Steve’s Boat Building An amateur’s attempt to build a strip plank dinghy

Home made fittings

After many hours of Internet visits to umpteen chandlers, it is clear that boat fitting manufacturers a) do not cater for wooden boats, and b) think that anything associated with sailing immediately attracts a 200% mark-up over a reasonable price. As a simple example, take a look at rigging screws (or bottle screws in my youth!). The price from a major chandler for a 6mm rigging screw is £24.20. An identical item from a balustrade supplier is £7.19. Both items are in A4 grade stainless steel. The only difference is the presumed usage by the buyer.


Because a home built wooden boat is about as custom-made as it is possible to get, a lot of required fittings just do not exist commercially. It was extremely fortunate for me that about a year ago my wife wanted to make a complex model for an exhibition that she was planning. Just at that time Aldi (yes, the supermarket) advertised a 3D printer for £199, and so I bought one as a surprise for my wife. Her model has yet to be made, but I have had great fun making bits for the boat.

The centre-plate for the Stornoway is 6mm stainless steel, and so I decided to make a pulley system that would fit inside the (capped) centreboard case. Having never used a 3D printer, or 3D CAD, I did an internet search and found a superb free CAD program called, by coincidence, Freecad. This is an ideal program for beginners to create quite complex shapes by merging simple geometrical shapes such as cubes, spheres, cones etc. The photos below show the sequence needed to make a frame for a pulley. These are screen-shots from Freecad.

Basic cube inserted from the toolbar.