Decision to replace the stem and the stern

2009 and the project gets bigger . . .

Early March 2009 finds us in Nantwich, combining a trip out to the garden centre at Bridgemere for Mum with collecting an 8 foot long piece of sawn opepe from Anderson Sawmills, Doddington Park Farm, destined to be the new stern post. Safely installed in the Bongo it’s taken down to Woodbridge while Steve considers options. With the engine removed, it was clear that lining up the sterntube would be quite a challenge.

After a trip to Robertsons, just up the Deben, to enlist their help in drilling the hole, Steve started to measure up and fashion the stern post.

In April Paul starts work on the planking, and makes good progress! Its good to see the curve of the renowned elliptical counter taking shape again with three planks right up to the stern by the end of the month.

However, after more discussions, sucking of teeth and considerable periods of thinking around the options . . . the momentous decision is made to remove the stem, meaning a forced break in planking until we’d re-assessed the scope of the project. This was going to be a big job, and Steve went in search of wood again, finally deciding to laminate with idigbo. The wood was sourced at the beginning of May, and sawn into 30 strips for laminating, at Gregory’s of Tansley, near Matlock.

  • Making the frames . . .
  • New frames and planks, April 2009
  • First of the new planks going in, April 2009
  • Removing the stem
  • Making the new stem
  • Fitting the new sternpost

A month of hard work results in a brand new stem, just right to fit into the Bongo for transport down to Woodbridge! After carefully scarfing the oak into the idigbo laminate, the final piece was too heavy for Paul and Steve to handle. Yes, they had to cut it before fitting in place at the end of August.

Once cut to size and aligned, the stern was taken to Robertsons in October for drilling, and after a couple of days an excellent job was done! Its in place by the autumn, fitting snugly up against the repaired (and new) planks and garboard, all painted with red oxide. November and December found Steve in Woodbridge, still making excellent progress, despite the sub-zero temperatures!

In the Spring, we’ll be ready to continue planking after all the setbacks this year! The new frames are at last in place and the spars have been re-sited in the roof of the tent to make room for working on the port side.

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