Now we’re into the amateur boat building season, a series of posts from professional boatbuilder and writer Adrian Morgan about building an Oughtred Caledonia Yawl using a kit from Jordan Boats seem particularly relevant.
At the time of writing, the latest post is here – as the project progresses you’ll have to navigate his site to find earlier and later posts.
Two quotes from Adrian’s weblog seem particularly worth bearing in mind. The first is a testament about Alec Jordan’s kits:
‘Well, Mr Jordan, the hull’s finished and that’s your job done. At which point I take my hat off to you. Thanks to whatever magic you managed to weave on your computer and cutting machines, all went together brilliantly, millimetre accurate. So well, that I would highly recommend anyone thinking of building any of Iain Oughtred’s boat from scratch to think again and buy a kit from Alec Jordan.’
And here’s a similarly fulsome point about the glue he’s using:
‘The garboards went on today and with luck a pair of planks tomorrow. Thoughts so far: the kit is dead accurate; you deviate at your peril. Unlike solid timber, there is little leeway and precious little edge setting. Which is as it should be.
‘The glue that we have been using, Collano Semparoc, is coming up trumps as I knew it would. No mixing, no mess, little waste and a curing time of around six hours. Bt it’s the lack of mixing I like best, plus it has a limited gap-filling ability. The proof is when it has cured to a hard, epoxy-like crust that is nothing like the Balcotan it is supposed to replace. Do not be fooled: this is nothing like Balcotan which cured to a crispy honeycomb that had no strength.
‘I can see this as an epoxy-beater for so many reasons.’
Well, that seems clear then… Thanks for the tips Adrian!
Columnist and boat builder Adrian Morgan of Viking Boats has been putting together a handsome Iain Oughtred-designed Tammie Norrie that is destined for a Highland estate. In fact, it’s one of two lug-rigged dinghies ordered for use guests and family on a huge private loch.
The timber is old slow-grown Scots pine from Her Majesty the Queen’s estate at Balmoral and larch from the Oban area, with oak knees etc. He’s used larch too for the steamed timbers, as he believes it is longer lasting and more supple than oak, and also for the garboards.
Read all about it on Adrian’s engaging weblog The Trouble with Old Boats.
Adrian Morgan wrote a couple of weeks ago to remind me of some treasures that I might have missed. He’s right, I need to make amends – though in my defence nobody mentioned them to me at the time!
(Note to traditional boat builders: please tell me what you’re doing, as this website gets seen by a lot of people!)
One important find was two rare and very beautiful MacGregor canoe found in the Marquess of Aberdeen’s sawmill loft a year or so ago – Macgregors are very rare and Adrian says the canoes came with full documentation. Adrian says the canoes were like Bugattis found in a barn: complete with chicken poo and swadust, they had been untouched for nearly 100 years.
Naturally, the Royal Canoe Club were over the moon and the canoes have since been restored by Colin Henwood.
There’s more about Macgregor here and here.
Another discovery at the same site was a half-rigged rowing gig made by Salter’s, which Adrian went on to restore – there’s more about this boat at Adrian’s website, but he says the colour of the Brazilian mahogany that appeared after weeks of stripping the gig was amazing. After treating the splits, liberal doses of Varnol brought the timber back from dry lifelessness to rich, deep colour.
Traditional boat builder Adrian Morgan is based at Ullapool and has a website at www.viking-boats.com and a weblog at www.thetroublewitholdboats.blogspot.com. The weblog is certainly interesting: recent posts argue for working with your hands rather than a mouse; praise the Jumbo, the Solent and the work of Fair Isle boat builder Ian Best; and appeal for plans for longish gun punts.
PS – I’m reminded that informative notes on the Rob Roy canoe are included in Macgregor’s book The Rob Roy on the Baltic, which is available from Dixon-Price Publishing. There’s also some material in the book Practical Boat Building For Amateurs.