Duncan Sclare pours the lead keel for his 19ft Paul Gartside-designed cutter. Click on the thumbnails for larger images
Duncan Sclare in County Mayo, Ireland has an advantage over many amateur boatbuilders: 30-odd years of experience as a furniture-maker, cabinet-maker, carpenter and joiner. See his website here to see what I mean.
Talented and practical man though he is, I still think the story of how he cast his own lead keel this week is quite something. Here’s what he says:
‘Hi Gavin. Your readers may be interested in my project to build Paul Gartsides cutter design 163. This build is going to take some time as it has to be fitted in around making wardrobes, kitchens and other stuff I do to make a crust. I have been working on it for almost a year now with little to show exept lofting, lists, stacks of timber and so on.
‘Last weekend however work for real started with the casting of the keel. The pictures show the mould made from MDF and softwood and buried it in sand. Just short of 1 tonne of scrap lead was then melted down in an old cast iron bath. This took about three hours, but then the plug was pulled and the molten lead allowed to run into the mould. There was some singeing of timber and my hair, but otherwise it seems to have been successful!
‘The keel now needs shaping up and we can start to add the oak timbers on top. It will be great to get into some woodwork after that messy job!
‘In the background of the picture of the mould shows larch boards (planking) air seasoning and my battered Orkney Strikeliner still used for day trips around our West Coast.
‘I will keep you posted on (slow) progress. BTW, I love the site – great work keep it up. Best wishes, Duncan.’
Wow Duncan. With so much danger and excitement going on, I’m astonished you found time to take the shots! The result looks excellent, by the way 😉
See Duncan’s striking photos of Inishkea in an earlier intheboatshed.net post.
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