The Dory Shop

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada | (902) 640-3005 |

Stories from the The Dory Shop

How to give a Concordia Yawl a Facelift 4

A very big and tricky job has been replacing the keel and keelson. The long elaborately shaped chunk of wood that was there of African mahogany was still a very strong piece of timber, but it was what we call ‘iron-sick', meaning that wherever an iron/steel keel bolt went through it was decayed the way wood gets around rusted iron. Not rotten but pretty chewed up. We wanted to remove it as intact as possible, though, as the original would serve as the perfect pattern for the new one with all its curves and angles. It really is quite an elaborate set of shapes and angles. We could not find African mahogany, so we went with Angelique. We maybe could have laminated up some mahogany, but we want this keel timber to be one piece of durable tropical hardwood. Not a bunch of pieces glues together, as effective as that can be sometimes. Teak would have been nice, but we got a nice big piece of Angelique from our friends Gannon & Benjamin at Martha's Vineyard. Same stuff that the new rebuilt Schooner Bluenose II is made of. Angelique is tough stuff. Pretty hard on tools though – it even sparks when you cut it sometimes. Hell on chisels, but will make one helluva strong, long-lasting keel.
old new keelson wood for concordia yawl

Angelique is a pretty durable sort of wood and is highly rot-resistant. It adapted itself to fight off the bugs in the jungles of the tropics that like to eat wood in the warmer parts of the world where Angelique grows. Essentially, it has its own natural pesticides within it. Natural pesticides that require much cutting of red tape before they can be imported into most countries in the world. We are in Canada, and we purchased it from the USA. NAFTA wasn’t much good in this case. So there was red tape to get it out of the USA and then even more red tape to get it into Canada.  A lot of drama to get into the country, and a lot of drama to carve. It is one very, very dense hardwood. Very difficult to hand carve. Mike was not to be stumped. He worked long and hard to carve out an exact reproduction of the original, seen in the photo below.  (Have I mentioned how much we respect and admire his expertise and experience around the Dory Shop Boat Yard?)
keel keelson angelique concordia yawl Keel Keelson Dory Shop Concordia YawlBallast Atop Keelson

In addition to the bigger, more obvious parts of the project like the ones I've spoken to so far are, of course, the many smaller jobs. For instance, the mast step. TOSCA needed a new one, and Mike and his assistant Patricia had no problems building this little beauty.
making of a mast step

It's a great thing - to come down to the Dory Shop yard and see what they are up to. Don't get me wrong: while there are many days when they are very happy to show off what they've been up to; there are also the other days when they are immersed in their work and the interruptions aren't exactly met with smiling faces.  They tend to be fairly good at putting up "at work" and "keep out" signs when they really don't want company slowing them down. And good at growling too.