On balance I would say that the thing’s been a huge success. As a process, that is, as a process. Whether the product has anything to recommend it is, naturally, for you to say.”
“The Hippopotamus”, Stephen Fry, 1994
I decided to make my own finishes for this project, beginning with an oil/varnish blend cut with turpentine. My next post is about finishes so I’ll leave the details until then.
I applied 7 coats of the oil/varnish, leaving approximately 24 hours between each, and I left the final coat to cure for a week before continuing on to the next stage.
While I was waiting, I had a chance to get all of the little final details ready. These consisted of a handful of brass accents such as lacing eyes and lacing hooks and a cleat, but also a fender eye, to which I intended to attach some decoratively knotted and spliced rope as a kind of heaving line.
A heaving line is for throwing from boat to shore when tying up, and so it usually has a weight on one end to make it easier to throw. I decided to use a Monkey’s Fist for this, and attach it to the fender eye with an Eye Splice.
Now, although I’m not entirely green on the subject of knot tying – I know clove hitch from a sheepshank – I’ve never spliced a rope in my life. It was clear that I was going to need some help.
Google and YouTube to the rescue! I found a great site for learning how to tie all sorts of knots and splices, as well as two videos in particular that helped me with the Monkey’s Fist and the Eye Splice.
Once the oil/varnish had cured I moved onto the final finish, which was a homemade wax/turpentine blend. The blend was quite hard and crumbly so I applied it by wrapping a lump in some cheese cloth, wiping it on, and buffing it after about 10 minutes.
Other finishing touches are my makers mark, burned into the back, some bronze nails affixing the breasthook, and some leather pads on the bottom.
And we are done.
This project was a massive learning curve, and if I were to do it again there would be several things I’d do differently, but as a first try I’m fairly pleased with the results. Let me know what you think.