The Vendia for the 16ft Gartside skiff arrived yesterday, crown cut, 35 planks, 6mm x 225mm x 3000mm at a cost of Eur 509.25. Add delivery costs from Finland to Ullapool, a not unreasonable Eur 219.00 and, with Finnish VAT (24%) the total was Euro 903.03, around £715, which compares quite well with a quote for a similar amount of solid larch at £650, or so delivered.
First impressions are excellent, both quality and working. The top two veneers on each side (of a total of five) are what they call crown-cut, close grained pine, with a nice figure and no end grain showing. Only the middle layer exposed. This should make it much more resistance to water ingress, and impenetrable once properly clear sealed.
The scarphs I cut to make up the garboards proved a joy, with no splintering under a very sharp plane. It was like working with solid pine, with a middle layer to give an accurate idea of the progress of the scarph itself. So, it is plywood, but not as we know it.
The only thing is I will need to be super careful gluing and handling it to keep the surface pristine as much of the boat will be varnished, perhaps all to start with, if I can persuade my owner...
To that end I intend to fine sand and clear prime the strakes as they are put up, to seal them while the boat is built.