Kevin Clinton's Blog
25th May 2012
29th February 2012
A lot has happened on the barge since my last blog. Jim, Robin and myself have been trunnling the planks . The word trunnel, came from “Tree Nail”. This is a very traditional method of fastening planks together. A hole has to be drilled through the plank then a wooden dowel is hammered through the hole and levelled off. It will be a very strong fit as the softer wood will swell into the hole when it is wet.
There has also been a lot of progress made on the side planks. They had to make patterns from ply wood, which were fitted. Once they are sure they have a good fit, they use this as a template for the proper planks made from oak. The oak planks have to be seamed for several hours to be pliable enough to mould into the curve of the boat. They have had some special steaming bags made which fit around the planks to do this.
Once the plank is steamed into place, they plank is held with clamps.Most of the knave timbers have also been fitted to the sides of the barge. They support the structure of the barge. The knave timbers have been drying out in the work shop after they were sawn. This is to allow them to shrink before fitting. The knave timbers have a natural bend in them, so just need to be shaped and fitted. This means the structure will hold its shape and strength.
15th November 2011
There has been much progress on the lighter, Brian and Mick have managed to fit 8 planks since my last blog. They have been working on the planks for the stem and bow. As these planks have the most shape, they have to be steamed into place. This requires a lot of skill to get it right.
They expect the bottom planking to be finished within two weeks. The next stage is to fit the floors, which Rob has been working on. When this is complete they will start work on the sides of the Lighter.
My name is Liam, and I will be taking on the role of the designated apprentice working and giving updates on the Stour lighter. Kevin has found a new job in the marine industry so, congratulations Kevin!
The Stour lighter has made great progress over the last few months. The remains of the old hull were carefully removed and inspected to see what techniques and materials were originally used. This gave the Shipwrights more information about how they were going to fix planks together.
The first stage was to rebuild the keel. The wood used to do this was sources and sawn at St Osyth boat yard, by Andy Harman. Once we had the wood back at Harker’s Yard, Brian and Mick set to work, shaping the wood. After they had put the keel in, the stem and stern posts were added. The wood for the hull started to be straitened and bevelled and fitted individually by Brian and Mick. The imperfections, such as the knots in the wood were routed out and replaced with pieces of oak cut to shape. Then the oak was treated with a coat of tar.
The shape of the lighter is starting to form as they are working on the planking. The patterns for the short end planks which have to be steamed into place have all been made. These planks will be cut out over the next few weeks.
Since my last blog, I have been learning joinery techniques. We have been given a variety of projects to enhance our skills in preparation for work on the Stour barge.
Our first project in the joinery workshop was to learn basic planing, this improved our skills with the smoothing plane. We also learnt how to correctly and safely set up and sharpen our planes. We had to plane a sawn piece of timber square.
Project 2 was to chisel some housing in a piece of iroko to enhance our chisels skills and also show us how to sharpen all our chisels.
Project 3 was to make bench hook, with only the use of hand tools. We had to square the timber and join the wood using a tongue joint.
Project 4 was to make a mallet with a tapered hole and handle. We drilled a hole with a brace and bit. Then tidied the hole with our chisels. The head of the mallet was shaped and then fitted to the handle. It was finished off by soaking the mallet in linseed oil to preserve it.
Project 5 was to make an oilstone box. We had to make a countersunk hole in with a witches tooth. To give to box a nice look we planed a diamond on the lid and scraped a bead around the box. We finished the box with a several coats of varnish to give it a protective layer.
Project 6 was to make a dimension frame using a tee halving joint a cross halving joint and a mortise and tennon joint, again with the use of a chisel.
Project 7 was to make a scarf joint with a step. The wood had to be planed and sawn to fit square and flush. This is what you would need to do to make a piece of timber longer if you needed to.
I feel much more confident about my wood working skills after the joinery course. The skills that I have learnt will benefit me for work on the Stour Barge.
My name is Kevin Clinton I am 20 years old, when left school I went straight on to do a college course in welding a fabrication. I attended Colchester Institute for 3 years where I gained qualifications in MIG, TIG, fabrication and also a qualification in PEO 2 (performing engineering operation). During my time at Colchester Institute I worked for a cleaning company were I did port maintenance at Harwich international port, once I finished at the institute I stayed working at the port but went on to work full time as well as start a new job as a delivery driver. After working for the delivery company for 6 months I found a new job on Harwich international as a baggage handler which I did casually for two years in the summer, soon after that I started at Pizza Hut full time until I started my apprenticeship.
I was very fortunate to be offered an apprenticeship position at The Pioneer Sailing Trust. I was very excited to start work, as it would enhance my previously learnt hand skills, and would also teach me to develop new ones. The Pioneer Trust had many unique and interesting projects and since being there I have worked on a variety of different jobs, from stripping paint work and antifouling to replacing a deck on a hydrofoil.
The Stour Barge is the biggest and most exciting project, as it is not only a unique boat, but also very important to our heritage. I feel proud of the fact I have been involved from the start, and am looking forward to seeing the barge evolve and develop.
We visited the site to see the best way we could extract the barge from the water. We needed to clear around the barge, where there was lots of weeds trapping it in. Once this was done, the next stage was to carefully crane the barge out. It had to be really well supported, so it did not break apart, which was quite a tense moment! We managed to do this successfully, preserving the structure. We spent about two weeks cleaning all the weeds and mud out, as well as smashing out the concrete. After this process, we could then move it into the safety of the work shop. Once inside, the patterns can be taken and the hard work can begin...