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@Invictaag suggested a while ago that I put up some snaps of my 1:1 Sooty Tern build up on the Forum. I'm not sure if he realises what a wan o' corms he might be opening...

After discussing this with @Grunhertz, I decided to put the post here in Ship and Boat Modelling->Research. The boat is a 20-foot (6+ metre) two-masted 'Sooty Tern' design by the Australian designer Ian Oughtred, who made his home in the Inner Hebrides in Scotland many years ago. It is a yawl, based on the Shetland yowls of Viking origin and is a double-ender for ocean-going capability. That is, it has a stern more or less shaped like the bow. The boat is built upside down with overlapping planks, from the bottom 'garboard' plank halves onto a set-up keel and stems over a set of eight moulds. This means two sets of planks for each 'level', which are individually spaed (spiled) using a batten (long flexible stick of some sort) onto the plank land (overlap) marks on the moulds. I will be making plank templates for each plank set using some relatively cheap 3mm meranti plywood before I go anywhere near the very expensive marine plywood that I have for the hull.

The hull will be from 'gaboon' marine plywood, with gaboon or 'meranti' marine ply centreboard case, bulkheads and decks, plus other timbers for the masts, spars and furniture (oregon and others). There will be some lead ballast pigs cast for different sailing occasions. It will be rigged using lug sails.

Interestingly, a lot of Sooty Tern (and other wooden boat) builders have made 1:8 models of the boat from the plans, to get an overview of the process, not the least of which is spiling (shaping) planks. I have resisted that so far!

A. Here's a very early version of a Sooty Tern under sail in the North Sea or thereabouts - my friend and mentor Max’s Long John Silver. Max is a master craftsman and one of my three Sooty Tern mentors (the other chappies live in Scotland and New Zealand)

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B. Iain Oughtred’s clinker plywood boat-building manual - an essential document for the first-time clinker boat builder (e.g., me)

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C. Iain's design catalogue. The boat on the cover is the 'Jeannie II', a close ancestor of the Sooty

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D. Sooty Tern plans pack. This includes the two plans sheets for the Sooty Tern, and the full set of plans for the Arctic Tern, the Sooty's immediate predecessor in Iain's Shetland yawl range. The Sooty is in fact a stretched version of the Arctic, with various modifications

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This post is a seriously stripped down set of snaps from my Wooden Boat Forum thread on this wee beastie. It's not intended to be a build log, although I might add the odd snap if any interest is shown and I can get started again.

1. Some garage space cleared, but not quite ready for building a boat in yet. Previous boat Wood Duck in the background on its trailer. I moved a lot of stuff, and had a larger and safer storage mezzanine installed to get clutter up off the floor and sort of sorted and make way for my woodworking machine tools.

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2. Rough hull outline rolled out to identify potential pinch-points in the workspace. The workshop layout is still a work-in-progress here, but the new mezzanine/ and some of its supports can be seen here. I needed to do a bit of shuffling after the increase in mezzanine footprint shrunk available boat space (it was a trade-off that I knew I was making)

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3. I was visited briefly by a family of 'wood ducks' one damp day (actually a small Australian species of goose)

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4. Seven 9x2500x12200mm sheets of Bruynzeel Lloyds-certificated gaboon plywood for the hull planking

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5. 3 x 25 kg lead ingots for producing ballast-pigs

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6. Lofting the hull mould (former) shapes from the mould lofting table provided by Iain on his plans

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7. Lofted mould outlines complete. I wasn't happy with them so I did all again, from scratch (twice 😬)

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8. Station lofting complete (again), on a white-painted board this time, so that I could see what I was doing more clearly

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9. I put up some tool boards to keep stuff up off the floor (hopefully), here's the main one

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10. Being a glutton for punishment, I lofted the mould outlines for a third time... I've got reasonably practised at lofting now. The process was a real test of my patience and ability to work accurately. These are the final templates used to create the moulds from

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11. I had some help

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12. I even made four lead draughting ducks for lofting the bow and stern stem, seen here with some 1/8” K&S brass rod for their 'tails'. Moulds were made, coated with sodium silicate, and molten lead poured, followed by a whole lot o' finishing (of course - sanding 😬 , painting, sanding, painting...)

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13. Overview of stem and centrecase loftings - these were drawn out on the other side of the mould loftings board

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14. Mould templates cut out and areas for correction marked

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15. Moulds 1 - 4 cut out in 15mm birch ply. There's another four (midships to stern) moulds to go here yet. The moulds are mounted very carefully on a buillding frame

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16. I selected this board from a pallet of Canadian oregon from a local specialist timber merchant, for the bow and stern stem-laminates

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17. Setting up clamping blocks for the bow laminates, note the glue-resistant clear plastic! Specialist boat-building epoxy resin with high-strength glueing powder additive will be used as the glue

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18. Closer-up view of bandsaw-cut laminates for the inner bow stem. I used a 25 mm blade for this

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19. Bow-stem apron laminates cut on the bandsaw. They aren't perfect, but they don't need to be. Wood is carefully selected oregon (Douglas fir). The 'apron' is the inner part of the stem that the hull planks are glued and screwed onto - the wider outer-stem part glues over the top of the apron and planks to seal off the area and protect from bumps

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20. (Inner) bow stem laminates test-clamped. You can never have too many clamps

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21. Three 45 x 150 x 6000mm LVLs for building frame plus 45 x 200 for a bench

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22. Setting up to cut frame cross pieces from one of the LVLs

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And that's as far as I've got. Illness, a broken wrist, COVID-19, instrument practising and models have rather got in the way 😅. It's over 16 months since I did anything on it! My, how time has flown!

 

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Thanks @Grunhertz. That represents a massive amount of work to get that far, which is probably why I've had an extended holiday of well over a year. The horrific bushfires didn't help either.

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That's a remarkable project Doc, it would be a damn shame if you don't continue.

I must admit I've got serious workshop envy. This is mine:

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I don't thing I'll be building any 1/1 scale boats in there – I'd have trouble fitting a coracle in.

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Lovely workshop @Gorby - everything to hand, nice and compact :). I like your roof storage! The only reason that I have been lucky enough to turn my (late - we wasn't late when I started it) father-in-law's garage into something big enough to build the thing in. My previous workSWAMP before we moved was exactly that - wet (and cramped), and keeping the rust at bay was a never-ending and unsuccessful nightmare. I did at least get that boat finished, I'll put up some snaps of that if you're interested, it has more obvious woodworking :D.

Edited by Dr Loopy

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Wowsers Loopers!  Bet you got a ton of Airfix Flying Hours with this kit!
Good luck.  The Sooty Tern looks to be a beautiful boat type.

 

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58 minutes ago, Dr Loopy said:

I did at least get that boat finished, I'll put up some snaps of that if you're interested, it has more obvious woodworking :D.

That'll be good. It looks like you've got some nice planes.

Yes my hutch (I eat rabbit food therefore it was named the hutch) is compact – 8' x 12', but it would be nice to have something bigger as I have to lift the power-tools onto the bench whenever I need them. The thicknesser is the heaviest thing and I fear for my back every time I have to use it.

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15 hours ago, Michelle Edwards said:

Beautiful boat, and thanks for sharing

Thanks :)

 

15 hours ago, Walrus said:

Wowsers Loopers!  Bet you got a ton of Airfix Flying Hours with this kit!
Good luck.  The Sooty Tern looks to be a beautiful boat type.

 

Very drole :hrhr: \. I will need all the luck that I can get. She is indeed a real beauty. Fingers crossed!

 

14 hours ago, Gorby said:

That'll be good. It looks like you've got some nice planes.

Yes my hutch (I eat rabbit food therefore it was named the hutch) is compact – 8' x 12', but it would be nice to have something bigger as I have to lift the power-tools onto the bench whenever I need them. The thicknesser is the heaviest thing and I fear for my back every time I have to use it.

Small is sometimes a lot better. Ah yes - thicknessers. Deceptive beasts, them. Take care!

 

The following is a very simple boat, intentionally so by the designer(s), so that people can slap one together (e.g., in a weekend) and get sailing quickly for minimal outlay of time, materials and money. They didn't figure with an obsessive like me, however. It didn't take me a weekend...

Anyway, here's a very tiny sample of Wood Duck snaps, in a loopy sort of 'order':

1. An early stage of the process in producing this 'box wivva stick'. The inside faces of the panels have all had three coat of boat-building epoxy resin rolled on wet-on-sticky to seal the wood from water ingress. Getting it all square was the real trick, though, hence the clamps...

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2. Hull bottom and mast step. This boat was built upside down as well

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3. The rudder and centreboard blank was laminated from alternating western red cedar and Paulownia sp. strips with a relatively hard spotted gum trailing edge

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4. First epoxy resin coat on the 6 oz. glass cloth encasing the rudder/centreboard foil blank. The blank has already been shaped to the NACA aerofoil template that the designer provided for this - and was a tricky little exercise, possibly the most difficult thing about the boat other than making the sail (and varnish and sanding, both of which I came to loathe by the end)

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5. And looks something like this in cross-section:

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6. Mast head being clamped upstairs - note the plastic sheet! You can never have too many clamps...

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7. Steering gear 'cassette' with rudder foil

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8. Rudder foil in its cassette

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9. Closer-up view of the rudder cassette and foil

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10. Centreboard foil and case. The apparent 'mist' in this and other similar photos was actually smoke from a nearby NSW RFS hazard reduction burn of the bush

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11. Laminated tiller extension

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12. Laminated tiller arm

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13. Halyard end moved to throat end of yard

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14. Playing about with the halyard arrangement at the top of the mast. The Sooty Tern will have a steel ring attachment, the name of which escapes me at the moment

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15. I made the first sail for this boat myself - and had to teach myself how to use a sewing machine in the process 😬🤣. The sail was from polytarp, sailmakers thread and double-sided sail-making tape, from the lofting points supplied in the instruction booklet. 'Steep learning curve' is putting it mildly.

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16. A sunny overview of Wood Duck's shiny new sail

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17. New Really Simple Sails lug sail raised for the first time

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18. Cluttered and dangerous. I can't believe now that I managed to get that boat done without doing myself a serious injury

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19. A fairly typical view of the old workswamp - the boat is back in for repairs here after falling off the trailer 😱 . The cover that I had put over the boat was laughably inadequate, and it unexpectedly rained - a lot. A quarter of a tonne of water tipped her off balance and BANG! See also the next photo. (Interestingly, it was the paulownia framing that gave way, not the epoxy glue joins...) The mess shown here and above is precisely why I went to such lengths to sort out all my tools and so forth for the Sooty Tern

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20.. Not really what you want to see...

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21.  Part of my collection of unfinished flying model aircraft. The P-40 fuselage has since been completely dismantled (by me)...and sadly, the electric Tiggie dismantled itself as the CA glue used gave way over time. It'll hopefully get repaired one day

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22. Here's Mr Snappy helping varnish the mast. What a helpful gent :)

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23. Frisk Film stencil for the boat's name. Pity that I didn't burnish it down hard enough because the black enamel paint bled through

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24. Nearly finished. The lengths of fishing line were used to suspend the rudder and centreboard for varnishing

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25. Afloat and sailing!

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26. Coming back in on a following wind (noreasterly afternoon sea breeze) on Narrabeen Lakes, Northern Beaches LGA, Sydney, early 2012

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I was quite pleased with the way that this boat turned out - the previous one that I worked on was a stitch-and-glue Mirror dinghy that I helped build at high school rather a large number of years ago. The Wood Duck build has its main home here on the Woodworking Australia's Woodwork Forums. A Some words of warning, it is exceedingly long, probably tedious - and definitely loopy(TM)! Mr Snappy stars quite a bit here - it was his Big Moment o' Fame :D.

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Note that all of the above is all very crude - and a lot easier - to do compared with the exquisite ultra-fine fine  stuff done by @Invictaag and @Kevin , and others. My hats off to all of them!

Edited by Dr Loopy
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What I can see in those photo is definitely not crude. You've taken a simple boat design and produced something with excellent workmanship Doc. The rudder and centre-board are things of beauty and that's not a sentence you write very often. It takes me a long time to do the wood worrying but Mrs. Gorby tells me that it's because I'm a perfectionist. It looks like you are as well.

Or is it because Mr. Snappy will bight your leg off if you don't do a good enough job?

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Thanks for posting all these photos Doc. I was thinking that the Wood Duck looked like a Mirror Dinghy. The Rudder you made is a work of art, I don't think I would have the patience. It would be a pity if you didn't carry on with the Sooty Tern, sometimes a little break can help, that's why I quite often have a couple of builds on the go at the same time, I can swap between them and not get bored with just the one build. I've always fancied doing a bit of sailing, my Mother's cousin took us out on his yacht on the Solent, it was the day when Chay Blythe returned from his round the world voyage, I really enjoyed it. 

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On 14/02/2021 at 18:51, Invictaag said:

Thanks for posting all these photos Doc. I was thinking that the Wood Duck looked like a Mirror Dinghy. The Rudder you made is a work of art, I don't think I would have the patience. It would be a pity if you didn't carry on with the Sooty Tern, sometimes a little break can help, that's why I quite often have a couple of builds on the go at the same time, I can swap between them and not get bored with just the one build. I've always fancied doing a bit of sailing, my Mother's cousin took us out on his yacht on the Solent, it was the day when Chay Blythe returned from his round the world voyage, I really enjoyed it. 

My pleasure, @Invictaag. The actual class name is 'PD Racer' (PD for "Puddle Duck"), or in this particular case 'Oz Racer', after a rather silly and acrimonious 'contractual disagreement. The big difference between the Mirror and the Duck ( is that the Duck has a flat bottom, i.e., is really a sailing punt, and the overall class in fact based on the late Phil Bolger's 'Brick' (which made the stoush even more silly), whereas the Mirror , although it has a pram bow, has a V-shaped bow at the water line. The Mirror is also 11' (from memory), whereas the Duck is 8 '. Lovely to be able to see the westwards-conquering hero coming home :).

 

On 14/02/2021 at 19:00, Michelle Edwards said:

Beautiful craftmanship Sir. Thanks for posting

Thanks @Michelle Edwards :). It turned out well in the end.

 

On 14/02/2021 at 19:17, Grunhertz said:

Gorgeous work Alex 

Thanks, @Grunhertz :). I'm going to have my work cut out with this one, which might just be why I'm procrastinating over it :D.

Edited by Dr Loopy
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That is 110% superb Doc,she's little beauty and as has been said,the rudder and dagger board are exquisite.

Bloody well done.

I hope she sails as well as she looks.

I have a Girl class tug plan and all the formers to loft one of these days(I have a bit of a thing for scale tugs).

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