Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".






Monday, 24 September 2012

Wooden blocks on small dinghies?


I have been thinking of making some nice wooden blocks for Arwen over the summer along with a new pair of 9’ 6” oars.  Now the garage has been cleared of scooter debris there is no excuse.
This is elegant craftsmanship and I am sorry I don't know who to attribute the copyright to
I do rather fancy having smaller versions of these on Arwen
 
I’ve been researching about block making on the internet. Joel on his navigator blog has a lovely blog entry detailing how he makes them. His have lovely brass straps. And I have to admit, I like the way he has gone about it. Although we have never met, I have a huge amount of respect and regard for Joel. He is a thoughtful craftsman and sailor and these qualities permeate through his blog, his workmanship on ‘Ellie’ his navigator and in his comments to people queries. A courteous, good humoured gentleman craftsman is Joel. He’s probably chuckling reading this and thinking ‘if only he knew me better!’
Go here to find Joel's blocks and guide on how to make them: http://navigatorjoel.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/download-my-how-to-guide-to-make-lovely_04.html

On the other hand, getting back to blocks, I am attracted to the type of block that comes with a rope strop. Be under no illusion, I know these will take far more work and craftsmanship than I possess but this is how we grow isn’t it. As humans, we frequently bite off more than we can chew; we make mistakes and then if we have any sense we learn rapidly from them! I’ve never played with bitumen twine before but it does sound rather fun doesn’t it!
being of a somewhat dim persuasion, I've lost my copyright credits list and so can't remember where I got these from. I think it was either Nick on the Woodenboat forum or from Duckworks
If they are yours please drop me a comment so I can thank you and attribute them to you...or of course remove them if need be.
 

So, I’m thinking ash blocks, brass pins, tufnol sheaves with rope strops which have been properly bound.  3” in size, I’d need around 3 or 4. I’d need to replace the two side deck blocks with wooden ones that had Joel’s brass straps because they will have to stand on end within springs to sit proud of the deck.  The mainsheet block on the end of the boom will need some thinking through. I have two blocks under the deck mounted to the front thwart around the mast where various halyards come down from the mast and through the deck and then run aft to the rear of the centre case.
I think they call this binding 'racking'?
 
Of course there are then the blocks on the centreboard up haul – a triple and a double.
Um – so that would be about 10 – 12 blocks.  Now I have a band saw and a router so that should help. There are various rasping files. I have some measurements of sorts. There is quite a bit of advice on the duckwork's site and on the woodenboat forum……..so now it’s a matter of thinking it through more carefully over some cuppas; pricing it out; going to ‘she wot must be obeyed at all times’ (or ‘her in-doors’ as she is affectionately known by me and number one son) to get the cash…….and then running away fast as she explains in no uncertain terms that if I want to retire at 58 from teaching and have a skiing holiday at Christmas, Arwen can’t have new shiny blocks!
 
If I really planned it out carefully (that would be a first I hear my son, daughter, wife and father all mutter at the same time) I could set up an assembly line production
 
I’ll keep you all posted! Watch this space…a significant war of attrition is about to take place in Arwen’s household…..I wonder who will blink first!
Oooh! another thought, the smell of boiled linseed oil wafting up from the garage through the floorboards of the sitting room.......oooooh! that does sound nice (well to me anyway!)
 
 
I really am genuinely sorry to have misplaced my copyright acknowledgement notes
Please will people be patient and forgive this temporary lapse
 
 
Steve

5 comments:

Joel Bergen said...

Hi Steve,
I was really enjoying your latest blog post, then got to the part about me and started chuckling and thinking 'if only he knew me better', and then read the last sentence and laughed out loud. I had to show my Wife because she was wondering I was laughing about! Thank you so very much. You're too kind my friend!

I think wooden blocks are one of the most enjoyable things to make. They're so lovely and interesting and a great way to exercise your creativity. They're a great opportunity to learn some new skills, be it metalworking, ropework, carving and more. They're a great way to use up leftover or discarded scraps of wood and a great winter project that can be worked on largely indoors. They attract a lot of attention here around Port Townsend. And hey, if they don't work out, just hang them on your wall in your nautical-themed office or library!
-Joel

Brandon Ford said...

Hi Steve,

There's an action shot of one of my rope-stropped blocks here:
http://valgerda.blogspot.com/2011/04/sailing-at-last.html

I love the way they look and they are quite, something no one seems to mention.

Brandon

steve said...

Brandon - Ravn is a stunning Faering. That is such lovely craftsmanship. Are you happy that I show one of your blocks above and if you tell me which picture it is I will acknowledge it and put the website link underneath.
I LOVE your boat!!

Steve

steve said...

Watcha Joel. How you doin?

yep, re-reading your blog on making blocks has definitely started to nudge me. No more excuses - the garage has been reclaimed.

As for a nautically themed office or library.....I wish! Working at the kitchen table as I do in the evenings, I can't see 'her in-doors' being enamoured with sailing blocks hanging from the cupboards. Pity I quite like the idea!!

Steve

steve said...

Watcha Joel. How you doin?

yep, re-reading your blog on making blocks has definitely started to nudge me. No more excuses - the garage has been reclaimed.

As for a nautically themed office or library.....I wish! Working at the kitchen table as I do in the evenings, I can't see 'her in-doors' being enamoured with sailing blocks hanging from the cupboards. Pity I quite like the idea!!

Steve