There is no great mystery to
caulking. All it takes is common
sense and a light
The biggest mistake is to
it. Traditionally, all the boat builder's tools would have been made by the
builder himself, as and when needed.
However, a profesional boat builder would
have access to a brazier and
blacksmiths tools in the
So you may at least have to buy one or perhaps two irons.
is but a plank between a sailor and eternity."
Irons can be bought in sets or individually.
Before we go any further let me say that I completely
A home made rake to clean out the old putty, One Making Iron which
bought second hand, A large screwdriver instead of a Nib Iron and An
wooden woodwork mallet.
The Dumb Iron is used to widen out any seams which are too
narrow or closely
planked to allow the cotton in.
You can widen hardwood seams with a rake but this is not
advisable on soft
wood or on end-grain such as butt seams or nib ends.
Irons, otherwise known as Crease, Starting or Putting Irons are for
cotton into the seams.
They come in various thicknesses to suit the width of
seam.This is the
one tool which you will need.
Nib or king plank irons are just narrow making irons used for
areas where a
standard iron would be too wide to fit.
Areas such as nib ends and curved seams.
Bent irons are standard irons which have
been curved to allow
those awkward places like garboard seams.
The purpose of the Hardening iron is to firm down the cotton
It has a curved edge with a groove.
But it is fatal to harden down too much, remember that too
much force will
be worse than too little.
Over caulking can lead to broken frames when the planks take
I found with Mignonne's narrow seams that I was able to
'harden' down quite easily with the making iron.
The reason for the shape of those odd
looking mallets with a
long head and
sort handle in order to encourage short taping, as opposed to walloping
I have looked at them hefted them and decided that for me
seemed rather clumsy so I prefer to use an ordinary wood working mallet.
Never use a metal mallet or hammer as it will be too forceful.
If you are re-caulking an old boat will first need to clean out the old
compound and the old cotton.
You can buy raking irons specially made with two handles which
power to remove that old hard compound and control the cutting edge so
to damage the wood.
you can do as I did and make a rake out of an old file by bending the
Sharpening the inside of the hook.
Then wrapping tape around the blade to make a handle.
However using one of these you have to be very careful not to
allow it to
wander and damage the edges of the seams.
This can be used to place the cotton in the seam.
Also handy for making a V shaped track between mating surfaces
along which a
strand of cotton can be laid.
This isn't necessary on a glued joint or if using a bedding
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