Time to Create Part 2

My continued journey on the overhaul of the fishing boat.

Part One http://id8.ie/time-to-create/

2014 –

My local timber yard sourced & supplied to approximate size 22ft 3″x1 1/2″ lengths of larch and white oak for the seats and all internal timber.

G Clamps have arrived

I gathered all the necessary equipment that I thought I would need

Timber, G-clamps, chisels, Hammers, drills, router, saw’s, mallet, screwdrivers, plain, vice, angle grinder and radio.

Routing through the sheds in Mick’s yard, I discovered copper rivets & rove for fasters of the timber a stroke of luck.

Stripping back the boat was an interesting challenge, fearful that with out the structure and reinforcement of the timber, the fibreglass shell may distort its shape, warp or worse.

My plan started with the gunwales as shown in the photo, these were held in situ with copper rivets. I had to cut around each rivet to remove the timber, then using the angle grider to cut the rivets off.

Next was to measure up the new gunwales, this was arduous, trying to fasten them in situ with the G clamps. The difficult aspect was the curve of the beam along with the rise in the sides to the bow (front of the boat), there is 7″ height difference from the stern (back) to the bow, which means that along with shaping the gunwales to fit the beam will also have to bend to accommodate this, boat building 101….

I didn’t have the knowledge/experience of steaming planks to fit into place, so I had to form them into place using the g-clamps. I left them for over winter in place to take the shape. Previously I had stored them with both ends anchored down to form a curve.

Original oak seats in the boat

Started on the seats, these were 2″ oak. There are 5 seats in the boat.

Rotten ends of the seats

Out with the sander and started on them to see their condition. The centre’s were in good shape but the ends where they were sitting on the fibreglass and little way of water to drain away, they were rotten, so these were next to be attended to.

The two middle seats were salvageable, I could cut them for the two smallest seats.

I left two pieces in place to hold the shape of the boat whilst I was working on it.

Cutting out the new seats were straight forward using the original seats. I cut out rough templates for the knees – timber that connects the seats to the gunwales.

2015 –

The gunwales were in an approximate shape of the boat, apart from the rise to the bow. As these covered the fibreglass by about 1 inch, I had to rebate the larch to accommodate the fibre edge.I measured using the original timber the dept of the original rebate and marked this onto the timber. Using the router, I rebated this on boat sides of the gunwale and then attached the back onto the boat using G-clamps. Word for note, white oak is a tougher timber and it dulled / burnt out several router bits.

Next I attended to the stern, again, I measured out compared to the original. Rebated for the fibreglass and then proceeded to a fix to the boat. I cut for size both internally and then externally giving space to mount the engine. This sandwich effect gives strength to the boat and when they are attached to the gunwales, this provides a reinforcing effect to the stern to hold the weight of an outboard engine.

The final part was the bow. The gunwales were attached using the G-clamps, so removing them and then started on the bow.

I hope the correct nautical term for the stanchion, timber at the bow. This was a case of trial and error, using the chisels, sandpaper to get the correct shape, the orignal piece came out in shards. I created a prototype shape for the internal part.

stanchion marked out
stanchion internally in place

This required plenty of patience as this was the initial location that would form the structure of the boat and when I would start with the gunwales, working backwards from this point.

Had to get it shaped to fit internally in the boat with the shape of the fibreglass, then to fit with the angles of the bow and to allow for the gunwales to be fixed into it.

Glad to have plenty of patience, I was ready to get the knees in place, these secure the gunwales to the seats to allow for the timber to give strength and reinforcement to the boat.

Knees at the seats to allow them to fix gunwales to seats for strength.

Again, more measurement for the angle of the seats where they meet the fibreglass at an angle. This required a curve of the boat, angle of the gunwale and to sit flush onto the seat. Each seat had 4 of these, so I required 16 in total.

These I admit were time consuming to get correct, as the gunwales weren’t affixed, I could not finalise the cuts yet.

In the picture, I allowed for adjustments of the gunwale. Some while ago, I was out fishing on another boat and saw the knees which allowed for the fishing rods to be secured, and I incorporated these into my boat.

All timber were now shaped and cut to an approximate form for the boat.

The Home Run

All timbers ready, I removed all timber from the boat. I attached the stanchion in place and secured this into the steel plate of the keel. Part one completed.

I decided that I would use the existing rivet holes for the gunwales. Clamping each side in place, I drilled using existing hole to create the pilot hole for the rivets. Note to anybody doing this, make the pilot hole a smaller dimension to the rivet as this allows for some resistance when I was roving the rivets.

The rivet is a copper nail, the rove is a curved copper washer that you hammer the nail (rivet) into, this allows the two to be fixed together. Then using the proper equipment, you mould (hammer) the top of the rivet into a cap over the rove which holds the timber in place. When done, you then sand down both ends, this makes it secure and no rough edges.

Again, I never had done a rivet and rove before, internet search is a great thing, so practiced before I started for real on the boat. I tried a flat hammer on the rove with a ball peen hammer – one that had a curved head to the rivet. After some trial and error, I found that it wasn’t working for me, so I thought a little differently, I used a wrench / socket set of the dimensions of the rove. This allowed me to hold the rove in place when I hammered in the rivet and formed into shape. Started at the bow and working backwards, I fixed the gunwales into place. This was the most nerve wrecking of the whole process, as I had no replacements if any mistakes occurred, thankfully none happened. I left some excess at the stern. I was able to mould the gunwales to allow for the rise to the bow.

Part 3 fixing the stern timbers. Now that the gunwales were finished, I was able to fix the oak in place at the stern. Holding in place and screwing from both sides to keep secured. I then formed more knees to fix the stern timber to the gunwales. I added in an alumium cover to allow the clamping of the engine nuts onto the timbers, previously they were eating into the timbers.

Similar, I was able to mould out the breasthook, the triangular piece at the bow of a boat. This again gives strength to the bow and connects both sides of the gunwales to each other. I felt that the boat was now stronger and had less flex. I created a larger piece to allow for some storage from the weather.

Knee for the front seat in the boat

Home run was the knee’s, but it took the most time. As I had two fixed pieces in place – seats and gunwales. I was able to finally shape the timber for each location. This required time for each to sand to shape.

Next was the oarlock risers. I fitted four of these to the gunwales. These were made from oak, shaped to fit onto the gunwales, curved to the corners. I drilled a hole to allow for the oar barrel to be mounted. Caution would be advised in case you damage the fibreglass beneath.


Once the timbers were finished and sanded, I gave the boat timbers a coat of paint. I had given the gunwales an undercoat prior to fixing onto the boat.

I must admit a little error, don’t paint in the late evening, when I put the undercoat on the boat in the shed, it thought it was an off white, but when I pulled the boat into sunlinght, well, the colour was pink. Back to the shed for change –  gun metal grey.

I didn’t know if the boat was lake worthy, i.e would float, I had filled it with water prior to starting on this and there was no leak, but still until it went onto the lake, I didn’t know if there was any holes or weak spots in the fibreglass.

Finished Boat

finished boat with undercoat
finished boat painted
finished boat

Looking at the timeline of the photo’s 2013 – 2015

Aided by my pets, they offered great encouragement – golden retrievers Finlay (l) and Rosie (r)

The boat was brought into the shed in 2013

I got the timbers in the Autumn of 2013. Left the gunwales to take shape over winter

April 2014 removed the old timbers and started forming the timbers into place

2015 Mar – July, most of the work completed

July 2015 last timber work finished and painted the boat.

August 2015 boat launched

Sept 2015 Out fishing


This was a hobby project for me to complete to allow me to fish again. So for a money making exercise, I would have been bankrupt, but I am happy with the outcome and I use the boat regularly out fishing. It took a year longer to do the work, put this down to the forming of the larch into shape and researching into the methods of completing the refit.

I enjoyed my time doing the boat, it allowed me to both follow a passion and to think about client issues/requirements/new business development. As I said in the first post, being creative here allowed me to focus on my own business. You need time to switch off, fishing is my ‘golf’.

I try to go fishing every few weeks, but I am out at the boat each week. Bailing out the boat is a weekly task, and I am working on a device on this. Again from my business skills, I am developing a prototype device to allow for this, and there are several challenges that I have to overcome, but hey that’s what life is about.

Fishing, my favourite time is the Green Peter fly fishing in late July / August. Best fishing on Lough Owel occurs after 9pm / dusk when the rise occurs and I have been known to stay out till the wee hours fishing. There is a strange feeling night fishing in the moon light.

Over the last few years I have cleaned up the boat trailer, given it a good scrape down and painted it.

Writing this, I have to replace the planking in the floor of the boat, I have sourced 3/4″ larch planks and will do this over the next few weeks. I take the boat out of the water each October and store it ashore. I have a waterproof tarpaulin to cover it and this protects all timbers from the weather, so each spring all it needs is a wash out and a lick of paint from the previous years wear and tear.

One thought on “Time to Create Part 2

We appreciate your thoughts on our thoughts