Clamping and gluing the hatch frames for our B&B Yacht Designs Lapwing 16.Well, the paint’s arrived, but I’ve still not started painting…

I am making good progress though. I’ve put together five self-draining hatch assemblies, although they are yet to be sanded and epoxy coated. Two hatches will be fitted to the longitudinal seats on each side the boat, and the other will be fitted into the stern seat.

These assemblies have a channel running each side of the hatch opening, providing both something for the hatch lid to seal against and also drain water off the seat tops.

Once the boat is the right way up again I will install these, before fitting the seat tops.

A brass rubbing strap has been fitted to the keel and stem. This will have to be removed again before painting, but I felt that  bending this to the right profile might accidentally scratch the paint, so I took the precaution of doing it first. Before I put the strip back on I’ll drip a bit of epoxy into each screw hole, to seal the timber.

Next up was cutting my two six-metre Oregon planks into strips. I have a couple of roller stands, and I used those and a bunch of small rollers on a sheet of chipboard to give me something that I helped me to easily move the planks over the saw bench.

Even with dust extraction fitted to the saw bench, it’s amazing how much dust finished up all around the garage and back yard. A couple of finger boards helped to keep the plank hard up against the fence.

Once the Oregon had been cut into 16 x 32mm strips, I then had to work out how to taper each stave over about 3.5 metres.  I eventually settled on using one of the remaining pieces of timber as an extended length sawbench fence, and taping spacers at intervals along each strake. The spacers were of diminishing widths, so that the maximum required depth could be removed at the top of the strake, slowly reducing down to not cutting anything off at around the 3.5 metre mark. The strakes were then run through the sawbench, with the spacers against the fence, so that the excess timber was removed from the opposite edge of each strake.

Then, it was just a matter of running all sixteen strakes through the jig I described last month, cutting the birdsmouth profile from one edge of each strake.

Cutting and finessing the strakes took the better part of a weekend, but I think that it wouldn’t take quite that long next time.

I cut some 75mm semicircles into some scraps of ply, and clamped these into a number of work benches, using a stringline to adjust the height of each support for the taper. This let me hold several strakes in roughly the correct curvature, and with only a little bit of difficulty I was able to lock all eight pieces together. The masts are now held together with tape, awaiting enough time to devote to gluing the pieces together.

Working through the process of making a birdsmouth mast has been challenging, and very satisfying. It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I built my first boat, and now, I’m almost there…