Craft Fellow

January 2017

Bollow Plane

The bollow plane was made from a block of beech. Shaped using templates and a spokeshave. The plane is built as it is needed to use on the oar exercise. There is a lot of satisfaction with this exercise. Making a tool, something that can be used for years to come is a very pleasing.

Spar Gauge 

As well as the bollow plane we also needed to make a spar gauge to make the oar. The spar gauge is used to mark the correct ratios on the shaft of the oar in order to get it as close to perfectly found as possible.

The Oar Exercise 

This involved planing and gluing the ‘wings’ to the shaft. It is then cut roughly to shape on a large bandsaw. This is our first taste of using the large machinery at the college. After that I had to spend a lot of time getting the oar close to the finished shape using a spokeshave for the outside radius and the bollow plane for the scalloping on the inside. Once it was roughly to shape ,I started to round the shaft. Using the spar gauge I made, I marked out the lines and planed to then. Once that was done the remaining corners were knocked off using sandpaper. The final shaping of the oar is still to be finished. 

Grating exercise

The next job was the grating exercise. This is a small lapped grating made using hardwood. This is a job I was dreading but it turned out to be very enjoyable and I was pleased with the results. I guess all the techniques shown to us are all coming together and is starting to become second nature.

The Router course 

The router course is a 3 day course. First we went over the routers and how they can be set up. We then used the routers to create a router table. This exercise was very comprehensive, using different jigs and techniques to create the finished product.

Paint and varnish course

The ‘paint and varnish course’ included some theory on the different types of coatings used on boats e.g. under coats, primers, top coats, varnish, non skid and anti fouling. We then applied that knowledge to a few sample pieces. I applied satin varnish on the inside of my toolbox box and gloss on the outside. Then we did a sample piece of non skid which involved the use of silver sand between the coats of paint to give a rough grippy surface. The course was finished by learning how to set off the water line on a hull and the techniques used to mark it out. 

Tool trays for the tool box

After the paint course I finished building the tool trays for the tool box. These were built in pine which made the dovetails extremely difficult as the wood is very soft. Very fiddly job.

February 2017

On returning to the college after the Christmas break I quickly finished the oar. The next task was to make a level, using teak for the body and brass strips for the finished edges. This was a quick but fairly tricky job. 

Once the level was finished it was used for the next exercise – the deck beams. This exercise comprised of setting out a small section of bow and fitting three deck beams across it. This one was a head scratcher, but once the first one was fitted it went fairly quickly. The final joinery tasks was making dummy sticks – used for marking parallel lines from a datum.

Week two and all the joinery jobs were finished, so I was then moved on to the boats!
First job being the replacement of deck plates on a 30 foot pleasure craft. Before we could make up the new plates we had several issues to solve on the structure underneath. This involved extra bracing and fixing of the existing beams. Also some additional water channels had to be created around seating which has been recently added. Once this was complete we moved onto creating the new deck plates. This involves using 12mm plywood, to which teak decking is then glued once the ply is correctly fitted. We have the ply finished and are ready to lay the teak, but have been doing the Lofting course this week so the teak has been put on hold.
The lofting course shows us how to take a table of offsets and draw out the plans for a boat. We spent two days in the classroom, being shown the process and techniques involved. After doing it small scale we are now in the process of lofting out a 9 foot dingy full size on the lofting floor. These plans will then be used by the college to build 3 boats as a planking exercises for students.

March 2017

Once the 9ft dingy had been completely lofted we were then asked to split up the jobs for making the backbone. I chose to do the stem and apron. I made templates from the lofting, with two jigs setup ready for glueing up the laminates. Because of the curve the stem was made up of layers of thin laminates glued and held into a shape and left to cure. Unfortunately the laminates had not been delivered at this point, so not much progress there.
The hold up gave the opportunity to carry on with the deck plates. Fitting and glueing the margin boards and then cutting and fitting the planks. All the rebates were then filled with caulking and left to set for 7 days, before being cleaned off with a belt sander.
A transom knee was required for the 9ft dingy so I had a go at producing one. It required laminating like the stem, but it was much smaller and we had the materials in stock. Once a template was made, a glueing jig was created and the laminates glued and set over a weekend. Once cured a throat piece was fitted to the back of the knee and cut roughly to shape. The final tidy up will occur during fitting.
I am currently working on another project, fitting a new bulkhead and applying a ‘panelled effect’.

10 November 2017

Jeff has now completed his training at the International Boatbuilding Training College at Lowestoft. Back in Orkney, he has commenced his 2nd year of the two-year programme, working under the supervision of Stromness’ traditional boatbuilder Ian B Richardson. Jeff’s first challenge is to build a Westray Skiff, and here is some photographs showing the setting up of the keel, stem and stern, as well as preparing and fixing the three station moulds in place

Above left: Finishing touches to the stern rabbett or rebate groove prepared to receive the landing or edge of port garboard.
Above right: Preparing a garboard template or spiling board – first step to the first stroke of Jeff’s first new build in Orkney

17 November 2017

Progress continues on the Westray Skiff

Above left to right: Fairing away the fore Port rabbett, Fore Stbd rabbett and knee/deadwood finished, Final fairing on Stbd stern rabbett and deadwood

Left to right: Preparing to plug all boltholes, Final check on all levels and moulds ties together at true line and level particularly beam wise. She is now ready for pattern or spiling board for garboard.

24 November 2017

Latest activities include: fairing the port/starboard stem/stern rabbetts, final fitting of knee/deadwood, plugging all bolt holes and checking all levels and moulds tie together at true line. Next comes making a pattern or spiling board for the garboards, preparation of the garboards, dry-run fitting, followed by tweaks and final fixing of the garboards..

Above left to right: Port garboard completely removed, Starboard garboard fitted

Above: Port garboards fitted and fixed

Above left to right: Attention to detail final fix , Stern and bow garboards home for good .

2 December 2018

Above: First port strake above the port garboard fitted

22 December 2017

Jeff is now on to the 4th stroke, the first of the scarfed strokes. 

12 January 2018

19 January 2018

2 February 2018

15 February 2018

23 February 2018

A day at the Steamie! No, not doing the communal washing, but fitting the timmers! Jeff being assisted and guided by two gentlemen (Ian B Richardson and James Mason) who have 105 years of clinker boatbuilding experience between them!

18 July 2018

Naming of replica Westray skiff Ailsa
OHBS Craft Fellow Jeff Mackie has now completed his Craft Fellowship build project – a replica of the Westray skiff Zulu.
Following her recent naming ceremony, Ailsa was shown at the recent Portsoy Traditional Boat Show 2018 and will also go to the Southampton Boat Show in September 2018, before being handed over to Westray Sailing Club to be rigged for racing.