Hawila needs your vote to get support for the refit!

    //For dansk, scroll under//

    Hawila Project is applying for Realdania Funding to finish the refit of the ship so she can continue being a platform for culture, education and trade.We need 500 votes to be considered for this fund – and that’s where you come into the picture! Click on the link and give your vote to us by pressing the heart and write a comment about why Hawila is an important project for culture and community!

    https://undervaerker.dk/udforsk-projekter/2021/hawila-project-med-fuld-sejl-mod-baeredygtigt-faellesskab

    Hawila Project søger Realdania Fonden for at kunne gennemføre vores ønske om at ombygge skibet, så det kan fortsætte med at vores en platform for kultur, uddannelse og fragt.Vi skal bruge 500 stemmer for at blive valgt til puljen og det er dér, du kommer ind i billedet. Klik på linket og afgiv din stemme ved at trykke på hjertet – og skriv en kommentar om, hvorfor Hawila er et vigtigt projekt for kultur og fællesskab!

    What did we do to Hawila’s keelson?

    The keelson is of primary importance in the structure of a wooden vessel. It can be seen as the mirror of the keel, inside the ship, going from the stem to the stern with frames and floor timber sandwiched in between. On Hawila, the central keelson is also strengthened by sister keelsons on both sides, bolted through the frames and through the keelson, making a coherent structural unit.

    We replaced 2 of the 3 central oak pieces making Hawila’s keelson -joint between them with a 2,5m scarf- in addition to the two sister keelsons. The original Keelson was about 25x20cm, we increased the size to 50x25cm over a length of 18m. The aft keelson was very well preserved and left in place. We integrated the keelson in the bow, sandwiching it between two deadwoods at the apron.

    Before starting to work on the new keelson, we had to dismantle the old keelson and sister keelsons, which were firmly bolted in the keel and the frames. In some places the wood was well rotted, in other places, it seemed to have started a fossilization process making it unbelievably hard to cut and drill. After removing the whole keelson, we did a comprehensive bolt mapping to track each bolt hole and plan the fastening of the new keelson. In the 1980’s a second keel was bolted underneath Hawila’s original keel, trapping the old keel bolts which we could not remove and preventing us from doing much work on the old keel. As such, we chose to keep as it was and to accommodate the keel deformation on the new keelson.

    To take the measurements, the center line of the ship was established, we then made a level to work and map the future keelson shape. Multiple measurements were taken in the ship to guide the future fairing of each frame and the cutting of the keelson. We used a string which represents the top of the new keelson and took measurements to establish the way of cutting the wood. The shape of the new keelson and sister keelsons were then traced on the new pieces of 200 years old oak. Tracing is a crucial part of the process and the features had been checked with particular attention, because the dry fitting process has to be as efficient as possible. Only after accurate checks of each measurement can the timber be cut, first with power tools, then with more precise and tools. All knots and damaged parts were then plugged with dutchman.

    We brought the circa 1 ton central keelson with a crane using a hole made in the frames on port bow. The whole process had to be well thought in advance as with such a heavy piece nothing can be left to hazard. With serious preparation and great teamwork, the lifting went smoothly. The smaller forward keelson and the two sister keelsons were lifted only with straps and chains block.

    Once inside, it took less than an hour of local adjustment to dry fit the keelson which fitted perfectly, not a millimeter of error, very impressive on such a large piece with difficult assemblies!

    Once dry fitted, they are ready to be fastened !

    How do we replace hull planks on Hawila?

    Hawila was built in 1935 as a coastal sailing cargo vessel, planked in 50mm oak with length up to 6m. Planks were fastened using treenails going through the frame and wedged on both sides, the seams were then caulked with hemp, and later filled with pitch.

    The last month we replaced more than 260m of the old Hawila’s planks, some of them in still good shape of preservation and still holding strong to their treenails! On those oak planks we replaced, we chose to increase plank thickness from 50mm to 65mm, with length of 11 to 14m, this in order to add more strength and durability to the vessel. The Danish oak we used was planted 200 years ago, and air dried outside for 2 years before being fastened to Hawila. In addition, we increased the thickness of the galbord to 85mm, nearly twice the original thickness.

    In this short video, we present a sum-up of the processes used to replace a planks.

    Stay tuned, more video will follow!

    How to make treenails?

    When Hawila was built in 1935, frames and planks were fastened using treenails: a traditional and reliable fastening solution on many kind of wooden ships and constructions. From our experience, treenails present a longer lasting fastening solution than galvanised bolts in oak as they won’t deteriorate with time, but are longer to produce and harder to use.

    In this short video, we present the process we used to produce and insert oak treenails in our oak planks.

    How to fasten our frames on Hawila?

    After being cut to specification, each frame futtock is dry fitted in position: the final adjustments can be made before the futtock is fastened to the other frame.

    Before fastening, all future wood-to-wood contacts are painted with anti-fungal paint, and later coated with putty mix. This putty, also known as linseed oil putty mix- is a homemade blend of linoilkit, pine tar, linseed oil, and hemp fibers. The putty is used to smooth the irregularities remaining between new and old frame futtocks and also act as a strong anti-fungal agent.

    To fasten the frames together we use treenails: a long wooden nail made of dry oak and wedged on each side. The concept with treenails is to use the expanding properties of the wood to fasten pieces together. We use well-seasoned timber with a moisture content below 14% to make treenails of 25,4mm (1 inch) diameter. We then hammer them into a 25mm drilled hole, and finish by wedging each end. By using green timber for framing, our treenail will expand to stabilise at a higher moisture content, ensuring additional friction (measured timber moisture content in Hawila’s bilge is stable at about 18-20%). This technic has been used traditionally as a reliable fastening on all kind of ships and construction and from our experience, presents a longer lasting fastening solution than galvanised bolts in oak.

    To produce the treenails, rectangular lengths of 26x26mm are cut from well-seasoned oak planks, following the grain and avoiding knots and cracks. The wood pieces are then planed, thicknessed, and the edge of the square pieces are cut with our Felder table saw and a homemade jig. The treenails are rounded to 25,4mm using a drill with welded metal support and a Veritas 1″ tenon cutter cut at the end.

    Before inserting the nail, we coat the holes with pine tar to lubricate the insertion and act as anti-fungi.The new futtocks are now ready to be faired!

    Hawila’s new stem assembly

    In a wooden sailing ship, the apron nd astem deadwoods are often difficult to access. The stem is the part of the ship located at the very front, the “near vertical” continuation of the “horizontal” keel.

    The stem on Hawila is composed of two pieces : the outerstem -the above water part- and the forefoot -the curved junction between the outerstem and the keel-. Inside the ship, the stem is reinforced by deadwood pieces and the apron right behind the stem. The role of this structure is to add strength to the stem and make the connection between the stem, the keel, the keelson and the frames. Frames are bolted to those pieces and often deadwoods have assemblies above and below the keelson, making them hard to remove without removing planking, frames and keelson.

    Leif and Marvin, two german boat builders, came especially to help us with the rebuilding of the entire apron and modifying the stem assembly. The only piece we chose to keep, is the actual stem, which is in a very good state of preservation.

    First, Leif and Marvin had to remove the metal casing covering the forward keel/forefoot and take off the bolts that were holding the deadwoods to the stem, keel and keelson. After cleaning the surface, they used plywood templates to mirror the shape of the future deadwoods and apron. In a similar way as for framing, they chose the timber showing the best grain direction, ensuring strength to the piece.

    Pieces are cut, planed, and placed in position one by one, helped with tackles and blocks to ease the lift. Once fitted, we lift them again and use anti-fungal paint and pine tar at each wood to wood surface. To finish, the pieces are clamped firmly before being bolted with galvanised 20mm steel bars, threaded in each end by our local blacksmith. Later, when the keelson will be sandwiched with the last overlying knee, 24mm bars will be used to bolt the pieces to the keel. And finally we will carve a new rabbet all the way on the keel and the stem.

    Hawila was built as a motor sailor in 1935, and in the 80’s was heavily refitted with a larger rigging and a big bowsprit. Today this whole assembly seems too weak to withstand the forces of the foresails, and the crew had noticed a slight and slow move aft of the stem and bowsprit over the years while sailing. As a result we chose to increase the sizes of the deadwoods and apron and add a large overlapping knee to add more strength to the all assembly. Later in the process, this knee will be incorporated into the forward impact bulkhead to ensure even more stability over the years and the seas to come…

    Thank you Leif and Marvin for your amazing and efficient work !

    Stay tuned for the next chapter!

    How to change a frame on Hawila?

    After two weeks of holidays break, we are all back at the shipyard! The carpenters of the framing team started their work right away on the many frames that need to be replaced.

    Our frames are made of several oak futtocks. On Hawila, some of the futtocks are still in good shape -even after 85 years of use- and some have been replaced more recently. Therefore, we replace the ones showing rot or structural damages due to many years of service.

    One by one, the fastenings are removed and the futtocks are taken out. The old surfaces are cleaned and planned to welcome a template that will be used to represent the new futtock. The plywood template is placed against the remaining frame and cut at the right dimensions. All the necessary measurements for the new frame are written on this plywood template (angles, length of the piece, frame number, location in the ship etc).The template is then used to find a suitable piece of oak from our timber supply, we also check to ensure that we have the desired grain in the wood ensuring strength. We then can mark the contour of the frame as well as the edge angles on the fresh timber piece before cutting.

    We use a chainsaw mounted on a jig allowing us to change slowly the cut angles along the frame cut line. The chainsaw jig was welded by Sam using scrap metal from the yard, inspired from the jigs utilized by the ships Ceiba and Tally Ho. The cutting process is done by a team of two: one pulling the jig and following the cut line, the other adjusting the angle along the way. After that, the final frame surface is planed more precisely in the workshop according to the same angles reported on the template. The piece is now ready to reach its place in the ship where final adjustments are made.

    Next chapter coming up soon!