Tag Archives: varnish

Henwood & Dean 30th anniversary book

Head, Heart, Hand – a Boatbuilder’s Story (the link goes to an impressive collection of sample pages) is a beautiful book documenting the work of Thames-side traditional boat building firm Henwood & Dean, with photographs and design by Michael English.

The book is published to celebrate three decades of the Henwood & Dean boatyard – an event that is also marked by local newspaper the Henley Standard.

I’d guess that it would make a nice Christmas present for quite a few folks out there…

By the way, if like me you feel a little awed by the the varnished finishes the Henwood & Dean team achieve, you may be interested to know that Colin Henwood will be leading Boat Building Academy courses on renovation and finishing at Lyme Regis next year on the 18th-22nd February and 18th-22nd November (by coincidence the dates fall on the same dates each month).

Small motor launch Louise built by Nick Smith complete but for her varnish

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Hampshire-based boatbuilder Nick Smith wrote this week with photos of his current motor launch building project Louise. Here’s what he has to say:

Louise will be launched in the spring, as the owner will be doing the varnishing over the coming months. Normally I would be a bit reticent about this, but having seen my customer David Eschbaeschers’ varnish work and woodwork on his steam launch I was confident she would be finished to a high standard that would be as good as I would do it.

Louise to my eye has a more ‘motor dinghy’ look than the last project, Lisa, which is more ‘motor launch’ – the one foot difference in overall length has seen to that, together with the fact that Louise is narrower and has a flatter sheer.

‘I’m very pleased how she has come out and so are the owners, they will be dry sailing the boat and go all over the country’s rivers and estuaries through the season.

‘Thats it for now. After a break I will be starting a restoration job on a 15ft clinker launch my oppo found under an oak tree at Beaulieu. So will keep you posted on that one.

‘Nick’

Nick wrote again a couple of days later with a photo of Moiety, a boat he built 17 years ago.

Moiety’s owner has sent me these pictures of the boat at The Thames Traditional Boat Rally at Henley this year. I originally built and planked Moiety in 1992 and fitted her out six years later, so she was completed in 1996, so the hull is 17 years old but the completed boat only 13 years old. She is 16 foot 4 overall with a beam of six foot four, and a lot of boat for her length.’
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Moiety at this year’s Thames Traditional Boat Rally
Thanks Nick – I’m looking forward to hearing about the restoration job.

For more photos of Louise during her build click here.

For photos of the previous build Lisa click here.

Nick comes from Devon, learned boatbuilding the traditional way and specialises in new builds in clinker and carvel for sail, motor and rowing power from 8ft to 28ft with a special emphasis on West Country style and design, and also takes on repairs and refits from 25ft to 50ft. These days he’s based in Hampshire, and can be contacted by email at nick_smith_boatbuilder@yahoo.com and by phone on phone on 07786 693370.

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Sunny skiff 14ft plywood flattie plans

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The Sunny skiff

Another evening, another boat. Here’s a set of fairly basic but functional plans for building a 14ft lightweight flattie, the Sunny skiff. Download them here.

I think they could be just what many people are likely to want – a boat big enough to be comfortable for an outing for two, small and lean enough to row reasonably well, and a good size for building in a small garage or shed. Like the Julie and Ella skiffs the drawings present a rather basic boat – one can build simply or add gingerbread such as beautifully varnished breasthooks and knees, gapped inwales and the rest at will.

Like this boat? Send your comments to gmatkin@gmail.com.

I’d better add my usual warnings. I am not a qualified boat designer and the Sunny skiff should be regarded as an experimental design. The designer of the Sunny skiff accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage that may occur during building this boat or in its use. You build it and use it at your own risk. The Sunny skiff is intended for use on flat sheltered water with no strong currents. It is not intended for use with outboard power.

If you do decide to build this boat please build a model first and send me photos of your model and the completed boat, together with a report on how the project goes and how the boat performs on the water. Whenever I am available, I will be very happy to provide help and advice if needed along the way; if I’m not around, the online forums can be very useful, but it often helps to search the archives before posting a question.

Finally please use the comment button to let me know what you think. This collection of elegantly simple skiffs with classic hullforms seem to me to have a lot to ‘recommend them. What developments, options etc would you look for, bearing in mind that these are not outboard skiffs?

PS – It’s become clear that depending on your build, some folks will find the thwart a little high – if that could be you, it will be a very simple job to make the seat lower if you do so at an early stage.

For more on the Sunny skiff, click here.

Looking for something smaller? See the Ella skiff.

Looking for something longer and faster? See the Julie skiff.

This boat is designed to be built using the stitch and glue technique – if you haven’t done this before you might be interested in my book Ultrasimple Boat Building: 17 Plywood Boats Anyone Can Build or one of the other books on this topic available from Amazon.