Saturday, 17 March 2018

Shamrock Repairs March Update

The discovery that the forward section of the starboard beamshelf had been renewed in the past with an undersized section, was only loosely bolted to the frames and not attached to the Breasthook*. This has resulted in it being removed and a new section is being cut ready for fitting. It has also been found that there is no evidence of the starboard side beam ends ever being secured to the beamshelf. To correct this, the beams are now being through bolted onto the new beamshelf as it is fitted. More areas of rot have been discovered in some of the main beams, one of them being a section of beam behind the main mast tabernacle. This beam also supports the forward end of the cargo hatch combing and will need more investigation. Most of Shamrock's starboard side deck planks have been removed with the chain locker seeing the light of day for the first time since her restoration. With the amount of water ingress found between the deck planks and beams it has been decided to remove all the deck planking to allow all the beams to be checked, repaired or renewed as necessary and allowed to dry out before fitting new deck planks. Shamrock's windlass and deck winch have been unbolted and moved to the side ready to be removed to the boat shed once space is available. One bit of good news is that to date only one small section of rot has been found in the ceiling planks. Most of Shamrock's starboard side frame repairs have been completed and her lines are looking pleasing to the eye.

*BREASTHOOK A grown timber crook or wrought-iron knee used either as a tie to bind the Stempost, Beamshelf, Hawse or frame tim­bers of the bow together.

Breasthook port side.
Breasthook starboard side, no bolts.
Beam rot behind main tabernacle.
Rotten ceiling plank. 
Missing deck.
New short beam.
Repaired frames.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Chainsaw Mill

With repairs to Shamrock's frames and knees continuing, time has been taken to split a 13.3cm (5.25in) thick and about 7.6m (25ft) long plank of larch into two planks. To complete the cut a rather lethal looking chain saw mill was used, even this required three persons to use it, one to operate the chainsaw, one to push the mill along the plank and one to keep driving in wedges along the cut to prevent the chainsaw becoming stuck between the two sections of plank. The larger 8.2cm (3.25in) plank is to be used as the last section of beamshelf and has been marked out ready for shaping. Away from Shamrock the first of the two new quay ladders has been bolted into place and Nancy Belle's deck boards are receiving a fresh coat of paint ready for the river trips in the forthcoming season. On an eco-friendly note, the wood used for the ladders has been sourced from two larch trees which came from the Cotehele estate.

Chainsaw mill.
Starting the cut.
A long way to go.
New ladder.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Oak Lodging Knees

Shamrock has ten deck beams with oak ‘lodging knees’ mounted horizontally between beam and Shamrock's side providing horizontal stiffness and ‘hanging knees’ to provide vertical stiffness as well as preventing her sides sagging. With the two new after sections of beamshelf bolted into place there was relief all round when with the fitting of the first three ‘hanging knees’ it was found that Shamrock had kept her shape. With her side now held firmly in place the remaining ‘hanging knee’ has been removed along with the last section of the beamshelf that is due for replacement. The removal of this part of the beamshelf exposed substantial amounts of rot in various sections of beams and frames. Also revealed was damage to a lodging knee that has split on the line of a through bolt hole. (Yet another job of repair or renewal). Rot had already been discovered in the ‘lodging knee’ attached to the cargo hold ‘after’ coaming support beam, and has been repaired with a new section of oak scarfed into place. In preparation for the final stages of repair, a large nail punch has been manufactured ready to be used when the hull planks are fitted.

Hanging knees and beamshelf in place.
Rotton lodging knee.
Exposed beam.
Broken knee.
More rot.
Repaired lodging knee.
Shugs mass production of lodging knees.
Checking for size.
More shaping required
Homemade nail punch.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Missing Deck Planks

With the quay starting to look like a paddy field, work is still continuing on Shamrock with the fitting of the after two sections of the beamshelf. A third beamshelf section still needs to be manufactured once the last remains of the existing section are removed. Six of the seven hanging knees have been moved to the boat shed for cleaning and painting with the seventh to follow once it has been removed. To enable the refitting of these knees the starboard side deck planks, up to the side of the cargo hatch coaming, have been removed to expose the half beams to which the top of the knees are through bolted. Some of the beams have started to rot due to the ingress of water through the deck plank seams and will need to be replaced or repaired. With the removal of the deck planks the amount of old caulking to be removed has been greatly reduced, much to the relief of the crew. The after cabin, soon to be the engine room, has had its two bunks removed in preparation for the fitting of the propeller shaft, engine and subsidiary equipment.

Missing deck planks.
Two new sections of beamshelf bolted in place.
This section is still to be removed, note the mycelium around the scarf.
Hanging knees.
Beam rot exposed after removal of hanging knees.
Remains of Shamrock's after bunks.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Lots Of Coach Bolts

Repairs to the last of the top sections of the starboard side frames of Shamrock are nearing completion, so, the next job will be the ‘coach bolting’ of the beamshelf onto the frames. Coach bolts which were left over from Shamrock's restoration are to be used, however, the screw threads of the bolts needed to be lengthened by about 5cm (2in), not so easy. Luckily an old thread cutter, (that’s a tool not a person), has been pressed back into service making the job a bit easier and the sixty bolts required have been completed. Visitors to Cotehele Quay will have noticed that Shamrock's temporary cover now has had a large number of reinforced venting holes cut in the top and bottom of the sides. This is to allow her to dry out as originally the cover suffered from a severe condensation problem on the inside. As the old and new sections of frames need to dry out as much as possible before being sealed in by the new hull planks, the actual fitting of these planks will be one of the last jobs. In the meantime the drying out will enable the re-caulking of the deck to press ahead.

Last of the frame repairs.
Thread cutter.
Modified coach bolts.
Shamrock's vented cover.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

January Floods

With the first week in January bringing a combination of heavy rain, low pressure, gales and spring tides Cotehele Quay has seen the river flood the quay more than once in the week giving Shamrock's boat shed the appearance of being surrounded by a moat. Access to the boat shed required wellingtons or waders but at least it remained dry.

Shaune waiting for the tide to drop.
View from the road.
Who needs a launching trolly
View from the rear of the boat shed.
River bank breach.
Grey wagtail checking the detritus.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Frame Repairs Progressing

Shamrock's frame repairs are progressing with a couple of frames only requiring a final fettling and preserving before the new beamshelf and hull planks can be fitted. While this is progressing the crew has made a start on renewing the main deck caulking with the removal of some of the existing caulking.

New frame section scarfed and bolted.
Shugs (Adrian) working on the next frame.
Shamrock's front door.
Main deck access point.