Like so many before me, I'm a novice to wood working & boat building yet have jumped in & purchased a 14' traditionally-built clinker rowing dinghy to take the lines off (Stage 1) and restore to a sound condition (Stage 2). I've joined theforum to share a bit of that journey & also to tap into the wealth of experience in the WB community, so I can make as good a job as possible of restoring the old girl. I would value any comments on the below, particularly repairing the keel & taking the lines off.
Re the latter, I am referencing both Eric Dow's method (WB 210) and David Littleton-Taylor's (WB 19). I also have a digi copy of the mighty Boats – A Manual for their Documentation (thanks toWB for the free dnload!) and I will be referring to it.
The dinghy's age is unknown but her builders were apparently Fred and OccMatson, (the Matson Bros.), 3rd generation traditional boat builders of Yowie Bay, Port Hacking, Australia. Their grandfather was a Dane, jumped ship in Sydney and ended up making his livelihood building boats and hiring them to day-tripping city folk at the Audley 'Pleasure Grounds', in the Royal National Park (Australia's oldest Nat. Park).
I don't see too many old, traditionally built row boats around Port Hacking so given that and her local pedigree, I view taking her lines as a bit of a necessity. David Payne over at the Australian National Maritime Museum has offered to provide some critical feedback on the results of that process. Ideally one day there will be a setof plans available for what I believe is, a locally important boat.
My mate and I built a strongback and the boat finally came inside our fully enclosed garage about 3 weeks back. She has been initially inverted for taking her lines and is supported along her keelson by 7 props, 6 being 3”x3”, which are bearing her entire weight. While almost all of the frames are absent due to rot / wastage, her 4 stringers are nearly entirely intact and fastened, her planking overall is in good condition and fastened. Her 4 thwarts are still in place, giving something to hold her shape while inverted. The boat has collided stem-on at some stage with something pretty solid, as there is a 'ding' in the stem / forefoot (which is one piece of timber). The previous owner did mount an outboard on her, size unknown, for his boys to blat around in. Might explain the ding...
My main concern with her was always the keel as the bottom from the waterline down had been glassed. The keelson and fastenings (from inside the boat) appear to be in good condition. I've removed the 'glass off her keel, skeg and most of the garboard planks. Her keel is in 2 separate longitudinal sections, separated by a ~5mm (0.197”) gap (see photo). The gap is below the f'wd end of the skeg; which I'm thinking, along with the lack of frames in the corresponding area, would explain the ~8mm (0.315”)hog in the same area (see photo).
There is some worm damage to the keel - see photos. Photo where the awl is kinda horizontal has the awl penetrating ~17mm (0.669”) into the keel. Other shot where the awl handle is close to the camera, the tip penetrates ~22mm (0.866”) straight down into the keel. Is there a modern day wonder-goo that can fill and seal such worm holes? I'm hoping the volume of worm damage has not compromised the strength of the keel significantly...
Re.taking lines, I'm thinking that I need take the hog out of the keel by way of a prop and fox wedges under the apex of the hog. Then make her level longitudinally and laterally and start taking the lines.
Re. repair of the keel gap, my initial thinking is that maybe a new section could be scarfed in such that the three pieces +/- lock together. Not an attractive prospect but I hope to achieve a strong, lasting finish...
I'd love to hear from forum folk more experienced in these matters than I, and look forward to posting updates as this project, which I am very passionate about, progresses.
Photos! They are on Flickr. I hope you can view them, either by searching for "Matson Bros. Dinghy Restoration by Bryce" or try this url: http://www.flickr.com/photos/3187247...7631048519572/
Hope either option works, as the "Manage Attachments" part of posting a new thread has me a bit stumped. Any tips on using such tools appreciated.