Masala—Construction—2

6. FITTING THE PLATES—1

Left: Graham Radford, the designer of Masala, does not specify the size of the plates on the plans. The plates come as eight large 6m x 2.5m sheets of 4mm steel that must be cut up according to how the builder thinks they should be fitted. This is because everyone will have different machinery and capability as to what size plates they can work with. The only advice Radford gives is to use the largest plate size possible for the bow section. Lifting eyes are welded onto each plate so that the block and tackle can be used for raising them into position, where they are tack welded only at this stage.

7. FITTING THE PLATES—2

Right: the plate edges that become the bulwarks have already been trimmed off to the desired sheer line. Note the huge plate used in the bow section—it is yet to have the leading edge trimmed. The “dogs”, or metal bars, that are welded onto the plates to pull them in are also visible.

8. PLATING FINISHED.

Left: all plates are on but welding of the joints is yet to start. As welding progresses the dogs will be cut off and their welds ground back smooth.

The hull has now become quite rusty. This is OK since it means the mill scale, the grey scalely surface on the steel after it comes out of the mill, has been removed. Mill scale cannot be painted over, so would have had to be sand blasted off otherwise.

9. HULL WELDING FINISHED

Above: welding has been finished and the welds have been ground back smooth. Plates were MIG welded on the inside first and then arc welded on the outside (MIG welding is feasible on the inside as the gas is shielded from the wind). One rod’s worth or roughly a 20cm length of join is welded then a 60cm gap left before welding the next 20cm length. On the next pass around the hull the next section of 20cm lengths are welded, and so on. Thus it takes four passes around the hull to weld all the joins. This approach is used to prevent overheating and consequent warping of the steel. It took nine full days to complete the job.

The “bulb” shape of the keel, and the rudder skeg, can clearly be seen.