Help! Conventional wood footy!

My name is andrew, and I’m an addict

I thought that I could give up any time I wanted…

But I keep finding something like this on my bench in the wee small hours of the night.

Is the cure to finish it and seek treatment?
I have been prescribed a “Drakkar” but I thought this was one end of a motor race?


The only known treatment is wind, water and friends. There is no cure except finishing the damn thing so you can get to sleep so you can be rested for sailing it in the morning:lol: Just my thoughts from experience;)


if at the depth of that blackwatch you fear for the light you need no cure, just a quiver of sharp blades and sandpaper …

Thank you supportive fellow-sufferers
I think you are saying that I should carve (and sand) my way to health and freedom:D

I am resolved to do just that:)

But I have more existential doubts:
If I make conventional Footys will I become conventional?
when designing this footy to fit the box - is it necessary to fill the WHOLE box?*

*I hasten to add that this is not my design (couldn’t be; its boat-shape) and there seems to be LOT of it
This morning’s pics follow - carving the outside should follow tonight!
knee-deep in shavings

Looks great Andrew - I am keen to see your building photos - it helps to keep fellow addicts ‘fed’!
Keith :cool:

If I am providing someone with a vicarious, therapeutic “fix” I will continue - I have to sand my way out of this balsa-storm anyhow:D

This morning at dawn I did lot of interior shaping and sanding and glued the final pieces together - so now I have a full hull with the interior as smooth as I dare at this stage

The clamping went well - there are pins to hold the location and as many clamps as possible (all the glue used is PVA, carpenters white glue)

However I look at her - this is a large boat

Contrasted with plug of Bakers Dozen (an Angus Richardson masterpiece)

Tonight the razor plane and I will get to work on the outside. I really need a new David plane blade, but will probably diamond sharpen the old blade.

I am mentally comparing this build with Flavio’s Brando:D
He is a craftsman, and I am a blacksmith

Before delivering this hull to her owner/designer/driver I will take a moulding off her in some material or other. This is a plug which will sail!

Should I incorporate a plank of acer saccharum in the build? possibly the king-plank?

The story so far:
In the last episode our heroine had been finally glued up and left to harden overnight.
Time to take up the trusty razor plane and do the bit I enjoy most - removing everything that isn’t Blackwatch

For anyone who hasn’t tried this process there are two bits of useful information:
[li]its quick - see later pictures - it took me 15 minutes of planing each side of the boat, and perhaps 10 minutes of sanding:D
[/li][li]There is only one shape of hull in the stepped block - you just plane till all the steps have gone away:D

I NEVER do this normally, but this time, for illustration I finished the two sides seperately

These are with the port side (left, Amelia) planed and the stbd left untouched

confessions in the next post

I have learned a good deal from this build - and I’m not even finished yet!

The weight at this stage is about 36gm - just over an ounce, and this compares well with the 21 Gms of hi-tech moulding of Vooortrekkker at this stage - and that was without the fin-box and rudder tube supports, too

I’m not perfect (quite) and this is the first “hollow plug” I have made so planning the hull thickness and floor shape (especially when the outside is going to planed away)
I got this reasonably right, and got mainly the planned 6mm hull thickness with one exception.
The eagle-eyed will have notice a “Thinning” on the port side just aft of the bow. I had cut out to the wrong line.

So it became necessary to graft in more wood in this area - naturally its a complex shape! Since I didn’t want voids left I used PU glue for the first time on this build

When dry I will re-finish the bow area and thin the doublers I have just inserted.
Using PU glue means that I should paint the area (PU doesn’t not like UV light)
Otherwise the interior is planned to be doped a few times

Next up - more and finer finishing
sealing the interior of the fin box with thin epoxy
sealing the inside of the hull with dope(?)
Consulting the designer on detail like exterior treatment, decking, rudder etc


Lovely pictures and admirable exposition. I know about this, having published articles in learned journals about the difficulty of writing prose descriptions of manual skills. just another example of the really very high standard of contribution to this forum.

One tiny query from one who has only recently given up boiling rabbit skins and horse’s hooves to make his glue. What exactly is PU?


This wood stuff? Is it what we composites chappies refer to as NDV?



I fort NVQs were sommat else:D

Whats an NDV? Might it be a Natural Diphase something?
You/we composite know that wood is God’s version of GRP, and she made it grow in trees:D. Cellulose tubes bonded together with lignin - works for me!



I’ll go out on a limb here and make a guess that PU = PolyUrethane, rather than an odor, which might be applicable if one is boiling up animal parts to make glue.


Sorry, Historyman, missed your query

as Bill surmised I meant polyurethane glue. I will still boil my cowhide as required, but find a lot of uses for PU glue including building full-size boats.

This one foams PINK - its SO me:D

This weekend’s progress has been substantial, but not very rewarding photographically.

Interior of the hull/plug sealed with dope, inside of the fin-box sealed with thinned epoxy (thinned with cellulose thinners). Fin sealed with epoxy.

Weird spin-off from epoxying - I mixed 5gm of epoxy to do the necessary interior proofing, smeared it on with a cloth held on a kebab skewer. Naturally most of the epoxy was left for something else:D
Well I have a square-rigged footy awaiting a coat of glass, so this was glassed. (the most normal thing in the world)
The shape of the square-rigger hull leads to the glass delaminating round rthe bulwarks, so I wrapped the whole hull and wet glass with kitchen film. I was then able to smooooooothe all the glass later with bare hands, and am very pleased with the result


It can now be revealed that the Designer, owner and intrepid driver of this wooden wonder, called Blackwatch, is none other than our Canadian guru; Tmark.

The hull/plug will be winging its way over the Atlantic when it is a little more finished, and when I have found some Canadian maple wood to make the kingplank:D The best thing I have at the moment is a coffee-stirrer - very useful bits of hardwood!


Andrew - Whatever did you make the plug of your square-rigger with? It looks like blended, congealed minestrone!

Neil - well, nearly:D

The plug is actually blue foam - extremely finely finished, then wrapped in kitchen film and given 3 layers of papie mache using water-based house paint as an adhesive. The layers were respectively orange, orange and gold paint, hence the somewhat amorphous appearance you diplomatically remarked upon.
I am contemplating “planking” the hull after a little sanding with sticky brown paper tape, or possibly masking tape to add realism.

I try to be a craftsman in the style of Flavio and Nigel, but I’m not. So I’m happy to show my process to give ordinary mortals encouragement (and a laugh)


Progress, concern, and a Thought!

Blackwatch seems to get lighter each day - the hull is certainly getting sanded and sealed, and most of the sealant is getting sanded off as well.

NAFO - the North Atlantic Footy Organisation has decided that the hull will be sealed with epoxy outside and dope inside - so this is what I have been doing.

I mixed up a batch of epoxy, diluted it more than ever before with cellulose thinners (about 50/50) and applied this to the bare balsa. The plan is that the very thin epoxy will penetrate the end grain of the balsa a relatively long way, then evaporate and allow the epoxy to harden normally.
So goes the theory
Did it work - yes, but the hardening time was more than doubled. (I put this down to the high dilution making it difficult for the epoxy molecules to find each other.) After a night of hardening this epoxy (undiluted) would normally be leathery hard, and very hard after 24 hours.
I was a little CONCERNED at the slow progress so the entire hull was placed in a curing “oven”* and gently heated for the whole evening. - this did the trick, and not only pushed the hardening, but probably also did the post-cure.

The surface of the hull is now hard and feels rough, but I know that a couple of swipes with 600 grade wet and dry will make it silky.

Now two more coats of undiluted epoxy:D

  • the Oven is an electric mosquito-killer providing a little heat into a cardboard box - the footy hull is supported in the middle of the box and gets gently warm - perhaps about 30 degC.

Oh, and the Thought:

It came to me this morning that the construction of this boat, and the shape, means that she can be described literally as callipygous.


Firstfooty, no, I couldn’t find glecit either, but I reckon that half of the the worlds Scots use it and could give a working definition.

Hmmm … are we now rounding the edges of expository certitude … callypigous et glecit … the wonderful thing about about things like balsa is that there is very little mystery to it even when saturated with chemical baths and ovened … words, even when invented by Scots, on the other hand …

More pics, Andrew?

Pics follow - possibly this pm

I find if I dilute the key words using abundant persiflage they can be percolated into life’s end- grain and remain there to re-inforce the basic structure - thus enhancing semantic certitude.

more rabbit than sainsburys