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Making a Gunning Punt and Punt Gun


Wildfowler
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It's looking great. Will you paint the outside in ocean camo colours ?

 

Also, are you going to fit any solid buoyancy ? That gun is going to weigh a bit, be a shame to lose it ( and you ) if some muppet hits you in poor light.

I'm trying to stay as close to original as possible but use modern materials, hence the red inside as a homage to red lead paint. The outside will be Atlantic / battleship grey but as i have fibreglassed the outside i can gelcoat it so it will be very hard wearing and properly water proof.

The gun will have a buoy attached to it, if for any reason the boat overbalances the gun can go in and i can retrieve it later in a larger boat. I do however plan to close off the front end of the boat with an airtight hatch so as to buy a little time in the event of a catastrophe. I might also put some small flotation bags right up the stem and stern....

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I am good (ok) with wood you sir are a genius. I wish I had the time dedication (and money) to achieve something half as good

Many thanks! :blush:

Time has been an issue. I started building the workshop in February and the punt back in June so progress has been OK but most of the work is done from about 7:30 to 10 at night so as to not impact on the kids... As for money, the punt has been quite reasonable compared to buying a second hand one ;)

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Interesting to see that you`re using a red painted interior to replicate red lead. I`m in the process of assisting with the renovating a big 23 ft. double hander.

 

We`re about to tackle the interior but will be using the method traditional to this area which consists of painting the inside with a heated mixture of tar and bitumen. It fills up a lot of those irritating little leaks, protects the wood and is extremely hard wearing.

 

Respectfully, whatever you do, don`t build a watertight compartment into either the bow or stern. The stern bulkhead or bouyancy bags will prevent you from getting your feet as far aft as is possible, vital when propelling the punt,and the foredeck bulkhead will seriously compromise the usable space in the punt. You`ll soon discover that there is never enough room in a punt and you`ll curse the day that you lost the space you did with compartments.

 

Furthermore,a built in closed bulkhead may well lead to problems with condensation, damp and rot. Might I suggest that, if you feel the need to experiment with bouyancy aids, fill the space under the foredeck with gallon, screw top plastic containers. You can fit in enough to give significant flotation but can easily remove them when you feel more confident in your punts seakeeping qualities and you grow tired of untangling yourself from oars, setting poles,cripple stoppers,spare clothing, torches and thermos flasks,occassionaly, dead birds and the magazine which you have nowhere else to store in an already overcrowded cockpit.

 

If it`s any consolation, it is very difficult to capsize a punt and they will take a lot of surprisingly heavy weather before sinking.

Edited by mudpatten
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Interesting to see that you`re using a red painted interior to replicate red lead. I`m in the process of assisting with the renovating a big 23 ft. double hander.

 

We`re about to tackle the interior but will be using the method traditional to this area which consists of painting the inside with a heated mixture of tar and bitumen. It fills up a lot of those irritating little leaks, protects the wood and is extremely hard wearing.

 

Respectfully, whatever you do, don`t build a watertight compartment into either the bow or stern. The stern bulkhead or bouyancy bags will prevent you from getting your feet as far aft as is possible, vital when propelling the punt,and the foredeck bulkhead will seriously compromise the usable space in the punt. You`ll soon discover that there is never enough room in a punt and you`ll curse the day that you lost the space you did with compartments.

 

Furthermore,a built in closed bulkhead may well lead to problems with condensation, damp and rot. Might I suggest that, if you feel the need to experiment with bouyancy aids, fill the space under the foredeck with gallon, screw top plastic containers. You can fit in enough to give significant flotation but can easily remove them when you feel more confident in your punts seakeeping qualities and you grow tired of untangling yourself from oars, setting poles,cripple stoppers,spare clothing, torches and thermos flasks,occassionaly, dead birds and the magazine which you have nowhere else to store in an already overcrowded cockpit.

 

If it`s any consolation, it is very difficult to capsize a punt and they will take a lot of surprisingly heavy weather before sinking.

 

Interesting to hear about your assisting in the renovation of a punt. When was it originally made and of what material is the construction?

Regarding the interior, as the punt is based on the RPG design I plan to finish it as close to his spec as possible. So I quote:

'Coats of Paint.—Two of red lead on floor, inside and out (black varnish is heavy, and weeds and gravel will at times stick to it) ; two coats under decks, two on sides (inside, red lead; outside, dull white) ; one of white on decks. This allowed to dry, then another, and the shrunk linen stuck down on it at once, and smoothed out. Two thick coats outside linen, or perhaps three thin ones well brushed in.'

 

I believe the 'black varnish' refferd to is basically a bitumen / oil based mixture.... not so good according to RPG, but i suppose what is best is down to personal preference. I understand your comments regarding it filling up those irritating leaks, however as my punt has been constructed using modern materials and the joins have been cut to better than millimeter perfect, glued and screwed together, fiberglassed and then gelcoated, there is no need to fill gaps....

 

Perhaps i should have been more specific in my comments regarding the airtight bulkhead. This will not be permanently air tight. I plan to fit a 'hatch' into the frame of the gunbeam that is removable to allow access and storage for the mast etc, but when the punt is under power, be it by sail or oar, the hatch panel can be secured into place to give added safety. I guess the flotation bags i mentioned earlier would serve much the same purpose as your suggested gallon cans, i.e easily removable, all be it a little more refined.

 

I appreciate that the space in a punt is tight to say the least, as such I plan to build in some additional storage under the side deck as this is essentially wasted space. Hooks to secure setting poles and cripple stoppers can be fitted with relative ease and will stop them sitting on the floor in the way and also avoid putting everything up under the fore deck.

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Good to hear that you don`t intend to fit permanent bulkheads and that you will be utilising the space under the side decks which makes very good sense. Don`t know what your view on it is but the compartmented wooden "magazine" that RPG describes is another space waster. A simple, low wooden seat will suffice if you actually need something to sit on, and all the other gear is best carried in a small waterproof duffel bag which, having no rigidity, can be stuffed into any small, irregular, spare space under the foredeck.

 

As you know I have a number of issues with RPG. He never actually built any of his own punts. All his punts were built by Stephen Pickett of Southampton, a well known boat builder of the day who was himself a puntgunner. Picket worked in Southampton and his own punts were of the typical South Coast design which had been perfected almost a hundred years beforehand.

 

RPG got Pickett to abandon many of his own familiar and tested design and construction methods to employ those "invented" by RPG without any practical testing and which were written about by RPG and subsequently became the industry standard.

 

Picketts punts were all coated both inside and outside, on the bottom, with a bitumen/tar mixture which does not, in fact,behave as RPG describes. It quickly dries to a hard surface to which nothing sticks. In fairness though,he may have been talking about plain pitch and not a material mixed with bitumen.

 

Our punt was built in 1947 by Harold Pycroft of Hayling Island and incorporates some of the design features, originally taken from south coast punts and subsequently developed by Christopher Dalgetty and Peter Scott, both of whom regularly shot with Harold in Chichester and Langstone Harbours before and after the war.

 

It was built of larch, the wood coming from a demolished pier since timber was still stricktly rationed in `47. Interestingly, it has about half the number of ribs that RPG suggests and confirms something that Hawker suspected, which is that we often build our punts many times stronger than they actually need to be. Our punts use iron outriggers in place of your wooden blocks. It enables the use of a much longer oar which means they can be rowed very fast and with greater mechanical efficiency. They also use an iron "kicking strap" to take the breaching rope which keeps it out of the water, rather than a hole through the bow which does`nt, and which incorporates the fixed forward gun rest.

 

I`ll try and get some pics on here if you`re interested.

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Good to hear that you don`t intend to fit permanent bulkheads and that you will be utilising the space under the side decks which makes very good sense. Don`t know what your view on it is but the compartmented wooden "magazine" that RPG describes is another space waster. A simple, low wooden seat will suffice if you actually need something to sit on, and all the other gear is best carried in a small waterproof duffel bag which, having no rigidity, can be stuffed into any small, irregular, spare space under the foredeck.

 

As you know I have a number of issues with RPG. He never actually built any of his own punts. All his punts were built by Stephen Pickett of Southampton, a well known boat builder of the day who was himself a puntgunner. Picket worked in Southampton and his own punts were of the typical South Coast design which had been perfected almost a hundred years beforehand.

 

RPG got Pickett to abandon many of his own familiar and tested design and construction methods to employ those "invented" by RPG without any practical testing and which were written about by RPG and subsequently became the industry standard.

 

Picketts punts were all coated both inside and outside, on the bottom, with a bitumen/tar mixture which does not, in fact,behave as RPG describes. It quickly dries to a hard surface to which nothing sticks. In fairness though,he may have been talking about plain pitch and not a material mixed with bitumen.

 

Our punt was built in 1947 by Harold Pycroft of Hayling Island and incorporates some of the design features, originally taken from south coast punts and subsequently developed by Christopher Dalgetty and Peter Scott, both of whom regularly shot with Harold in Chichester and Langstone Harbours before and after the war.

 

It was built of larch, the wood coming from a demolished pier since timber was still stricktly rationed in `47. Interestingly, it has about half the number of ribs that RPG suggests and confirms something that Hawker suspected, which is that we often build our punts many times stronger than they actually need to be. Our punts use iron outriggers in place of your wooden blocks. It enables the use of a much longer oar which means they can be rowed very fast and with greater mechanical efficiency. They also use an iron "kicking strap" to take the breaching rope which keeps it out of the water, rather than a hole through the bow which does`nt, and which incorporates the fixed forward gun rest.

 

I`ll try and get some pics on here if you`re interested.

pics would be great!

so who actually owns the punt? do you have your own???

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I own half of the punt. We havent yet decided if the front or the back half is mine.

 

I`ve owned a number of punts over the past forty years but am now in the ideal situation, apart from owning half of this double, of being the "gunner" half of two pairs of punters without actually having all the aggro of owning any of the punts myself.

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I own half of the punt. We havent yet decided if the front or the back half is mine.

 

I`ve owned a number of punts over the past forty years but am now in the ideal situation, apart from owning half of this double, of being the "gunner" half of two pairs of punters without actually having all the aggro of owning any of the punts myself.

I guess if you're the gunner you own the front half? :hmm:

Anyway, back to your comments regarding RPG.... I know we have broached this subject before but your 'issues' with RPG are still unclear?

Is it that he didn't build his own punts or that he got Pickett to build to his designs rather than the traditional South coast designs Pickett was used to constructing?

 

With respect, I'm not sure what to make of your comments:

'Picket worked in Southampton and his own punts were of the typical South Coast design which had been perfected almost a hundred years beforehand.

RPG got Pickett to abandon many of his own familiar and tested design and construction methods to employ those "invented" by RPG without any practical testing and which were written about by RPG and subsequently became the industry standard.'

 

At one stage the method of loading and detonating a shotgun was to push the load in from the muzzle and use a hammer to detonate it. At that time the design was 'perfected' as it performed it function. A clever chap then thought that loading a cartridge from the breach would be more practical... at one point this was 'untested' yet it went on to be quite popular! (you find me a gunsmith making modern muzzle loaders on an industrial scale). This was then once again 'perfected'...

Another clever chap came along and thought that detonating said shotgun cartridge using hammers was not such a good idea, so he invented the hammerless shotgun. Again, at one point this was 'untested' yet it went on to be quite popular! (you find me a gunsmith making modern hammer guns on an industrial scale). This was then once again 'perfected' and became the industry standard, yet the item is still a shotgun and still performs its primary function! It's evolution of a concept, a different approach to a problem..... Progression!

 

So why did the RPG design become the 'industry standard'? as it is quite unusual for a drastically floored design to become popular if there is something better about??? :hmm:

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Got the top decks fitted last night. Just got to plane the edges flush with the hull and fit the rubbing strip then it can be fiberglassed again.

This pic is from the back of the punt.

 

 

This is from the front

 

With the wife's Dyson in the background :w00t: As i said, i have a very understanding Mrs!

 

Edited by Wildfowler
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I am mightily impressed with the quality of your workmanship. It makes the one I`m working on look desperately rough.

 

In short, RPG was a bit of a fraud. He had little or no experience of either building or working a punt. Where he did score was in the fact that he wrote a well illustrated book which,in the days before the internet and as we discussed previously,was pretty much the only reference source if you did not come from a coastal area with a long tradition of punt gunning.

 

If I wanted to buld a punt I`d go and look at the many local examples and select the best features from each. If you can`t do that you are left with one readily available source, Payne Galwey. RPG committed his thought to print. No one from the area which was puntings birthplace did. It was as simple as that.

 

From RPG`s diaries it would appear that he visited Pickett in Southampton just once. All the rest of their correspondance was by letter. It seems that RPG never said to Pickett," You`ve been building punts all your life, do you have any thought on their design?" He just seems to have said "Build this". And produced a set of plans conjured from the recesses of his mind rather than from any kind of practical experience.

 

He did the same with mud pattens, his are dangerous and ignore the fact that a simple and effective design already existed, he rove his breaching rope through a hole in the punts bow when a better method existed.( See page 60 of this edition of the BASC magazine.) and he introduced us to trunnions on the gun when the great majority of preceeding guns had been built with an under barrel loop.

 

I don`t have any issues with progress, but RPG set technical aspects of punting back fifty years by sending novice gunners off down a route which, instead of being a logical progression of ideas refined from practical experience,were things he thought up on the spur of the moment.

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I've just finished planing and sanding off the edges flush with the hull. Now ready to fit the rubbing strip. Unlikely to get much more done now until the weekend. :no:

 

 

 

 

As you can see in these pics, the workshop is well overdue a clean up! Will do it before i glass the top decks!

 

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In this age of computer aided design, robotic controlled manufacturing, CNC machining etc it is amazing to see something as beautiful made in the back garden in someone's shed!! Just shows what people can do - I just wish I could cut a piece of wood straight - let alone produce something like this. Well done Wildfowler.

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