If I was going to get set up to make more than one currach I would defo have a form that the blocks can be adjusted, would make it very handy and you have them all marked up so ya don't have to even think about the maths of it anymore.
Photo showing steep sheer in the prow of a naomhóg
We got about 15 ribs bent today. The ones through the middle part of the boat are all pretty similar and there's quite a bit of leeway in the ribs so if one is meant to be 1 inch wider than another one then it's no problem. The front seven ribs (ish) though are really different. They have quite a pronounced 'V' so that the entry of the boat through the water is nice and smooth.
Still entering mesurements into Google SketchUp to work out lengths and widths of ribs taken from various drawings and test based descriptions we have. These ribs are really easy to bend in. The bend is not huge and we steam them for a min of one hour. The next ones will be more of a challenge not to snap. So far we haven't even had one come close to snapping. We were bending three ribs at a time today. After we had set them in the form and wedged them then we left them for 5 mins to dry out a bit and then fixed them as you see below. A clamp on either side to help it hold the curve and a piece fo string across the bottom to stop it from springing out. This worked very well. We'll leave them like this for 24 hours out in the air but not in direct sunlight (they would probably crack). Tomorrow I will separate them into single ribs and allow them to dry out a bit more.
I should mention some of the main sources we are using for information. Flickr features strongly for pictures as plenty of people take pictures of currachs when in the west of Ireland. We are also using a book written by Hornell in 1938 which is available here http://currachs.thisbetterworld.org/British_Coracles_and_Irish_Curraghs.pdf
I recently bought this book also http://www.amazon.com/Traditional-Boats-Ireland-Folklore-Construction/dp/1905172397 which is a great read .. very indepth and lot of maritime history in there too. And there is also http://www.kayarchy.co.uk/html/01equipment/012acurragh.htm although you should be careful with this one if your intention is to build a Kerry currach as this refers to an Aran currach which is quite a bit different. Some of the info on there is quite useful though.
Although this info might seem a bit haphazard as this blog goes on, when the boat is finished we will piece it together into a very clear step by step guide. The blog will serve it's purpose to show ya where we made all the mistakes along the way. The synopsis at the end will make it seem like we knew exactly what we were doing all the time!!
We have decided on spruce or Douglas fir for the gunnels, went looking for some today but it was all knotty construction grade stuff and we would like to get something a bit better .. should have more info on this problem in the next couple of days...