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, 9 October 2017

Building a galley box for dinghy cruising......the saga nears an end.

There is something special about constructing something with your own hands from scratch. It doesn't matter whether it turns out perfect or flawed. It is the contemplation, the peace and quiet, the moments of reflection. The rasp of a surform on wood, the smell of wood shavings during planing. The gentle sanding, and bending down to eye the lines. The smell of wood glues, the rhythmic movement of brushes during the spreading of glue on wood. It is the 'internal' visualisation of a product, from simple sketch and plan on paper to a 3 dimensional reality.

For me, it never turns out right but I am OK with that. No shelf is ever level in our house; no picture frame ever  aligns with it's neighbour. I do try hard at what I do but lets face it, I'm the D+ kid - 'tries really, really hard, has plenty of enthusiasm, but execution lacks finesse or skill'. My parents have kept many school reports of mine which say something akin to that.........I turned out to be a late developer. I'm rather hoping that will be the same with my woodworking skills. Maybe I should go and take a woodworking class or two to help make that happen.

If I was truthfully honest, there was no need for a galley box. I have always made do with a large plastic box in a waterproof roll down bag. But I needed something to focus on, to help me overcome the transition from full time working in the thick of it in school to the more sedate life of retirement, especially since her indoors delayed her retirement date by several weeks after mine.  Hence the work bench and galley box projects. There is only so much gardening, long walks, bike riding and housework a man can do to keep himself occupied!!

Previous posts gave details of the start and development of the galley box project. Here we near the end of phase one - the construction. The galley box will occupy a small space forward of the port side thwart, between the centreboard case and the curved hull side. It will hold cooking stove and pans, utensils and crockery, food supplies and cleaning materials. Enough for a three day trip. It can be carried in the car boot as well for picnics on day trips. I think my American friends would call it a 'chuck box'.

Here the lid is fitted. Nothing has been trimmed to size yet or sanded. No glue has been cleared up.
The finished box will have side handles; the front panels held in by brass turnbuttons.

The stove will be kept assembled during sailing. Spare pans and kettle will slip in the space below along with bowl, collapsible mug and utensils. 

The cooking area has been lined, rightly or wrongly with aluminium sheet held by a contact adhesive which was recommended by some FaceBook friends. My Dad will be pleased to know that as a kid I did listen to him......and he swears by this glue - will stick anything to anything ...............apparently................according to Dad! Little wooden sections stop the trangia base from sliding about and there is 3cm ventilation gap all around between stove windshield and galley box walls. 

On the left the top section is a lift out tray. The four holes will have 'rope' through them to act as a lift out handle. The middle box is fixed; the bottom box more of  an elongated hole in which will be tea towel, sponges, rubbish bags, washing up liquid. 

The inside of the lid will have thin heat proof matting laid in the interior so I can place hot pans on it instead of Arwen's thwarts ( didn't hear me confess to that!) 

So next steps?
Lots of gentle sanding and glue excess blob removal. Most of it got cleaned up as I went along. But, as you know, some still seems to escape and gets missed. 
Wood filler in one or two gaps, where gaps shouldn't exist, but somehow seem to!
Then painting - three coats of aluminium flake paint, three of Pre-Kote and three of Toplac burgundy, the same colour as Arwen's top strip. The top of the lid may have a dragon painted onto it or a chess board outline. Can't quite decide which, or maybe even nothing and just left plain. The lid will be fastened using straps which will go all around the box. There will be two runners on the base to lift it slightly above the cockpit floor and out of any spray water or rain that has collected inside. 

If you are interested in the construction steps, the base was cut first and then the back and two sides. The internal wall running from back to front was then cut and along with the five vertical support pillars, all this was glued up first. Afterwards, the cooking area back wall and the cooking area base shelf and also the base shelf for the middle left hand side compartment were cut and installed. Then the two front doors were cut, tested and trimmed to fit. Finally, the box unit and lid were made. 

Costs so far?
Most of the wood I had but I needed a little more so around £9 for the ply; about £10 for the two types of glue I used. Roughly £12 for the two thin aluminium sheets and around £4 for the heat proof matting. Paint I already had plenty of that! All up I guess it is around the £35 mark or so. 

Has it been worth that expenditure in terms of cost effectiveness - nope! Has it been worth it in terms of keeping me busy, exercising my brain and just giving me some simple creative fun, absolutely!!

I'll post pictures of finished product after the sanding and painting - in a couple of weeks time. 


David Bell said...

Hi Steve,
I think it looks great... Certainly better than anything I've ever made. For the price and the experience, I'm sure it was worth it, and if you ever have to make one again, now you know how.

steve said...

Thanks David. Once I'd filled the odd gap and sanded it - it looked better. Paint hides all sins!!

Vadio da XT said...

Nice idea.
Thank you for sharing

steve said...

you are welcome - thanks for your kind comment

Chris & Bob Puzey said...

Looking good Steve. Can't wait to see the finished article! It's all the more satisfying when you have created it yourself.

Bob said...

This is most encouraging for someone who is very interested in dinghy cruising,What is the heatproof matting and what are the approximate overall dimenssions?

Thank you
Robert Vincent

Bob said...

The stove looks great.

steve said...

Fantastic little stove Bob - trangia - small version - nearly forty years old - love it

Bob said...

What is the heat proof matting material?

steve said...

some thin aluminium sheeting I had knocking around