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...)

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Busy busy

No posts for a while and now three boats to build, which should keep Viking Boats of Ullapool going into next spring. The first off the blocks is an Oughtred Elfyn. This one will be my third, the last two in solid timber, this one in the lovely Vendia plank from Finland.

The decision to go for a laminate over solid was simple:any three strake boat that's not kept damp will tend to move, and most boats these days live their lives on trailers and in dry sheds, or outside in the East wind, or trailed down motorways or a combination of all of the above, which is not ideal.

Besides which, Vendia is, how shall I say, absolutely, totally wonderful to work with: don't think pl*wood, think more in terms of flawless pine, but sliced in veneers and reassembled, leaving the grain and figure as it would be in solid timber.

Having said that, due to an oversight, the planks were cut from quarter sawn Vendia, not what they call crown cut. That's a small shame, as the faering will look almost too good, without the grain and figure (and sometimes knots) that come with planks sawn through and through.

And let's not forget a plug for my favourite glue: Collano Semparoc 60. Fantastico!

The second of the boats, awaiting keel timber, is a 22ft authentic Viking boat, designed by Aidan Campbell for his Wirral-based reenactment society. This will be rather special, in that the stems have been carved from solid by my good friend and boat builder Mattis Voss, who spent five days with chainsaw and adze. Alec Jordan digitised Aidan's plans and provided full size templates which might make it easier to build, but probably not. It will be an interesting experiment in any case to see if it is possible to construct an authentic Viking boiat using modern methods. I suspect we will find that the Vikings knew better.

The third boat, also in Vendia and due for delivery next year, is a 17ft Arctic Tern, the second I will have built, the first one in solid timber again. This is a shrunken version of Iain's popular design, and at 17ft a little more manageable perhaps.

And there's a pair of spoon oars, based on a Pete Culler design...

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