How to build a boom, part 1


In the spirit of ‘a stitch in time saves nine’, we are in the process of replacing Eda’s boom this winter The old one is handily supporting the cover on the the boat, so we’ve been able to leave it there, and nip down to it to take measurements from it in situ.

28 cubic feet of Canadian douglas fir was ordered and a drawing of the new one was created. Just like the mast, It is to be a solid spar, made up of nine separate scarfed pieces over three layers of planks- the weight of which will be welcome when contending with Eda’s substantial mainsail when it’s filled with wind.

James and Gabriel set to planing the planks and cutting in the scarves, using a combination of a cunning method involving a jig and and a router, as well as good old fashioned chisels and planes. All four members of Eda’s crew then congregated at the boatyard on a Saturday. (All the better to spare the rest of the yard from the inevitable fumes and mess of gluing) The pieces were glued together using about 10 litres of Resorcinol resin- UV proof and, most brilliantly, you can clean it up using just water. (What a dream!)

With an playlist of 90’s disco classics expertly compiled by first mate Gabriel as our soundtrack, we worked doubly fast to apply the glue, using scrapers, brushes, assemble the pieces, secure them with G- clamps, and then attach spar clamps, happily keeping within the hour and a half long drying time. Dispite our best intentions, all four of us ended up plastered head to toe in resorcinol. A delight! Following another hour of clearing up, marvelling at how you can just mop the spills away, and re-tightening all the clamps, we had what was starting to look like a boom.

From a long stack of planks, via two weeks of planning, planing, shaping and gluing, we have ended up with, well, a long glued together stack of planks! Such is boat building!

The next stage, of course, is shaping the square spar into a round one, and reattaching all the fittings. More on that to follow soon!