We’ve had a couple more meetings together to work on the curach project which is coming along nicely. To bend the hazel couples into shape for the ribs we discussed the use of steam and bending formers. As the width and depth of the curach change over it’s length each pair of rods needs a slightly different curve so I suggested instead that we simply pre-flex the rods in the area of the bend and then shape them by hand and eye.
This worked well and with a little practise we had a good system for fitting the couples and adjusting them to match the existing pairs. It’s a two person job at least, one to bend and adjust the rods and another to sight down the boat. Much better is to have three people so that two can wrestle the couples together. The advice to look for ‘light and fine’ rods is dead right as they allow much smoother bends to be made and once coupled up are strong enough. An invaluable aid was a pack of heavy duty reusable zip ties that were perfect for clamping the couples together quickly and tightly. This part of the build, to master bending the rods smoothly, set the depth and shape of the boat as well as working to achieve sweet smooth lines along the hull is undoubtedly the most difficult and a steep learning curve. We thought of a few improvements to the techniques which we’ll use on the next curach.
The next stage is to bend more rods in for the stern and lash them, the couples and the sawn lath stringers in place.