This intriguing email dropped into my inbox: ‘I have a toy yacht of my dad’s that is missing its mast and rigging, lost years before I was born. I am looking to see if it can be restored.’
The photographs revealed a very down on its luck model……
And further correspondence gave more background: ‘There’s no evidence of what it looked like when complete. I know my dad didn’t build it. It must be at least 80 years old for him to have had it as a child.
My grandfather (an experienced carpenter) repaired a smash in one side (cause unknown) and painted it about 35 years ago. The repair is shown through the hatch in the photos. There’s metal plate and some kind of filler/bulk adhesive involved. There’s also what looks like a half-attached original metal handle inside the hull, which has always puzzled me.’
Beneath all this was a fine looking hull crying out for restoration. The challenge was accepted! The metal handle, by the way, was for lifting the model out of the water & it sits roughly on the point of balance. Good job it was up for repair as when the handle was removed it was seen to have all but split & would have failed with dramatic results the next time a lift out of the water was tried!
First task was to strip the hull & see what I’ve got…..
Despite the repair the hull was in a fragile state. A lot of the ribs had parted from the planking due to nail rot. Why use steel in a wet environment? The next step was to clean up the wound….
Reconstructive surgery next….
Painting the hull was the next step……..
One slight unexpected challenge encountered was the keel decided to start to part company with the hull when it was stood upright on the new stand! Investigation revealed that the keel wasn’t sat on the stand, there was a small gap. The keel is extremely heavy & the hull very weak with age and it would seem that the original steel screws had more than likely corroded through. As this would be the first time for many a year that the hull was standing upright rather than lying on its side it would seem the strain was too much. A repair was undertaken, but I think the days of sailing are over as the strain on the hull would be too much.
The next big job is the manufacture of the main mast, boom & sails…….