Building a Northumbrian Coble in Clinker Ply

Finishing Touches.

With the interior oiled the time to paint the hull had come. For (hopefully) the last time I rolled the boat over. Before I could paint I needed to properly attach the keel and do a final sand of everything. I decided to bed the keel in "mahogany" (purple) sikaflex since I was told it's not as sticky as the black stuff. With the keel all finished I sanded the whole hull, found a lot more imperfections and filled the worst of them (these being screw holes and such). Finally I was ready to put on the primer. Having a solid colour really brought out the shape of the hull. From a distance it looked like an faux-lapstrake fiberglass dinghy.

The finish coats were ever more exciting than the primer and really helped with the "finished" look. I'm pleased with the level of gloss - it is enough to look nice, clean and fresh without looking like an awlgrip ad. I'm also happy with the colours! The paint definitely does show up any imperfection of the surface, but that doesn't bother me. I ended up needing 2 coats of each red and green, but I think a third coat of red might have benefited since in certain lights it does not look entirely even.

Now that the outside was totally finished I flipped the boat over yet again and kept working on various fiddly little bits. I properly screwed down all the thwarts and plugged a bunch of the screws. I left the screws in the side-benches and stern sheets unplugged because there was really not enough wood to hold the plug. This also makes it easier to remove the thwarts for refinishing or anything. I bedded them all in sikaflex to keep the water out and thus help prevent rot. Somehow despite predrilling all the holes I managed to put the thwarts in slightly off parallel. Not sure how that happened,but at least everything is nice and solid. I screwed on the gudgeons, bolted on the pintles, screwed on several cleats for the kabes and the jibsheets, and bolted on the bowsprit (and then temporarily removed it because it was really in the way!).

I wanted to leather the mast partners (and the jaws) but had no idea what I could get leather. Turns out there is a place called Leatherworld in downtown Victoria that has pretty much everything to do with leather, including a bin of scraps. For $7.50 I got more enough. I made paper patterns first and then bedded the leather in black roofing goo (rubberized sealant that comes in a big tin) and tacked it down with copper tacks. Since the tacks were too long I snipped them off with wirecutters and was surprised to find that they still went in just fine even though they were no longer pointy. I did the same thing to the jaws on the gaff and the boom. Paper patterns were very helpful there since there were some odd shapes, especially on the gaff jaws. When tacking them down I was sure to start at the "inside" and work towards an open end. If you start at the ends and work in then you could end up with poorly fitting bit of leather.

I decided to make some fancy gaff jaws since the gaff is so high peaked. I ended up making them so that they'd be nearly perpendicular to the mast when the gaff was hoisted but next time I'd do it more like halfway between this and just straight, since when the gaff is lowered the jaws are pretty much not doing anything. The boom jaws came out wonderfully. I made a pattern in Autocad and then printed it out and glued it to some cereal-box.

I made my sails using tanbark coloured dacron from Duckworks. I used a CAD program called SailCut to design the sails. SailCut lets you change all kinds of parameters about your sails and then print out the shape of each panel. I used the panel dimensions to cut out the real things and then sewed it all together. The secret to success is using double sided tape in the seams. Without this the job would take very much longer and would require rather more skill to pull off well. For the tack and clew in the main and the clew in the jib I sewed bronze rings in with strips of webbing. This way of attaching the sail looks to be incredibly strong, fairly simple to do, and pretty decent looking. The hardest part of the sailmaking was trying to maneuver so much very stiff cloth though a little sewing machine. This got even worse when sewing tabling because you need to rotate the entire sail through quite a range of angles. I didn't even try sewing the reinforcing patches for the reef points with the machine because not only would I have to do a full rotation of the sail, they're also right in the middle of the thing. This brings me to hand-sewing sails which is very teadious. I quickly developed an intense appreciation of sewing machines.

go back Next!