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Sunday, February 27, 2011

A belated update -

Its, yet again, been a while since my last update.  Its easy to get sidetracked with family and other matters but those of you who have said that I have given up.... Sorry no!  Just because I don't spend every waking minute standing watching over her doesn't mean I am not down every day making sure that ropes and fenders are all in place and that there is no movement.
Also to those cynics that have said nothing is happening, well I can only get access to her at a 1.2 of a tide, this means that there is only a few occasion's that I can actually do anything constructive on her hull below the waterline.

However, the good news is that I have achieved a lot of caulking recently.  I managed to get down for a part of the big tides last week and have more or less managed to re-seal the port side.  She still has a lot to be done Port side wise but the worst of the rotten caulking was removed and replaced (How madly does rotten oakum smell??) all the seams re-caulked properly and then finally filled and painted. 

I have been criticised for not 'patching' her and moving her quickly, but I feel that there is no point in doing things twice, for one reason I cant afford it and for another the seams are way to long to effectively patch.  Its far easier and (I feel) quicker to just get on and do the job properly.

I have been using a method of caulking that I found in an old shipwrights book, where they use cotton coated with tar, instead of tar (Which I now have after taking a time to source) I have been using roofers bitumen.  It seems a wee bit light for the job, but I have put plenty into the seams as well as hammering home the cotton.  On top of this I have been using a linseed oil and red oxide putty mix (5% red oxide) to bring the seam up to level and then painting the whole thing with red oxide paint (See pictures).  This seems to work OK, and the finish is looking good.  I found an old table spoon on the beach and it is by far the best tool for forcing the putty in (Spoon end) and then by using the handle end running it along the seam to give a really nice finish.

Its very satisfying to see the finished result, but I fear that my linseed oil putty mix is wrong and perhaps should only be used above the waterline as it takes such a long time to set.
I have recently been in touch with a company called Traditional Boat Supplies whom are going to supply me with Oakum and another product called 'Black Pudding', the beauty of black pudding I think is that it goes very hard on the surface but stays ply able in the seam allowing for the natural movement in the timbers.  There was another boat in the other day doing a few wee jobs and they were using the pudding mix, apparently its mixed with concrete hence the 'black pudding' consistency when mixed properly.  Its allegedly made to some ancient Scottish recipe, probably like our very own Stornoway version!  I look forward to finding out if anyone else uses or has used something similar or their own make in the future.

The positive thing about Traditional Boat Supplies is that they are very approachable and will explain their products if you drop them a line, they also have a lot of products and experience of wooden vessels to match.  That and carriage to Argyll is not unrealistic.

As you can see from the photo's things are moving on, I still have a couple of acquisitions to make, namely the legs and also the 3' uptake pipe for the pump before I finally get her shifted.  It also appears that the boat I was planning to use is out the water for its winter refit but I dare say that I could get someone else to shift it.  I reckon by the next set of spring tides she will be moved to her new home on the other side of the bay.

Port Side