Hazel, Working on into the Winter

November’s weather was mostly fairly helpful, raining a bit at night but being dry and sunny in the daytimes. The team carried on with the work, doing all the unspectacular jobs required for the boat to be re-assembled properly.

The job of cutting out the sideplanks was completed and the garboard strakes have had bevels carefully planed on to their edges. The wrought iron knees went away to be shotblasted, then were treated to prevent future corrosion . Setting them up again in the boat turned out to be a tricky task. They were obviously reclaimed knees from a variety of boats that were used when Hazel was built in 1914. Getting them to actually line up and stay within the 6’10” beam necessary for the Huddersfield Narrow Canal  took a lot of patience.  With the lining up complete they were all bolted to the bottom boards, sealed with a layer of chalico. With them all re-fitted, Hazel  began to look like a boat again.Bernard, a new volunteer with a lot of workshop experience, has taken charge of the tools and quickly got the heterogenous collection of donated tools properly organised and put into good working order. We picked up a collection of huge boatyard clamps which had been left to us by a boatbuilder in Bristol who passed away recently. These have now been renovated and put into service.

Though most of the planking timber is in stock, we have found ourselves several planks short. We are also struggling to find timber with the right bend in the grain for making the knees at bow and stern. Some suitable timber for this has been collected from a sawmill near Abergavenny.  Trees for planking timber have been located near Appleby. They were being felled to thin out some woodland. We’re now looking for someone with a cheap lorry to transport the logs ( planked into 2” thick boards) to Stalybridge. What a shame they never completed the Carlisle and Taunton Canal, we could have carried them by boat.

The work has now moved on to the more exciting phase of plank steaming, bending the 2” thick oak planks round the bow and stern to conform to the original shape, which has been preserved in the moulds. At the time of writing the crucial garboard strakes have been successfully steamed to shape. These will have to be spiked to the bottoms before further plank steaming in the new year.

Anyone who would like to help with this project can ring on 07931 952 037, email theboatman@wcbs.org.uk or use this contact form

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If all goes to plan Hazel will enter service around Easter 2013.  She will need pre-arranged tows to move her about the canal system. It seems a long way off, but if you might be interested in giving her a tow some time, please get in touch.

One thought on “Hazel, Working on into the Winter

  1. Pingback: Hazel’s Progress Report | The Wooden Canal Boat Society

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