Saturday, 19 July 2008

Licenced to thrill 001 Paper Jet

The boats designer Dudley Dix strutting his stuff,he still surfs too!

This is the first Paper Jet we cut,also the first to be complete and on the water,with us having cut to 005 this far I wonder who will end up as 007,they are all Special Agents! picture are by

Friday, 18 July 2008

Todays Currency Rates

Forex Rates

All exchange rates are updated regularly. However, the rates that you receive in a FNB Branch may differ to these rates due to changing market conditions and the amount of your transaction. Please contact your nearest FNB branch if you wish to buy or sell foreign currency.

For your convenience, our Forex Calculator is available online.

Please note
Bank charges and commissions have been excluded

You can receive these rates by subscribing. These rates will be emailed to you at 09h00 and at 16h00 on valid business days.

The following European monetary area currencies have been incorporated into the Euro currency:


Public Exchange Rates against the rand for amounts up to R50 000.

Published at 2008/07/18 09:31:00 AM

Rand per foreign currency unit

Description Code Bank Selling rate Bank buying TT Bank buying TC's Bank buying notes
EURO CURRENCY EUR 12.2430 11.7690 11.7392 11.7570
BRITISH STERLING GBP 15.3940 14.7976 14.7491 14.7825
US DOLLARS USD 7.6902 7.4602 7.4042 7.45

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Miss Pickles, a George Buhler design in wood

Both of the above building pictures are of a larger 'sister ship' not our build but the sequence of construction was very much the same as ours.

This boat was constructed with local Radiata Pine,it was selected,then twice CCA treated with a rot free copper solution,its water based,so we then end up with kiln dried wood that is wet right through,we Pin Stacked and air dried it over our christmas recess period,all frames,keel,stem timbers and the hull planking were done with this type of pine with no bothers worth talking about.

The boats designer,George Buhler comments

Here's a wood 38 being launched in Africa. She needs the "Little Toot" windows in my opinion...... She was built by Roy Mcbride in South Africa. His company is CKD Boats. They thinking about offering kits of these boats. For more info email him at

This was my build in a very traditionl manner,more on why we took the job on later!
The customer arrived in Cape Town from Zambia,he asked around who would or could build him a wooden boat,he was directed by one of the TBA (traditional boat association)members to speak to myself.A deal was struck and the build started in the premises I was in at the time,this was a starter to much larger things to come.

We made the frames,keel,stem and rudder then re located to an empty metal shed in Cape Town Harbour,when I say empty I mean it,no office,toilets,running water or even lights existed,we had to run temporary cables in to get a supply of 220voly AC power,the local yacht club was our stop for toilets.

Building such a vessel is an eye opener,many came into see it,some even said they were trained Shipwrights but had still never seen such a traditional boat built before,as all they ever get to do is repairs to older existing boats.

Pine is a specialist wood?

SABS Visual grade five approoved

Hout Bay Yacht Club: sailing, training, mooring

Click on the above to enter the HBYC club marina picture and web site!

The marinas in Cape Town all used to use either Balau or in some cases Keruin or Karri wood,the first two are imports,the Karri is localy grown but of course is also an import of sorts as it came from places like Austrailia,planted here and grew like it was back at home.The density of all three timbers will be similar,I would expect it weighs around 650kgs per cubic meter?

Another 'Import'is South Africas pine,the species name is 'Radiata Pine' and is more normally found down in New Zealand,I was told that when the New Zealand government got involved with supplying SA with their pine,they also sent trained plantation foresters to assist with our local program.It is used widely in the building trade for roof trusses,purlins and facias but I also once recomended it as CCA treated for the marina in False Bay,we now use it here at the HBYC.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

More specialist wood species: Spanish Mahogany

When I was about to fly back to Tinidad to secure a container load of Spanish Cedar (mexicana roem)I happened to mention my intened trip to the late David Ticktin,his dad had founded Ticktin Timbers years before and as a specialist timber merchant they were then the best.David took out his copy of World Woods,opened it at a page showing Mahogany,then made a photocopy for me,he asked me to keep a look out for genuine Spanish Mahogany.

The trip to inspect the Cedar was a disaster,of some 36 cubes available to load,near half was unaceptable and I had to return back to Cape Town,then fly back later when they said they had their ducks in a better looking row,even then I struggled to load a full container. I did however make some progress into the mahogany issue,I spoke to the very helpfull department of forestry in Trinidad,I was told that you have to inspect each tree as it stands,then mark it so it can be identified later,as once a mahogany tree is felled and the leaves fall off,its impossible to identify the trees actual species,which is where its full value is to be found.One reason not understood why this specific mahogany is so sought after,is its ability to stay flat on a wide surface,such as a table or counter top.Planks over 2 feet wide (610mm) would stay flat,so a single sawn plank could often make up a top,so beware when you are looking for an 'Original Antique',you think you have found one,the vendor says its orginal but the top has more than one joint in it,this may just indicate the piece has been 'restored' at some stage?

Mahogany is the dark, hard, close-grained wood of the Swietenia mahogany tree, which is indigenous to Central America and the West Indies. A heavy, durable wood, close and straight in the grain, with curls in the figure, light red in color when cut, and becoming deeper and richer in hue with exposure, the properties of the wood had been noted by the carpenter on board Sir Walter Raleigh’s ship during the voyage of exploration to South America in 1595.

However, mahogany was not used for furniture in England and the American colonies until the third decade of the 18th Century, though it was known in the late 17th Century as one of the timbers grown in Jamaica. For some time after it came into general use for cabinetmaking and joinery, it was called Jamaica wood because that island was the chief source of supply. Also, Jamaican merchants not only dealt in the indigenous timber, but imported Spanish mahogany from Cuba and Honduras and shipped it to England.

In 1720, the walnut wood famine in France, and the consequent embargo placed by the French authorities on the exportation of timber forced English craftsmen to put greater reliance than formerly on the supply of native trees. The darker Virginian black walnut, which resembles mahogany, was also imported. But, the supply obtained from these sources was insufficient. As a consequence, a number of London makers turned to mahogany.

Mahogany began to supercede walnut in general use in the making of furniture in England during the second quarter of the 18th Century and rapidly gained favor. Mahogany was superior to walnut in several respects: