CODBLOG22: Combings and Mouldings

If you spend any time comparing different COD’s as I do (sad, I agree!) one of the most obvious differences is in the top Rubbing Strip which runs from stem to stern at deck level.

Originally, boats such as Kandahar and Gwalch had sort of twin Rubbing Strips each side of the top plank but over the years the bottom one has been planed away. The top ones seem to have been replaced with a variety of sizes of moulding. These mouldings have a dual function of rubbing strip and finisher for the raw edge of the deck panels. In the old days, decks were covered with canvas and this was secured at the edges by these rubbing strips.

For Gwalch we have the original twin strip arrangement and the point of concern was the appropriate size of the top moulding. It is, after all, there to provide protection for side impacts but also it has to look proportionally correct alongside the other strip. After a little experimenting a size was decided on and the mouldings were made from off-cuts from the Top Planks and scarfed to form two 21 foot lengths. These were hand-planed and sanded to the section profile we’d agreed. They were then screwed and glued to the boat. The worry about them is that they are such a noticeable part of the boat that they have got to look right. Hopefully, our work will look OK when finally sanded and varnished.

The next item tackled, also a highly visible one, were the cockpit surrounds, or Combings. The original ones we had taken off were past repair so new teak planks were sourced from the woodyard and cut to the pattern of the originals. We have bolted the combings to the carlins and deckbeams so that (in theory) they could be removed at some time in the future if required. As the four pieces are securely glued and screwed together the whole assembly should come out as one. The front panel in particular was a tricky little number to fit as it was all different angles. We had two goes at it before we got it right.

For those who sail COD’s the Combing is a most uncomfortable feature of the boat in that as you sit on the side-deck you have to sit over this 5/8inch plank. The good doctors who had Musetta restored were considerate enough to have a moulding added to the top edge to make it more crew-friendly. All COD sailors look at this with envy so we had to put one on Gwalch! Again, these were hand-made using off-cuts from the same wood as the combings. We stuck the mouldings to the combing using West epoxy adhesive and a multitude of clamps. Next day, clamps removed, we were able to plane and sand and the result is very pleasing.

I just hope that those crewing Gwalch in the future will appreciate what efforts have been made to avoid bruises on their bottoms!

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