Come and build with us!

We’d love to welcome more people to the team! We are keen to attract more community members, you do not have to have a connection with the Scout Group or Scouting at all. There is no special skills requirement, just a desire to get stuck in and a sense of humour. Some weeks it’s just wood cutting, or sanding, or epoxying, or trying to work out how that piece of wood becomes that part on the boat….

At the end of it you will be able to say, quite rightly, “I built that”… come down and get stuck in!

The skiff will be taking part in the Great River Race (maybe not this years) – we’re always looking for more rowers too!

Please email me bruceburrowes at outlook dot com or call on 07790 229 817.

7th March 2017

Not many pictures from this week. Jobs completed included getting the stems out from last week. The wood planking was also prepared ready to be scarffed. The next jobs will be scarffing the planks. Andy has already made a jig ready for them.

New Webcam

We’ve installed a camera that covers the building frame. It takes a photo every Wednesday at 8pm and more often if we are working on the boat.

At the end of the project we’ll stitch all the photos together to create a time-lapse video that shows the construction of our St. Ayles Skiff from start to finish.

1st March 2017

Another great turn out so we naturally split into two teams, those that had a working knowledge of what they are doing, and those without a scoobie!!

The expoxy team suited up ready to expoxy our lovely prepared wood. As can be seen we have taped the wood ready.

So where’s this boat then?

Clamp anyone?

We also cut out the rest of the wood from the panels as space may have got tight on our working cutting platform. As instructed we labelled up all the panels so we knew exactly where they can from and could recreate the sheet once all the panels had been cut out.

They got to grips with the Epoxy and by all accounts it wasn’t as slippery as expected, but as with most things many hands make for lighter work. The bigger clamps had been placed in first, then a series of tighten as you go.

These people must be experts….

22nd Feb 2017

Bigger turnout tonight which is great!

Jobs included taping up all the parts ready to take the epoxy, cutting the wood ready for lamination of the stem, and then a dry run for the clamping itself.

I was keen to keep the strips of wood a long as possible so we can use it to add the mast head onto it, but the height of the frame off the ground restricts how long these can be left, so we’ve gone for the “that fits, lets do that and sort it out later”, approach.

Don’t think this will cause much problem as there is enough wood to attach something onto. At the moment the plan is for the mast head to be removable.

This is the frame that’s been made up for stems.





We think it should be warm enough this Wednesday to Epoxy, so that will be the main task on the 1st of March. As can be seen we have borrowed some more sturdy clamps. We think it will be 8 a side.






We also need to cut out the rest of the planking so the skarfing can be done. If we don’t do this we not have the space to do it later.

Andy has started work on a tiller handle, picture to come next week.

12th Feb 2017

No Boat build this week, half term and too many people away.

But, we’ve been thinking about a mast head, and of course its got to be a Jaguar head of some kind. Sketch 1, as below..

Generally concensus, (ie everyone but me!), think it’s too big, so will go back to the drawing board…..

8th Feb 2017

We had the best turn out so far tonight, 4 adults and 2 scouts. Many hands make light work.

Build team

The jig the for stems has been finished. We used some leftover wood from the frame and a board that was used to protect the kit when it was delivered. Last week we seemed to spend ages discussing the springback allowance. After working out the exact expected movement we’ve ended up just “allowing for a bit”. The blocks just need to be taped now.

We started and finished taping up the moulds so they are now ready to take the frames.

Andy has built a frame so we can scarf the hogs and is half way through a frame for the planking.

We’ve got the epoxy in and also the clamps. The general consensus is the clamps won’t be up to the job so we’ll get some others.

Clamps that might not be up to the job!

The next jobs, will be gluing the frames and laminating them stems although the cold weather will put this hold. So its’ likely we will start to cut out the planks ready to be scarfed.

Next week is half term so no build taking place.

Update & next steps!

It’s been a while since the last post but we hope to provide weekly updates from now on.

We’ve made great progress assembling the mould. All templates have been cut out and the shape of the boat is starting to become evident.

The mould is assembled on the frame according to the plan below. Unlike an IKEA plan, this plan only shows a design overview and and lists important measurements. As we have no experience of boat building this has caused piecemeal progress whilst we get used to boat building terms.

The next steps are to tape up the mould pieces with masking tape. Numbers 2 and 4 will need to be taped on the forward side, 6 and 8 on the aft side. They will also all need to be taped on the top edges where the planks touch. This will stop epoxy sticking when it’s applied.

We also need to build a Jig for the stems as they are laminated. The stems will be built much longer than normal as we plan to add some sort of  “mast head”  at a later date. There has been some discussion over the calculation of spring-back allowance required on the stems and we’ll need to consider this when building the jig.

The wood delivered for the stems is not consistent in thickness and so before progressing we will need to get it planed to a uniform size.


Building the Frame

After clearing space in the boat shed, we got underway with building the frame on which the entire boat would be constructed.

It’s a simple ‘ladder assembly’ on legs measuring about 5m long by 1.2m wide and sits 0.5m above the ground.

The frame was set perfectly level and screwed down into the concrete floor to make absolute sure it couldn’t be moved and us end up with a wonky boat.

The finished frame

We’re building a boat!

After a few weeks of research, we’ve decided that we’re going to build a St. Ayles Skiff.

Handily, the St. Ayles Skiff comes as a kit and is suited for the “average DIYer”. The Scout Group doesn’t have a history of boat building and the St. Ayles skiff is generally regarded as a simple build so fingers crossed we can pull it off!

The St Ayles Skiff has four stationary rowing positions and room of a cox. It’s 22ft long and nearly 6ft wide but is very light (circa 160kg), this will allow it to be carried by the Scouts and make transportation easy.

The cost of the boat building kit will be met by external funding sources. It’s our aim that the project be entirely ‘self funding’.

We’ve already pulled together a small team of interested people and the plan is to meet twice a week at the Scout Hut for ‘build evenings’. Days are yet to be confirmed but initially we’re looking at Wednesdays, Fridays and Sunday mornings to fit around the current Scout activities.

It will be a fairly relaxed project and the idea is that people will be able to just dip in and out as they please.

We hope to start building stuff before October and be on the water in mid 2017 to allow plenty of time to practice for next year’s Great River Race!