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Building a wooden Drascombe Lugger:

The hull is built from 9mm marine plywood. The frames, bulkheads, centreboard case and rudder trunk are made from 12mm marine plywood. It is recommended that Iroko hardwood be used for floors, gunwales, frame doublers and stem laminates. The decks are made from 6mm marine plywood, and the masts and spars are made from Columbian Pine or Douglas Fir, as is the inwale, to achieve a fair curve at deck level.

The forward bulkhead, midship frames, aft bulkhead, transom, centreplate case, rudder trunk and outboard motor well are all pre-cut and reinforced with hardwood or marine plywood doublers at various points, and assembled prior to fastening them to the building jig.

The rudder trunk is glued and fastened to the aft bulkhead and transom along with the outboard motor well, and the centreplate case is glued and fastened to the midship frames. The components are then fastened to the building jig using temporary fastenings. The hull is built upside down on the building jig.

The frames are then tied together with an inwale at deck level and a hog and inner stem laminates. The fair-up of the frames then takes place and the wide garboard plank is fitted.

The next stage is to plane the plank land to create a joint surface for the next plank, it is vitally important that the joints are accurate, because the hull has very few fastening in it when finished, and you cannot edge-set a plywood plank as you would a normal timber plank.
The next plank when dry fitted is then pre-drilled to take small diameter bolts at approx. 6 inch spacing, these acting as a temporary clamping system, fastening the planks together until the glued joints have cured. The whole of the boat is of glued construction using phenolic resin glues such as Aerodux 500 or Cascophen. The bolts are removed at a later stage. The procedure is similar for the next plank.

The hull is now built to deck level and a general fair up takes place, prior to fitting the keelson and the outer stem laminates. The outer stem laminates are glued together using 3inch x inch coach screws with wooden pads to spread the load; they are screwed through the pre-drilled laminates into the inner stem laminates that were fitted before any planking was added. When the glue has fully cured, the bolts and coach screws are removed and hardwood dowels glued in their holes to give a complete solid wood construction for all of the joints and very few fastenings in the hull at all.

The build has now reached the point at which the outside of the hull can be faired up and an almost complete finish achieved, even though the boat is only built to deck level with just 3 planks. The hull can now be released from the building jig and turned the right way up. The process to completion can begin with a clean up of the inside of the hull, cutting off all of the hardwood dowels which make the boat look like an inverted porcupine, cleaning up any glue excess and fitting the deck beam, carlands and ancillary reinforcing blocks.

The next stage is to dry fit the decks. When done, they are removed to allow painting of the bilges up to the deck level and also painting the underside of the decking, this makes for ease of working prior to the decks being glued and fasted down. When the deck is complete, the plank land for the top strake can be faired up, the knees are then fitted and the top strake followed by the transom return, the quarter knees, breasthook and the laminated hardwood gunwales.

The rest of the woodwork is visible wood work and particular attention has to be paid to the detail, the decks are covered in a 16oz woven roving glass fibre cloth, giving extra stiffness to the 6mm ply decking and a reasonably non slip finish. The masts and spars are made from Columbian Pine (Douglas Fir), with a set of masts and spars comprising main mast, mizzen mast, yard and bumkin.

The "Drascombe Longboat" is essentially a stretched "Lugger", being built on the same jig with a 3ft centre section added.

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