A couple of months ago I took delivery of a group of five boats in need of restoration two of which were half hull models. The remit for the job was to repair and clean, plus to replace any missing parts required. Once I had a good look at them I decide to start with the half hull models, these were the "Nellie" an Itching ferry punt built by Dan Hatcher in 1862 and the "Alerion" built by Captian Nathanael Herreshoff in 1912. These only needed some minor repairs and some TLC to put them right mainly replacing some deck edges as well as touching up some of the paint work before re- varnishing. The mounts needed a small amount of work but I managed to preserve the original description labels to enhance the finished item only having to re-do some of the writing itself.
With the half models now completed the next job was to restore the smallest boat of the remaining three this needed a reasonable amount of work done in order to bring it back to life. The first job was to remove all of the damaged rigging and fittings before giving the entire boat a good deep clean, the cleaning process took quite a while to complete but certainly made a difference. With the cleaning now complete the next task was to make up new fittings to replace the missing and damaged ones this was then followed by replacing the rigging and the lanyards. The final task was to sort out the rudder and then re-varnish using various varnishes depending on the area to be covered.
The two remaining boats a small day boat and a ship with twin masts both were in need of some quite extensive work in order to fully restore them. Firstly I will deal with the small day boat, luckily the boats hull etc were in pretty good shape only requiring a few minor repairs including a new rudder and tiller as well as a prop plus a few new cleats and a wooden roof rail on the cabin. Once the minor repairs were completed I moved onto the job of re-fitting the mast and sorting out the rigging most of which needed replacing although every effort was made to preserve as much of the original as possible. When the mast and rigging were completed the final job was to varnish and add a few additional bits of detail eg some rope coils on the cabin roof and deck thus completing the restoration of the day boat.
The final ship of the five was to prove the biggest challenge this was down to the amount of damage to the rigging and the fact that some of the rigging was missing. So the first job was to remove all of the damaged rigging making notes as this was done for future reference, with the rigging now removed I had much better access for the cleaning process to begin. This process although very time consuming and fiddly proved in the end to be very worthwhile as it revealed a very well finished and detailed deck area as well as some nice detailing although some fittings did need to be replaced. With the cleaning now finished I could concentrate on the rigging and replacing it with new threads and blocks etc where required and although a slow process the rewards as things progress are well worth it when you see the end result. Once all the fiddly work was completed the final task was to replace the external hull fittings such as anchors and some small bits of trim etc and re-varnish to finish off the restoration.
Overall the restoration of these five boats proved to be very enjoyable as well as challenging but as with all restorations well worth it so they can be enjoyed for years to come.