the end of the course. The thing is that I don’t think I could stop at 5:30 anyway, it wouldn’t feel right and I am enjoying it all so much that I just wouldn’t want to! However, it is also important not to overdo it and burn out... with that in mind... we have been gig rowing and today (Sunday 3rd July) we rowed in Bridport regatta! It was our first regatta and we were rowing with the ladies C team and... WE CAME THIRD! It was such fun! We also rowed in the mixed 2nd boat and came last... lol! It was good to do 2 rows tho. In the end Lyme Regis came second overall and even managed to beat Bridport by 1 point! Seeing as we beat Bridport in our race I feel even more proud of our third position in that race. Everyone rowed so well and it was such a lovely experience as everyone is just so nice. We were rowing at West Bay in Bridport, this is where Broadchurch is filmed and seeing those big, iconic cliffs as we rowed was pretty incredible. Here are some lovely photos.

Oh, and here is the video of this week too!