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Restoring wooden working narrow boats

August 16, 2021
Restoring wooden working narrow boats

Pete Boyce is restoring wooden working narrowboats in the English Midlands at Braunston.

Fore-end of LUCY being rebuilt

Mature elm trees in Scotland are now the only source for the timber for the boats' bottom planks, which are three inch thick and seven feet long.

Four trees were felled near Mintlaw and are destined for the repair of two narrowboats, one 70ft long and the other 40ft.

Three inch thick elm lasts about 50 to 60 years underwater and slowly abrades away with the action of the silty canal water.

The boats were built in 1952 and 1948, and worked on the English canals until 1970, since when they have been used for leisure cruising, and now need their complete hulls replacing. Side planks are two inch by nine inch oak.

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