Motor launch Louise is ribbed out

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Louise gets her new ribs

Hampshire-based and Devon-trained boatbuilder Nick Smith has sent us some more photos of his current 16ft clinker-built motor launch project, Louise. This time he’s steaming and fitting her ribs, a process that would be recognised by boatbuilders going back many centuries.

‘Hi Gav

Louise is now ribbed out: the oak timbers, approxiamately 3/4  by 5/8in went in the steam box when steam was up, and cooked for the best part of an hour – the rule of thumb is an hour per square inch cross section, but it depends on the moisture content. ‘Green’ – almost straight off the tree – is best.

An hour and three quarters later we were done, including a beer break to put the second batch in the box.

The next job is to rivet all the copper nails , then gunl’s, risers, knees, breasthook and engine beds.

I went to the Beaulieu Boat Jumble yesterday and picked up, among other things, a period pattern matching pair of bronze fairleads, likewise a foredeck cleat, a bronze bilge pump and deck filler fitting, all to match the era of the design.

Thats it for now, more in a couple of weeks.


Thanks Nick – I really like to see these projects progressing.

Click here for an earlier post about this project. If you don’t already know him, Nick comes from Devon and specialises in new builds in clinker and carvel for sail, motor and rowing power from 8ft to 28ft with a special emphasis on West Country style and design, and also takes on repairs and refits from 25ft to 50ft. He can be contacted by email at and by phone on phone on 07786 693370.

For some photos of Nick’s boats at last year’s Beale Park Thames Boat Show, click here. Nick tells me he’s be at the show again this summer, so if you’re interested it might be wise to put the dates 5th-7th June in your diary…

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