Buss and Elston info please

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chris
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Buss and Elston info please

Post by chris » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:09 pm

Does anyone have info about Buss and Elston, boat builders in Watford. They built 3 international 14s to designs by Jack Holt and 4 designed by T A Charlesworth all in 1946. No other 14s
I can find nothing about them at all.
Rickmansworth is not far and that was 14 territory. Otherwise there were canals etc nearby which might have been more their line of business.
Their 14s are listed as numbers : 445, 482, 483 (Blue Peter) 484, 487, 493, 495.
Blue Peter is the one I am restoring ( and I think it is indeed no 483 but there is no number on it, screw holes on the inside of the transom show where an oval makers plate was once fixed) but does anyone know if any of the above are still around or do they ring any bells with anyone.
For any info.thanks
Chris

Rod
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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by Rod » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:55 pm

What does the Holt 14 look like? I've read about them but never seen a photo. Were they plywood or "bone" boats like the Uffa designs?

Rod M.
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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by Hotspur » Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:27 pm

Visit my blog Naval Air History at navalairhistory.com

chris
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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by chris » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:44 pm

Hi Rod,
The one I have is ribbed every 2" or so, double smooth skin, both layers diagonal and made of 1" strips. The centreboard rolls up and forward and so does not rotate around a point. This pushes the CB case far forward so the the mast is stepped on a thwart suported by twin king posts.I'll photos as I get on restoring her.
The overall shape is different to the Uffa Fox ones in that the transom shape does not curl back in at the top (tumblehome)
I don't know much about the few he built before the war but those were definitely clinker and ribbed. There is a picture of Holt sailing one in Vaugn's book on the 14.
The general shape:
14 side sm.jpg
BP and Iska sm.jpg
(31.22 KiB) Not downloaded yet

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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by chris » Mon Jan 06, 2014 3:48 pm

There is some photo distortion in the shot above. The stem is vertical.
The lower centre board is the 14. for comparison the other is off Kate which was built at this time (merlin no.1)
board.jpg

Rod
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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by Rod » Wed Jan 08, 2014 12:49 am

Interesting. I wonder how different Jack Holt's 14 design was from Uffa's. Was the I-14 one of the first Jack Holt designs? As you probably guessed, I refer to Uffa's pre-war I-14 construction; the closely spaced stringers, double planked skin with oiled silk between, as the "bone" boats. I didn't realize there were other UK dinghy builders doing this construction besides Uffa's highly skilled boatbuilding team (by 1948 the American's and then the Canadians had turned to hot-molding with Fairey Marine following soon after).
Rod M
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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by davidh » Wed Jan 08, 2014 11:41 am

Rod,

I think you might want to check some of your background there........... the hot moulding techniques went east to west under 'lend lease' rather than the other way around. To get the full story you have to look at the construction of the De Havilland Mosquito, which, given the restrictions on materials in the early years of the war, was built using extensive use of glued and moulded plywood. However, when the plane flew out in the tropics, the problems soon became apparent as the wood started to delaminate. Anyone who had had a dinghy (or yacht) that starts to 'de-lam' knows that this is no fun - at 400mph and 30,000 ft it could be more than serious.

The problem was soon identified as the glue failing to cure properly when applied over larger surface areas and various methods tried to solve the problem. At Hatfield they made the worlds first ultra large microwave oven, one big enough to take a fuselage or wing structure but had issues getting an 'even bake' (sounds like Paul Hollywood in the 'Great British Bake Off')

The answer in the end was far easier - cocoon the wing (or fuselage half - the plane was built in two pieces, just like a 1:72 plastic model) in a thick rubber sleeve and then put it into an autoclave where it was subjected to steam heat and pressure. Fairey Aviation at Hamble was just one of the many sub contractors to De Havilland (as well as being responsible for their own Fleet Air Arm aircraft such as the Swordfish, Barracuda and Firefly) and with the high level of wood working skills locally - Hamble was already well know for it's involvement in the yachting industry) the main autoclaves were located there.

Hamble River was also a major mashalling point for the D-Day Forces and it must have been more than apparent to the Fairey Family that the end was by then 'in sight'. The work on the Mosquito was a necessity born out of a situation - by 1944 it was clear that the future for aircraft lay in stressed alloy structures. Fairey's had though a major investment in the autoclaves and steam plant and it was a far sighted move by the Fairey management team, with Chichester-Smith leading, to decided that they'd go into the leisure marine industry. Charles Currey, who was at that point in charge of a motor gun boat was employed, with this effective from the day he was demobilised.

What then happened is well known, but for obvious reasons not documented. There was a close tie up between Sir Richard Fairey and Sir Ralph Gore, who was then the head of the YRA (now the RYA). The YRA called for a new one design 12ft dinghy and a deal was done between Uffa Fox, Fairey and Gore that saw the fairey boat get the nod. Just as with jack Holt and the Merlin, work was already well in hand on this way before the end of the war (in complete contravention to the Emergency Powers act).

If you look at the original plans for the Firefly, it is clear that the design itself hailed from 1938, whilst the prototype 'YRA 12 ft dinghy' was sailing from the Hamble when the river and Southampton Water were still full of military ordinance. The hot moulded techniques, along with the hardward, were exported to the US (and all the more so to Canada, Dehavilland were always strong there) and once the work needed to complete the war contracts had finished, they too found alternative uses - with marine leisure, as had happened in the UK, being an easy to exploit option.

There is so much more to the story of Faireys and how all this came about - the roots lay back before the first World War, indeed you can go back much further than that.

I was very lucky to be the last journalist to interview Jack Chippendale before he died (I hope that is not my one claim to fame) and it was very interesting to hear him discussing cold moulding - as he was doing, with hot moulding, given that he too was closely tied in to faireys. The cold moulding technique was already a well established, if expensive build option for boats and yachts and remains so to this day. Holt moulding enjoyed but a brief period of popularity before vanishing - and will remain a UK development that ;changed the game' of dinghy sailing, bringing us SMODs and true one design racing!

D
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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by rme_01 » Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:48 pm

Interesting albeit perhaps a bit off thread. I suspect it is right to credit De Havilland in the UK with the initial technology albeit by the time of the war De Havilland in Canada had adopted it and indeed built over of over 1000 of the Mosquitos. In terms of hot moulded boats I believe the US probably win with Luders building hot moulded lifeboats during the war and the L16 immediately after (there is in fact a 1946 one or sale on the web at the moment). Did Luders license this technology from De Havillands or was it all part of the war effort?

I am curious to know whether hot moulded 14s similar to the Faireys were also built in the US in the 50's. There is a rather nice clip on the web of American 14s racing in the 50's.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ureNnXe1WZQ

I had rather assumed that the ones that looked like Fairey's were indeed exported Faireys but perhaps not.

Anyhow no discussion on Faireys is complete without the wonderful clip of how to build a Firefly. I think it has done the rounds before but for anyone who missed it:

http://www.britishpathe.com/video/firef ... ing+dinghy

Robert

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chris
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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by chris » Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:12 am

Vaughan's book on the 14 says that America was building moulded from 1942 and Canada since 1945, presumably this mean hot moulded .
However The Technique of Small Boat Racing which is all about 14s has an introduction about their development in North America by Charles Rourke, who is from Toronto and he adds a bit more detail. and says that after the war they (Canada) didn't have the technology available "until The National Research Council of Ottawa..in 1946 gave its hot moulding facilities to some keen Ottawa sailors". He goes on to say that he had Conneda built to his design there , so that must have been one of the very first Canadian hot moulded boats. he mentions the help of the help of the head of Research Council and 'the ability of Jack Noonan' who may have been the technician/operative/craftsman.

He finishes by saying that The Industrial Shipping Co. of Nova Scotia built their first batch of moulded 14 skins in 1951.

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Ed
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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by Ed » Thu Jan 09, 2014 3:34 pm

I am certainly not aware of Faireys building any boats in the USA or Canada and think it most unlikely that they did.

However, they were very good at exporting their boats to the US via George O'Day and many many were.

I think more Jollyboats went to the US than ever stayed here.

I always understood that the first hot moulded boat for sale in the UK was the Merron?

again, fwiw, the Jollyboat was the first class boat that Fairey allowed mass production in glass fibre....and I believe that was to the US company: Tanzercraft.

Fairey Boats got up to #365 to best of my knowledge.....But I have heard report of two glass JBs in the US with numbers in the 800s. Make of this what you will.

cheers

eib
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Linton Hope, Fairey, was Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by JimC » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:26 pm

davidh wrote:There is so much more to the story of Faireys and how all this came about - the roots lay back before the first World War,
One of the more obvious is that before Uffa Fox Fairey aviation had ties with Linton Hope with his seaplane hat on. You all know who Major Linton Hope was I hope - pre International 14s, Raters and Canoes amongst very much else. On that topic I came across this the other day. " Small yacht construction and rigging, by Linton Hope; illustrated by two complete designs and numerous diagrams and details" https://archive.org/details/smallyachtconst00hopogoog

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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by Rupert » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:42 pm

For some reason I thought the Merron was an imported American Hot Moulded dinghy, which certainly pre-dated the Duckling.

I've no idea which side of the Atlantic the process was developed on, but I'm assuming there was a lot of communication when it came to building Aircraft in war-time, especially when producing the same design in 2 places.
Rupert

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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by Michael4 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:58 pm

While on the topic of moulded dinghies can anyone make a guess at this?

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/131088577838? ... 1423.l2649

Michael
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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by Ed » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:58 pm

You might be right.....I wasn't suggesting the Merron was made here. To be honest, I can't remember. According to the ad below they were made in London.

This is the Merron: http://www.woodenships.co.uk/small-craft/merron-dinghy/

There used to be two in Bristol Harbour Dinghy Pound. I think they were sold by someone around the Bristol area.

cheers

eib
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Re: Buss and Elston info please

Post by davidh » Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:21 pm

I always think it is difficult to say who was first to do something - as we know with the trapeze, the fully battened main, Kicking straps and many other developments, it is often 'questionable' as to who did what and when.

So, I don't want to go for an 'absolute, set in tablets of stone' insistence but all my research shows that hot moulding - as a development of the existing cold moulding techniques, was born out of wartime necessity. In the end, it starts to become intuitive, for if you think about it, simple boat moulding was probably more easily and more cost effectively done 'cold'. There isn't a great deal of difference in the labour requirements, whilst hot moulding is highly investment and resource hungry. A wartime imperative makes a lot of sense, but with planes being built both side of the Atlantic then the skills transfer would be easily achieved.

Of course, Luder making lifeboats is a nice way to complete the loop. As the 'fairey Marine' (as distinct to Fairey Aviation) brand grew, one of their new developments was a hot moulded lifeboat for the Board of Trade. To get approval involved some pretty scary tests - being dropped 50ft or more on concrete was just one way of finding out how strong the hull was. The Fairey Lifeboat passed all the tests but was a late starter and before production could start, the B.o.T had already approved the first GRP hulls, a move that ended their interest in a wooden version. The prototype lifeboat became the Hamble works 'hack' and was used for so many things that it's hard to know where to start - it was a superb hull though.

Typical of Faireys, they didn't want to waste the investment so decked the hull, put a 'pilot' cabin on and the result was the 'Fisherman' motor sailor, a slow but seaworthy, reliable, 'get you home in anything' boat. The hulls, like the other Fairey Hot moulded ones, were pretty bullet proof, they did though skip on the quality of the ply in the cabins and along with the Huntress and Huntsman, suffer lots of rot issues.

Jim C: sorry, No! The Fairey family came into the yachting scene on the back of the 'shared endeavours' to built first Shortplanes, then Sopwiths during WW1. I can certainly see that there could have been contact with Uffa Fox at Cowes as the Fairey family spent more time yachting post war. The Fairey 'development' line of aircraft, has to be seen then as a subset of their other activities, which for a great deal of the First World War centred around making other aircraft under licence. Most of their work was NOT in the RNAS but came out of their Stag Lane site - eventually this would become Heathrow, a move that netted Faireys a considerable sum of money in compensation!

However, the move to Hamble and the 'sequestration' of the Hamble Point site from Winchester College is a fascinating tale - it also sees the first operational flight of an amphibian, (launched from the Faireys slipway, took off in the river (you'd not want to try that now) and then landed on wheels in what was the strawberry fields up behind (what is now)Warsash SC. Sopwith and Fairey had their own social circle that included people such as the author Nevil Shute (Norway) and Charles Chichester Smith, but nowhere in all the extensive research that I've done (including directly with the Fairey family) have I picked up on any close tie in with Uffa.

It is more likely that Uffa and Faireys are linked in via Charles Currey and indeed, I do have primary source collateral evidence for this. Charles was to have some misgivings later on, as he always felt that the 'pinched in' transoms were wrong and that what was needed was a broader, flatter run aft. CC even went so far as to suggest this as a modification to the Firefly but was turned down on this by Chichester-Smith.

During the winter of 2011/12, I gave an illustrated talk, at Hamble, on the topic of how the aviation scene at Hamble developed - you have to remember that at one time Hamble was more important than Portsmouth in 'naval' terms. How you get to Hamble then being this amazing place, chock full of aircraft, a change that started with the ill starred Hamble Baby.... then A.v Roe, Folland, Faireys and more, is a great tale to tell. I've never had a 'sell out' evening like it, people came from London, from the Island, it was like a Faireys 'old hands' reunion.

All this and I haven't even mentioned the strawberries, though they too played a part in the overall story!

D
David H

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