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The ApprenticeSHIP Project

Page history last edited by Alex Finnegan 8 years, 2 months ago

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In April 2008 Northumberland County Council approached boat builder and PuppetShip director Alex Finnegan asking if he could build a small boat with 8 fourteen year old students in a school in Blyth, Northumberland. Alex put together the ApprenticeSHIP Project as an introduction to boat building which needed no prior woodworking skills.


The great success of the initial project, AppSHIP1, resulted in a second project being comissioned by Northumberland County Council. AppSHIP2 was a larger vessel with the lines drafted by the students themselves from photographs of traditional Northumbrian Cobles. The student's lines drawings were then lofted full size allowing the students to begin building their own modern version of a Northumbrian sailing coble.


These are some photographs from AppShip2 in 2009



The bow shape (lower left) is mapped onto a grid



A larger grid is drawn and the stem / bow section is drawn full size with a bendy spline batten.



We decide where the scarph joint is drawn in and we study the traditional coble form a reprint of the "English Coble" available from the Coble and Keelboat Society (Alex Finnegan is currently Chair of the Coble and Keelboat Society) please see http://candks.pbworks.com



Laminating the stem which is part of the back bone assembly where planks join together at the bow (front)

AppShip1 was a "double-ender" (like the mule cobles) but AppShip2 has a transom (flat stern at the back)




The finished Stem can be seen in position sticking up on the right of this picture.

The daggerboard box is also fitted, this is the slot where the "keel" can be lowered beneath the boat to prevent the wind blowing us sideways.



AppShip2 Family evening, cutting the sheer stroke, which is the name for the top plank on a Northumbrian Coble



AppShip2 Family evening, fitting the Sheer Stroke with the inner gunnel already fitted



The top plank (or sheer stroke) fitted with the outer gunnel (rubbing strip) glued in place.




There is a hole in the boat! This is OK as the top of the daggerboard slot is above the waterline -like a little narrow pond in the middle of the boat.

The daggerboard is pushed through this slot, it is like a wing that glides through the water and stops the boats from being blown sideways.



If the wind wants to blow the boat sideways, and the daggerboard wants to stop the boat going sideways what happens to all that force?

- Well get an orange pip, squeeze it between your finger and thumb - watch it shoot out, that is why yachts can move forward without and engine.



All planks fitted and the outer gunnel glued in place, a coat of primer helps to define the shape.




Finally the stem is trimmed to length. This is after drawing out the new stem, lofting it up full size, making a jig for gluing, laminating the strips into the stem, lifting the lines with tin tacks too check and trim stem to final shape, gluing the stem into the boat, fitting the planks and a coat of paint.





The British hardwood Ash was chosen for the details like the bench seating, gunnels and stem facing piece.





First coats of gloss, through a democratic vote the class decided to paint AppShip2 bright orange.




The darker blue lines are masking tape that has yet to be pulled off, the Ash has had a coat of varnish too.



We build large buoyant air tanks into our sailing boats, so that if a capsize does happen the boat should still float.


Cobles are a beach boat - so we carried "Marvin" down for a photo







The finished boat!



Sandwiches and pop always taste better after a morning out sailing. What a brilliant achievement to have built and sailed your own boat. Well done everyone on the second ApprenticeShip Project. - Alex 2009


Making an oar



Measure and cut your timber, the appropriate saw will have at least three teeth for the same thinkness of material. This means that thinner materials need to be cut with saws with smaller teeth.

Safety first!

The hand that is holding the saw rarely gets cut, find a safe place for your other hand!




Planning the cut, stay to the outside of the line in the waster wood, practice your cutting before you start. If the saw can cut wood it can easily cut a finger off, never push directly into the blade.



Cutting the oar blanks into the spoon shape.



One oar blank ready for shaping



Finished oars ready for action

AppSHIP1 Images








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