Just a few more bits and pieces done over the past week. The repaired center board is now painted and looking serviceable, so that can be put back in place the next time I feel like crawling about underneath a boat in the rain.
Also have started bending those Iroko strips that my mate Rich the joiner ran up for me in return for a bit of wiring work. Bartering with other skilled trades is a great way to get a job done quickly, cheaply, and correctly I find. He has made me up four shaped lengths of hardwood to replace the rotten old rubbish that I had to chisel out from the fibreglass right at the start. These pieces are important, not only as they combine to form the rubbing strakes in this case, but also because the jib sheet tracks and the bow fittings screw down into them. Although they are now a close fit in the deck moulding, they have to be bent considerably to follow the contours of the hull. I didn’t want to risk doing this without steaming them a bit as its quite a pronounced curve for such a thin piece of Iroko.
So, I borrowed a wallpaper steamer from my cousin and made a temporary steam box from a section of soil pipe rescued from a building site skip. I took off the hand held steam head and put the open pipe from the steamer up the end of the soil pipe. I then placed all four lengths that I needed to bend into the soil pipe and sealed up the openings with rags. The steamer was then filled and left running for around 1.5 hours ( I was advised to estimate 1 hour steaming for each inch of timber thickness). While this was going on I was busy making sure I had enough clamps, straps, and props to hold all my strips in place on the hull (I still didn’t) and made a rough former on the ground for the rubbing strakes from old car wheels.
When I figured they had sweated for long enough, I took out each strip one at a time (leaving the others in the steamer to stay subtle) and clamped them into place using the dinghy itself as a former for the two critical ones. They bent easily to shape and will now stay there for a few days until I’ve got time to move onto the next stage. Simple.