Saturday, 18 February 2012

Time to sharpen your tools

The subject of how to sharpen your wood work tools is well documented but this blog entry has nothing at to do with how to do them, rather the time to do them?

Post second WW2 and I suspect prior to it as well, the sensible Joiner in search of work would always arrive with his tool box and tools sharp and ready to start work right away.

  All these need sharpening, that includes the scribe pin on the marking gauge. Use the best tools you can find, that  oil stone, the one in the picture is made by Norton,it has coarse and a smooth side, quality shows in many ways, often in the jobs end result.

The start of my own five year apprenticship as a Joiner at Tysons of Dryden Street, Liverpool, in January 1963, saw me meet some nice old timers who not only trained me very well  but also told me some horror stories about post war employment.

It was not unknown to start a job in the morning and find your shown the door at the end of the day, there were many more looking for your job it seems. Wasting time was just not acceptable, many joiners or carpenters would have a spare plane blade in their tool box ready to fit, as if the boss was to see you wasting his time sharpening your tools, you were told to go.

This block plane is stamped
 J. Mullholand, it was made in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I would say its about 110 years old now. A masterpiece in engineering, it works as well today as it ever did.

The right hand blade is off the long wooden jack plane (first picture) it was made in Scotland and a bi-metal plane, the tip has a forged hardened tip, what a great tool to work with. About 80 years old?

Eventually all jobs tend to come to an end, you knew your worth if the forman came to you at 4.30 pm and said, Mate, time to sharpen your tools, the jobs finished.

That half an hour grace between the close of the shop at 5pm,  was the time you had to clean out your tool box, sharpen the tools and be ready to search for another job the next day. In effect the boss was saying thanks for a job well done, by allowing you the time to sharpen up while he was still paying, I think it happened to me once!

How hard was it then?


Note, there is a large difference in the tool box used by an English Joiner/Carpenter over those used in some other countries, South Africa being a perfect example.

In England the tool box can be carried by one person, often on the mans shoulder, while in South Africa, the tool box is in fact a very large chest with a lifting lid and requires at least two to carry it.

Time to sharpen your tools, in this case I have applied a double meaning, it really high lights the then and now changes in employment attitude. I departed the Uk due to the bad weather and trade unions, I did the right thing, the unions too in this case?


Carlos Santana,Black Magic Woman song

Tim Owen picture.Now how can I tie this man and that song to my blog? I will try and tell you how.

A local pub in Hout Bay Harbour has a live band on sundays,they struck up the band yesterday and one of the first tracks they played was Black Magic Woman,my mind went back about 27 years to Simonstown in False Bay.

I had a friend in False Bay,his name was (still is) Jonathan,he had a nice self built Hartley 28 GRP sailing boat but it sailed less well than he wanted,seems it would not go to windward very well? So looking at the design,Jonathan decides to give his boat a deeper keel,he removed the boat from the water and added about 500mm onto the bottom of the full length keel.

Now Jonathan had a different problem,the boat would point better in a light breeze but given any kind of strong wind,it was super tender day we were having an afternoon braai at Jonathans home,it was high above the harbour and False Bay Yacht Club,I asked Jonathan about his keel extension,he told me how he bonded the new extention to the existing keel,I then asked him what he filled the void inside with?

Foam,he told me,so we now knew why the boat was so tender! he had in effect increased the boats displacement with foam,which in effect was attemting to turn his boat over when ever there was a breeze or he tacked? I did some calculations and showed Jonathan he could probably open the void and pack it with 450kgs of some heavy stuff,what he used I have no idea but the boat was a heck of a lot better at sailing after he did this.

Some years later Jonathan had plans,big plans and decides to head north,he eventually arrives in Hawaii,where he sort of swallows the hook for a good while,his yacht De Ja Vue was berthed in a mangrove swamp I think,Jonathan takes on various day jobs,he also starts a rock band,as he plays lead guitar.

The band was a success but Jonathan still takes on day work,one such job was gardening for a complex with rental cottages,he was doing the garden to one cottage and happens to note who the ocupant is,yes,its Carlos Santana himself! Jonathan gets talking to Carlos,mentions he has a band and one number he does is Black Magic Woman,next thing is Carlos Santana is giving Jonathan some guitar lessons!

Note,last I heard Jonathan had returned to his family home in Durban.

February 2nd 2012 and news in today from Jonathan on Hawaii !

Jonathan is now a published author,not the easiest of things to become,anyone can write a book,can you get it published is the question?

Check his book out here

News from Jonathan today:

Wow!! I am very impressed with that almost flawless account of my life in a nut shell! I had no idea you had written that, hats off to you, and thank you very much for sending me that.

I am still here on Kauai, it' a beautiful island and I regard myself as very blessed to be able to live and work here. I am painting houses now for an ambitious young paint company called Quality Painting :) We do wood work as well, and have an excellent cabinet maker who builds high end custom cabinets. I make Adirondack chairs when there are orders, also make electric guitars (my other love ) and generally get in the way ;)

Thank you for all the news re South Africa and your family, please give Jean my regards :)

More on Jonathans book, which just a few days back had already sold 300 copies!

Jon - if you get this note – I am so impressed with your book! I discovered it on Roy’s Blog through his post on you and Carlo Santana. Bought a copy for myself on Kindle and my old Dad has taken to reading it too. What a great story! – all the more interesting as it is true – its exactly my kind of read. I will post something on the HBYC website for it shortly as well.

As a (self-taught) keelboater I can relate so much to what you say – but the people side of it is even more interesting. I happen to know (or know of) many of the SA folk you mention – Dick Manten, Timberhorne, etc.

Best wishes from Hout Bay!



Kindle Price: $4.99 includes free international wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet

A most compelling and gripping read!, February 15, 2012

By Justin Phillips (Cape Town, Western Cape South Africa) - See all my reviewsAmazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: Days of Déjà vu (Kindle Edition)

I chanced upon this book through mention in a friend's blog. I happen to live just a few miles from where Jonathan started this adventure - and even know some of the characters he mentions. I was drawn initially by the fact it was a "local book", and the fact that I love sailing stories. However this book is SO MUCH MORE! Its a (true) tale of adventure, romance, growing up and travel all in one. The writer (Jonathan) comes across in a modest way, in ordinary tale-telling language, almost like a very well written ship's log. It is very comparable with Slocum's book (Sailing alone aroud the world) - set a few decades later. However, at the same time, there is an obviously professional touch to the way it has been arranged, and it makes for a most compelling and uplifting tale. I must confess I am just halfway through it now, but can't put it down! To add interest, I emailed Jonathan a few minutes ago in Hawai (Kauai (sp?) island) - to congratulate him on this book - and he responded immediately. You won't be disappointed with this one. Buy it before the price goes up!

Stuarts Optimist kit build continues

This Optimist has taken a little longer than others to build, its not that Stuart is a slow worker, its the fact he works overseas and can only work on the project when he comes
back home for a holiday.

Cheaper by the dozen, is that twelve G clamps I count there! Very nice too, that really aids the glue process. If you have no clamps an easy method is the cut a U in a piece of
thick ply offcut, then make a wedge from wood and wedge the laminations together.

Hi Roy,

We are soon to depart SA again for a cold England.

I have had good fun with the Optimist and although I have not made as much progress as I would have hoped, it is not looking too bad and I am having second thoughts about painting it, as there are a few sections that look really good when coated with epoxy.

Please see latest photo attached.

Also, just wondering if you could let me know when the mast will be ready.



Stuarts mast kit is wrapped and ready for his collection today. Hand made, the boom and sprit are from one section of wood, the mast has been laminated from two sections as allowed in the Optimist rules.

The wood is clear oregon pine (douglas fir) the glue is phenolic (recorcenol) which we have packed specially for CKD Boats cc, we sell that along the the AR 600 epoxy.
How hard can that be!

Plywood price increase due

Said by at least one boat designer to still be the lowest cost boat building material, marine plywood and other types are due for a sharp price increase soon?

Latest news:

German plywood importers expect for 2012 considerable increases in plywood prices, firstly due to higher cargo rates on imported plywood, secondly due to higher raw material prices. Already in March, different shipping companies announced an almost doubling of cargo rates from Asia to Europe. Consi...

Superform bendable plywood, are in stock now at selected Cape Town board retailers, trade openings available in other areas.

Use your imagination and Superform bening ply to make that special desk.

Made by Seb

We supplied a sheet of our white maple bending veneer to Sebastian this week, the type
with a craft paper backer. The reason is he liked the ability to bend to a really tight radius
it will just about bend around a pencil!

The main feature in the picture is named The Hanging Tree, I would guess Nigel CNC shaped that for Seb?
    The Hanging Tree is a fun coat rack that caters for a family sized pile of clothes, including the children. The tree is shipped flat and requires a rubber mallet,screwdriver & a cup of coffee to construct. Their are 16 hanging points. If you live in Cape Town or surrounds, the tree can be delivered assembled
Sebs home page, is a model maker.

We still have stocks in various species, also in the wood on wood veneer sheets,its thinner at 0.6mm thick, we have teak, maple, mahogany, cherry, walnut and a few other species in stock. The next issue will also have a very thin paper core for extra strength, the paper will be invisible.

R Mc B

Friday, 17 February 2012

The Flicka 20 design in a frame kit.

We are asked many times do we have the Flicka 20 plans, the reply is always the same, no.

What we do have is the frame sections profiles, this also indicates where the slab of lead ballast will fit. From what we have we can supply a set of sections cut from MDF (supawood) for about the cost of R8000, thats around U$588 right now. From the frame kit you can do a really nice strip plank build, we could also supply the clear oregon pine and epoxy required.

That will ship as an 8 x 4 flat pack (2440 x 1220) and we can arrange the shipping at actual cost as well.

Licence agreement?

The buyer has to understand that we are offering the boats shape profiles with no specific plans or licence to build the boat but as the plans were previously published in Rudder Magazine, we feel the plans are now in a free domain.

Please read the words below from the Flicka 20 web site.


Unfortunately the plans have been unavailable for some time. However, Bruce Bingham is interested in making them available and is apparently working on this. We hope to sell these plans online on behalf of Bruce some day.

We will advertise the plans on this site as soon as they become available again.

Web captain - March 2009

Pacific Seacraft own the production rights to the Flicka but have stated that there is no money to be made from building Flickas as production costs are too high. They (PSC) still have the tooling but seem content to let the Flicka class die. So until further notice the Flicka is out of production and no longer available. We at are sad about this and have tried everything we can to raise the Flicka from the dead but unfortunately it is out of our control.

Please do not contact the web captain about this. Instead try phoning Pacific Seacraft and asking them why they are content to kill the Flicka.

"s/v Zanzibar"
Zanzibar at the marina in Traverse City. Located at the southern end of West Bay, Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan,
©  Tom Davison

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Goat Island Skiff

Thats G.I.S for short, one of Mike Storers really successfull designs.

 The owner builder asks an interesting question.

Greetings Roy

I trust that you are well?

I have enclosed a few photos of my GIS build to date.

An interesting question was posed to me the other day.

Is there a market for wooden dinghys or small craft? My personal builds

have always sold very quickly. A good friend ( Cabinetmaker ) is keen to

take on some builds????

Any comments will be appreciated
 Any takers out there, it looks like we can now offer the G.I.S as a fully built up boat from one of our kits.


021 790-3859 ph/fax

Hout Bay
South Africa

John Welsford designs

I have just checked Johns web site for info on his Sweet Pea, I then found his blog and this rather nice boat, its his Walkabout.

The boat was built in Scotland and looks quite at home there too.

We can cut at least the frames to this design, plus supply the rest of the materials and build you the masts and spars.

A couple of years ago I had an email from one Osbert Lancaster who lived on the shores of the Forth of Firth in the South East of Scotland. For many of us here in New Zealand that’s a place of ancestral connection, there are an awful lot of us with Scots forefathers, but its also a place that is much colder than we’re used to.

However, it has very long evenings, long periods of calm weather and an incredible coastline dotted with ancient, and I mean many hundreds of years or in some cases over a thousand years old. Its an area that cries out for exploration by a boat small enough to creep in close to the edges of the water as well as tough enough should the weather blow up. This is the edge of the notorious North Sea after all.

John Welsford  find him here.

The Gulf Tramp by Angelo Lavranos

The Gulf Tramp could easily be the HBOD (hout bay one design) the size is great, it is seven meters long.

That size will tow behind a reasonable sized car and launch off most slips, the HBYC could keep a half dozen in the new boat park (Lotto assistance) and could be launched with a crane arm of some sort off the harbour wall?

 Lower cost dacron sails need to be a part of the one design rules, as all boats will come from the same kit supplier,they really will be the same size and weight. The mast and boom is a simple alloy section, with normal 316 stainless steel standing rigging we have a low cost format to work from.This is really an L26 in a smaller size?

Our next kit set?  The design is one of Angelo Lavranos, we have asked for a materials list and also the plans fee.

Seven meters is around 23.4 feet, the HBYC has that space for assembly right now (just an idea) other similar sized yacht clubs may also see this size of yacht as a sail training club boat.

I would think this yacht can easily sail with out the outboard?


There is space for sleeping and cooking below,this really is a big little boat. Check the use of white paints in the saloon only,this saves time and money, the rest of the interior is epoxy coated, it may have clear twin pack lacquer on it also?


We may also be able to kit set the boats interior, if this is the case you build in the interior before skinning the hull, then when the hull is plated off and turned, your boat is already there inside.

At seven meters long, its a handy size for a single hander or a parent and a child or two.

Simply a nice sized small yacht!


This boat was beautifully built by Kevin Johnson Boat builders in Devonport, Auckland from cold molded epoxy/ply. The boat was to be a shorthanded (therefore stiff, not requiring crew on the rail) boat for cruising around the Hauraki Gulf. She had to be simple, modern and fun to sail. That she is!







Sail Area (100% TRI + Main) 25 Sqm.
Click here to view our Contact and Links pa
ge and get more information on this boat.

We now have the boats pricipal materials list and can cost a kit
when required.

We also wanted to know if this design is stiffer than the older L26, the reply from Angelo is below.

I think the existing keel is stiff enough as it is. It is a 400 kg bulb at the bottom of a steel fin weighing 100 kg. Draft 1.6 meters.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The end of free America ?

Born to live, taxed to death?

Dudley Dix has this on his blog.

Government Gone Berserk

I am not normally one to voice my political opinion, prefering to listen quietly to what others say. Occasionally something gets under my skin and itches me so badly that I must have my say.

We are all hearing constantly about the increasing size and cost of government and everyone says that government must get smaller and less costly, in the interests of the future of the nation. Today I have received an email with a link to a news story in Tennessee that is worthy of the time to read and watch the video.

The State of Tennessee is trying to classify an amateur boatbuilding project as a professional boating business and to tax it accordingly. This is a 14ft one-off wooden skiff that a man built in his garage for his 7-year old son, who likes to fish. The tax that they demand is $539, which is probably near to half of what the boat cost to build.

Is the State of Tennessee so morally and financially bankrupt that it has to rip off its own citizens? We know that government is way too fat and lazy when it has to bend the rules and regulations beyond breaking point to bring in money to pay the salaries of the enforcers.

Murfreesboro TN may be a long way from your neck of the woods but sickness in government has a tendency to spread and other states could catch the virus also, if they see Tennessee getting away with this ludicrous twisting of regulations.

How crazy is that country!


None slip deck painting system

An idea proven over fifteen years,the system works,its none slip and none abrasive either, safe in deck shoes or bare feet as well.

Its best to do a small section at a time,no more than three panels around this size. You can not do a continuous panel, there must be line brakes.

The system starts with prime coat of International Paints Intergard primer, then a bond coat of their Interthane 990 top coat . The special graded teak dust is applied with care and enough to cover the wet paint.

 You will need two top coats to soak into and coat the teak wood flour, this it the first coat.

The second coat has been applied, so owner Charles can now move onto the next panels.

Camps Bay electrical storm

This was just last week,we could hear some of the related thunder and were aware of lightning but never saw it like it is in this picture!

 Photographer unknown, I think it came off Face Book and was posted by one of Jeans family?

Monday, 13 February 2012

World Radio Day is today!

Radios have been a part of my life as far back as I can remember, so lets celebrate today by turning a radio on!

What a great idea,you know radio is far more user friendly than any TV,the radio is in your ears, the TV is in your face.

The Sony receiver based on the ICF-5900 with monaural cassette recorder,
an idea to allow the man in the street to listen to either AM/FM or even Short Wave radio such as the BBC World Service, Voice of America, it could handle marine traffic and Ham radio easy enough.

Bought in the basement of Garlicks store here in Cape Town, I took it back to the Sudan where I was working. The radio was a part of life back in Cape Town after the contract was finished. The Sony ICF5900 eventually sailed with us to Brasil,Tobago,Venezuela, I sold it to a friend in Trinidad before flying back to Cape Town.

An early Icom IC-M700 tranceiver, it is showing a BBC world service frequency.
Note the required call sign,which is licenced to the vessel. We can supply you with similar CNC cut signs to suit your own boat or home.

 A later marine grade SSB radio from Icom Marine.

It was not that many years back when the marine SSB was declared a waste of time. The programs like Sailmail and others have easily prooven this not to be true.

Following a request from the Spanish Radio Academy, on 20 September 2010 Spain proposed that the UNESCO Executive Board include an agenda item on the proclamation of a World Radio Day. UNESCO's Executive Board approved the its provisional agenda for the proclamation of a "World Radio Day" on 29 September 2011.

The board recommended to the UNESCO General Conference that it proclaim a World Radio Day and that this day be celebrated on 13 February, the anniversary of the day the United Nations established United Nations Radio in 1946. It also invited all United Nations Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, professional associations and broadcasting unions, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to duly celebrate World Radio Day, in the way that each considers most adequate.

 The board further requested that the Director-General, subject to the final resolution of the General Conference, bring the resolution to the attention of the Secretary-General of the United Nations so that World Radio Day could be endorsed by the General Assembly.. Various radio industry bodies around the world are supporting the initiative by encouraging stations in developed countries to assist those in the developing world.


A Lavranos 57 as a kit

This boat makes sense for all sorts of reasons, one is that wood is cost effective over the option of steel,alloy or grp, it is also a heck of a lot user friendly and a far nicer material to work with.
It also grows on trees. Which in the case of ockume plywood, should be plantation grown and from a renewable resource.

This looks familier to me, having done much the same build myself.

The hull plates are done in four layers of  9mm marine plywood, such a build can move really quickly.

 As a boat kit, why not? we can source the correct materials, CNC the bulkheads, even the boats interior.

Seen here, what a nice boat!

After some discussion with Angelo Lavranos about a possible large boat design for a customer, we received these pictures and the mail below. We can kit set this boat to a large degree quite easy.
Plans and further boat information can be had from Angelo at the addresses below.

 I have another wood 57 ft, Odysseus ( see attached ) which was cold moulded with layers of 9mm ply (cut in half lengthways) which was probably as easy to build as a chine boat. All the bulkheads and (few) station moulds were mylar templates (and therefore easily made into cutfile CNC).
 Kind Regards,
Lavranos Marine Design Ltd
40A Seaview Ave, Northcote
Auckland 0627 New Zealand
Ph + 64 9 4802232
Fx + 64 9 4802235
Mob 0226059735