PIRATE SHIP - page one.
2013 was the "Year of the Pirate" for me. Everyone wanted pirates it seemed.
The biggest project was to build a 3D galleon to be pulled through a nearby seaside town (Portrush) This was commissioned by Coleraine Borough Council And Portrush Regeneration.

Here are a series of photos showing the gestation of this monster. Let's start with the aluminium chassis. This was made to my specifications, by a Ballymoney firm (McAuley Engineering) which specialises in welding aluminium. Sean Magee helped me build this Ship. Sean and I regularly work on stage sets together. Here he is manoeuvring the device into the workshop. Note the castors..

it was then a question of cladding the chassis with 4mm plywood sheets and screwing in a 12mm plywood deck.

The main problem was the height of our temporary workshop (an old lifeboat house). It was not tall enough to take the 14 feet high masts.

TIP So we devised a series of sleeves (sewer pipes!) into which the masts could slide.

The three white downspouts at the back are to support the port and starboard lanterns and the large skull & crossbones flag. Again all slid into place once outside.


Coronation Day, 60 years ago, and our town had a parade of floats. Myself and some school friends built a comic steam engine out of cardboard and scrap timber. On the day itself the local wireless shop lent us a valve radio so we could listen to the ceremony as we put the finishing touches to our contraption. That's me in the foreground, with hat in hand. Then in the afternoon we pulled this thing around the streets. (we won) 

Fast forward exactly 60 years and here I am still building a float, But this time listening on my MP3 player and using aluminium, plywood and canvas instead of cardboard. Not much changed then. Oh and I've grown a beard. 

This photo shows we also put a horizontal pipe along the front to hold the bowsprite and figure head. This enabled us to slide the section on when assembling the ship outside.

Photo shows the, slightly slanted, vertical foremast sleeve and the horizontal bowsprite sleeve.

TIP The bow shape we made in the same manner they weave coracles. We made a lattice of 3 inch wide thin ply which Sean then glued and stapled together.

I then glued and covered the frame with pieces of canvas. (Papier mache fashion.- No accents... can't find them!!)

This battle ship gray colour, by the way, is just the sealant colour.
I use PVA glue; water; and what ever tads of colour I have left to make a sealing solution. This time it happened to come out battleship gray. Very appropriate..


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