4th October  2012

Can you guess what this is?

It’s a longstanding Trust project.

No, we’re not building a new pier for Shireoaks.

This is the New Dawn project.
Several of our members having been working incredibly had for 18 months to build the first new Cuckoo boat for 80 years.
What you see here, and in the first photo, is the steamer. It has been boiling for about four hours, steaming a huge plank so that it can be bent.

Here the plank is being taken out of the steamer.

The cloths are not to avoid splinters, it is seriously hot and seriously long.

The plank – it is called a Stroke – is put into position.

It is then pulled back to get the curve.

A bit more shoving and it is in position.

Now it is clamped into position.

It’s incredible how beautiful the curve is.

I’m sure that you have not made the same novice mistake as I did. They are not leaving a massive gap between the strokes. By tomorrow, the stroke will have set to this shape. When the clamps are removed, it will not spring back. Then it will be put into the correct position and bolted onto the uprights. The metal uprights in the background are called Knees.
Note the yellow arrows. This is where 9″ nails have been hammered upwards – 360 of them – to keep the lowest stroke attached to the bottom planks.

Afterwards it gets wrapped up again.

Eventually, it will look like this. (Not a bad tripboat at £4 per head!)
(Photo courtesy of Bassetlaw Museum)

If you are passing Shireoaks Marina on a weekday morning, the workers are usually there. Please go to have a look and give your support. Their dedication is quite stunning. They use only hand tools. All these massive timbers have be planed by hand. The work thus far has run way beyond 5000 hours. At some stage they will have to fill all the gaps between timbers with tarred hemp. The mind boggles.