The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2016.05.08 - It’s NOT Me!

Lots of thing have happened since the last project report, not least of which was the arrival of the welder which I promptly tried out. The first amazing thing is the size, it is smaller than a shoe box and I was a bit worried that I had bought a dud. But no, the welder is real and it works well. I tried a few passes on some 3mm angle iron, a bit thin but okay to get an idea of the results and I have to report that I can strike the arc, keep it going and lay down a reasonable bead. Photo evidence below but bear in mind that it is 30 or more years since I last touched an arc welder and you will see why I am quite pleased. It isn’t me at all, I can arc weld.

All these weld were laid down one after the other with my trying difference currents, speed of travel and arc gap distances. The welder did not go into thermal shutdown and the specifications indicate that for the currents I’ll be using, the duty cycle is 100%. I can say that I used up 5 electrodes without stopping other than to change the stick and the welder kept on going so it’s likely that the welder will do exactly what I need it to do.

Of course I’ll have to do a lot more practice welds on the correct thickness metal before I construct the tabernacle. I have ordered various pieces of 6mm mild steel for the practising and I’ll not work on the tabernacle until I’m convinced that I can lay down 8 good welds first.

Another thing that has happened is the arrival of the cut plates for the tabernacle. Very nicely done and all the edges were ground down slightly so that there are no sharp edges anywhere. I am immensely pleased to have found the supplier for these, I’m now revisiting various aspects of the Naiad project to see if there are any other parts that I can get them to cut for me.

Yet another thing was the arrival of the reconstructed gammon iron. The legs having been put back after I’d cut them off so that they now sweep back at the correct angle. This will be fitted once the foredeck has been put on so I know where the fastenings need to go but it will removed after that so that I can complete the gunwale and rubbing strake installation.

Finally for this report, the starboard half bulkhead was epoxied in place and the port one cut, adjusted, fitted with rails and epoxied in place. I still have to add some more epoxy fillets but I left that for another day. The temperature is over 25 Celsius today and the epoxy is going off too quickly! Despite being spread on to a flat surface before being applied to the wood, one lot of epoxy went off into a hard lump before I even started using it.

Definitely too hot.

The piece of angle iron I used for testing.


A closer look at the first set of test welds.


This is the second lot of test welds.


And these welds I did last. Not at all bad.


The tabernacle plates and cut and the edges rounded. This is good work.


The gammon iron reconstructed.


Here you can see the angle of the legs a little more clearly.


And here is the fitting offered up to the stem. It’s not so easy to see from here but the angle of the bowsprit ring is at right angles to the foredeck. Nice work.


The starboard bulkhead epoxied in position.


And a view from the rear showing the fillet of epoxy.


The port bulkhead epoxied in position.


And a view of both half bulkheads from the stern.