The blog will now be devoted not to boat building but to my 82-year-old Vertue, Sally II, now undergoing a well needed refit at Johnson & Loftus in Ullapool (and gliding...)

Friday, 15 February 2013

A'steaming We Will Go

Half the new timbers are now steamed in and riveted up, and the rest will be by Monday. I have increased the scantlings slightly to 15mm x 25mm as the old ones proved too weak, long term.

I am surprised at that in a boat of such quality. It always seems to be the oak timbers that crack first, followed by the planks in way of the cracks and from then on it's a downward spiral. But then as this one has lasted fine for 50 years or so, who am I to query the builder's methods.

The new timbers do look a little, shall we say, agricultural, but then I don't want someone in 20 years' time wish they'd been stronger.

One thing I could not do was to steam them in gunwale to gunwale as it would have meant removing the gunwales, so they meet at the keel centreline. This will mean building  in some of the lost strength, possibly by a series a short timbers across the centreline and riveted to one or two lands either side.

It's wonderful though to see the strength coming back into the floppy shell as the timbers go in. Restoring a boat like this is indeed like renewing a life and - not to get too romantic - you do feel as if this is a living, albeit sick, creature that is being nursed back into health after a period of sickness and neglect.

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