Time to Create

“All Work and no play makes jack a dull boy”

People frequently comment that if you enjoy your work, then it feels no longer like work. Working as a consultant with startups, micro and sme(b) business in Ireland,  I often see the translation of enjoyment of a hobby into potential self employment and to the creation of a micro business. Speaking personally, I would favour this transition, of making a business from a hobby, so then it never feels like work.

Whilst this blog post is not on that endeavour, I enjoy the freedom from an office. Ask family, friends, past co-workers, I am not an office person. I suffer from stagnation being in an office on a daily basis and require being released into the real world, meeting people, doing ‘stuff’

One of my hobbies from when I was a still in shorts was fishing. I have been brought fishing in the lakes in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath from when I was 5. I have enjoyed being in 19ft fishing boats out in the downpours, wind and waves along with the fair days when fishing was more productive. My fishing companion was my aunt’s partner of many decades, Mick Ward from Moyvore. He has forgotten more that I probably will ever remember on fishing in the lakes of the Irish midlands.mullingar_map_lakeswww.mullingarbusiness.com

Mick is unable to fish now and over several months, Saturdays and the odd Monday I have spent on restoring his fishing boat. The boat was left out in the weather for many years and was in need of major TLC. My first concern was to get the boat into a shed and preserve whatever was salvageable. This has been my endeavour and this is the initial post in my project to restore the boat which I have many fond memories of to a working condition. This the my story…..

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I first observed the condition of the boat in Sept 2012, and got Mick’s permission to take ownership of the boat during the Spring of 2013 and my thoughts then turned to restoration.

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Project:  Restoration of a 19ft Lake Fishing boat. Gunnels (top part) were of teak and the body of fibreglass.

Scope: Restoration of this boat

Cost: Budget approx € 500 for materials and parts. Minimise expenditure, factoring in a good condition 2nd hand boat is in the region of €3-4k. .

Duration: Open ended, this is a hobby and a challenge, no monetary gain involved, only enjoyment of task at hand.

When a project is initiated from a passion, many of the formal aspects of management are discounted and it becomes a labour of love, very true in this case for me.

My professional background: Fisherman, and school level ability of carpentry

Condition: Most of the timber that was exposed to the elements and appeared to be rotten or in a state that the safety of a user, Me, would be put at risk if these were not addressed.

  1. Perform an analysis of the timber condition; undertake if professional repair would be necessary or if I could undertake this as a hobby.
  2. Sourcing the necessary timber to allow restoration
  3. Removal of damaged timber
  4. Using appropriate tools preparation and construction of new timber sections
  5. Sand down timber & varnish
  6. Tidy up

My first step was to move the boat indoors into disused hay shed to save any further damage to the timber and protect the fibreglass from any frost damage. This was the quickest win for me of this whole project. Always nice to get a quick win under the belt. So in Sept 2012, I was able to analyse the timbers of the boat once they had dried out, which were rotten and unsafe to keep. The fibreglass appeared to be clean, no bubbles in the fibre and looked structural good.

Over the winter, I did research into the costs involved, sourcing of parts and materials and cost benefits of getting professional craftsman to restore the boat. I subsequently discarded this, as it was my project, I wanted and needed the satisfaction of saving a treasured memory.

In the Spring of 2013, with the permission of Mick, I started my hunt for materials. The primary issue was timber. The boat is 19ft long, but this is not like a car, which can be of similar length, a boat has a beam. This is the belly in the middle where the boat starts from a point at the front end (bow) and finishes at the stern (back) where the engine is attached. A typical fishing boat ranges from 17ft to 19ft long, but in terms of total length the beam is factored in, this amounts to approx. 22ft long for a 19ft boat.

In prior positions, I have been a project manager for a construction company and have project managed my own self build. So I knew that going into the local builders providers, that these lengths are ordered specially. Taking into the consideration, that most timber will rot when exposed to the elements specifically water in a short period of time, that Larch is the favoured timber of choice for boat builders. The character of larch is that it is not affected by water, you can leave it indefinitely immersed and it won’t be damaged, at least not compared to other timbers, beech, ash or oak.

Dilemma: Builder suppliers/merchants don’t stock 22ft length of timber and larch is not common and is a special order in this case. So off to my local timber yard and placed an order for 22ft lengths of larch, 2″ (inch) x 1.5″ planed by 22ft long.

I waited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . and waited . . . . . . . .   you see they have to get a tree to cut of sufficient length to supply my needs, so mother nature has answered their call.

Roll on to late Summer 2013 when my order was finally ready. In the mean time I was able to measure out all the various parts of the boat that the timber needed replacing. These sizes were also requested from the timber yard, my order numbered over fifty pieces of timber of various dimensions.

On a cold Sunday morning in November, I loaded up the jeep with my timber, the 22ft lengths draped over the front & back, securely tied and I hit the road with my delivery.

Now the fun begins. A boat not only has a beam (belly), but the bow is several inches higher than the stern. So a single piece of time not only has to bend outwards but upwards closer to the bow. This creates the problem, have to form the timber into the shape of the gunnels.

The first challenge is to form the gunnels, 22ft lengths according to the existing timber. Out with the G-clamps secure the two lengths each side to mould the timber. This I intended to leave over the winter months and jokingly delegate the work to the clamps. This is the most critical part of the project, getting the shape formed correctly will ease my work later.

While the timber is clamped, I start the process of measuring out the other pieces of timber to allocate pieces, all have been pre-numbered as per the various locations in the boat.

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All sizes are correct, but cannot cut them until the gunnels are in situ.

Now for patience and let the timber mould into shape, its too cold to be in an exposed hayshed working over the Winter.

 

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