Boat builder Charlie Hussey sounds off about modern tropical hardwoods

Charlie Hussey sounds off about tropical hardwoods

The plantation-grown stuff hasn’t worked in this case, and it has led to some nasty rot and a repair job? So what is a boat builder to do? Charlie Hussey sets out the problem and discusses the issue with intheboatshed.net regular Tiernan Roe.

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Katydid loses her ballast keel, but what about her wooden one?

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Fife-built Clyde 17/19 lugger Katydid loses her iron ballast keel

I love restorations. The restorer never knows quite what he or she is going to come up against, and along the way they generally find all sorts of interesting things. An example in this case is a keel bolt in such sad condition that I wonder whether it contributed anything at all to keeping the keel attached the last time this boat went sailing.

Restorers are also obliged to make all sorts of decisions as they go along. Right now, Charlie Hussey is having to decide whether Katydid’s 115-year old wooden keel can be repaired, or whether it needs to be replaced. He’s even asked us to look at the photos and throw in our tuppences…

See Charlie’s weblog here: http://www.marinecarpentry.com/katydid/

Well, I let him have my guess, even though I’ve no idea what hundred-plus- year-old timber looks like when it’s bad compared to when it’s still ok. I think I’ve heard that an electrolysis process makes it look quite strange quite some time before it actually becomes weak, but what do I know? Perhaps Charley will give us his decision in a day or two.

PS – I’ve just noticed that intheboatshed.net is now two years old, almost to the day. It’s been quite a ride, and some would say something of an obsession. Still, it has also been fun, and satisfying too. The sharp-eyed will know that we’ve recorded almost 320,000 hits in that time, and some may even have spotted that only today we’ve scored a new record for traffic on this site, thanks to our dear friends at Duckworksmagazine highlighting the Julie skiff project.

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Charlie Hussey builds a modified peapod

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Seapod the peapod, built by Charlie Hussey

Here’s more news from Yvonne Green, principal of the Boat Building Academy at Lyme Regis – the third in a series about boats built by students while at the Academy.

Charlie Hussey built Seapod, a modified North American peapod originally based on a couple of existing peapod designs.

‘Frankly, at the beginning we tried to put him off the build,’ says Yvonne. ‘He had spent twenty five years in the IT industry, the last fifteen as founding director of a software services company. It was all a long way from working with wood and the build was not an easy one, a 15ft carvel double-ended sailing boat.

‘But we hadn’t reckoned on Charlie’s intelligence, tenacity and sheer hard work. We’re glad we were wrong. Seapod is a beautiful little boat. Charlie also found time, while on the course, to write a detailed weblog of the work he did. It’s at http://boatbuilding.wordpress.com He’s now back in Scotland, looking for a restoration job, and has started a new website and weblog, http://marinecarpentry.com

Thanks for the tipoff, Yvonne. I think it will be well worth following, and naturally I’ve added it to the intheboatshed.net blogroll, which appears to the right of this post.

Seapod was one of the best things I saw at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show this year and looking back at my files I took quite a few photos of her. As usual, click on the thumbnails below for bigger and better images. Well done Charlie!

Seapod pictured at the Beale Park Thames Boat Show

For more posts relating to the Boat Building Academy and its students, click here.

There’s a nice discussion of the peapod type in John Gardner’s book Building Classic Small Craft, which may well be available via ABE Books.

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