Oct Nov 2013 Toolbox Visit

November Toolbox Visit – Ed Essers Major Project

The November Toolbox Visit was to member Ed Essers project as it takes shape at his purpose built shed just out of Armadale. As previously reported in the Nov Dec 2012 Newsletter,  Ed is starting construction of his 14m Mobjack design Herreshoff Ketch. He has purchased the 14 pages of plans from Mystic Seaport Museum and converted the original Herreshoff 3/8” to the foot scale plans from inches and eighths to millimetres. The original design was in wood but Ed has made the design changes needed to construct it using aluminium plate. The original plans are in great detail but Ed won’t be following them exactly as he will be fabricating most of the fittings and framing for the fit out himself in aluminium.


Ed is waiting for a bit of warm weather to dry out the access to the shed before he can arrange delivery of the tonnes of aluminium and lead required to build the Mobjack. However, at the time of our visit, he had substantially completed the lofting for the boat on convenient sized sheets on the workshop floor. This clearly signalled that this is going to be a very big bodied boat. Ed was also able to show us how he had made minor modifications to the stern area to accommodate a transom hung rudder rather than mounting it inboard on a rudder shaft as designed.


Also of great interest was the work Ed had done using the software package TurboCad Professional to convert the paper imperial drawings into electronic metric drawings. The package very easily allowed Ed to show us that the vital measurements of this vessel are 13.812 metres over the deck, 3.828 metres beam and 1.686 metres draft. The Mobjack will be constructed using 8mm aluminium plate welded with a MIG machine capable of using between 1.2 and 1.6mm welding wire.


Also available for us to inspect was Ed’s current project which is the tender for the Mobjack. This is a Catspaw dinghy built from plans that Ed obtained from the Wooden Boat Store for $60. The Catspaw is a Joel White interpretation of Nat Herreshoff’s classic Columbia Dinghy. She is 12’ 815/16” long with a beam of 4’ 53/8” and is designed for oar and sail… and in Ed’s case sculling as well. The Catspaw has a housing type centreplate with a lead insert to assist stability.


Ed has used red oak extensively to date for the stem, keel, transom and the ribs. The lapstrake planks will be 6mm hoop pine ply. At the time of our visit, the stem, keel, transom and ribs were completed over a temporary building frame and the first of the planks at the keel, close to being finally fitted.


The ribs had been steamed prior to fitting, a process which required about half an hour in the pine steam box that Ed had constructed for the purpose. This will be a very pretty dinghy when completed and will very ably complement the traditional lines of the Herreshoff Mobjack when both projects hit the water.



A completed Catspaw similar to Ed’s

A completed Catspaw similar to Ed’s


We thank Ed for facilitating our visit at short notice. This was a very informative and enjoyable afternoon and members look forward to future visits as this very major project progresses. Thanks Ed.