Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Shiny Shamrock

With the fitting of the last of the chainplates delayed until an order of freshly manufactured coach bolts arrive Shamrock is being prepared to be exposed to the elements.
  • The covering boards, bulwarks, capping rails, wash strake and cargo hold coaming have all received a coat of black gloss. 
  • The starboard hull to the waterline and the transom have been coated with bitumen roofing paint. 

  • Forward companion way and after deck house coamings have been sanded and primed.
  • The decks have received two good coats of a mixture of boiled linseed oil and paraffin, rain that gets through Shamrock's cover now bead of the deck. 
  • Warping horse undercoated.   
  • Layers of old bitumen being scraped off her original port side hull planks.

Saturday, 24 August 2019


After consulting old photos, checking the location of bolt holes in the ceiling boards and groves in the old covering boards the positions of Shamrock'schainplates” has been determined and they are now in the process of being bolted in place.

Access to Shamrock's lower deck has been made a lot easer with the replacement of her repaired and freshly painted hold ladder.

The heartwood for Shamrock's new keelson and false keel has been delivered. After extending and clearing the original ‘wood store’ attached to the Northern side of the boat shed, the remaining timbers from her repairs to date have been sorted and stacked.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Phase One

The end of phase one of Shamrock's current conservation program is approaching. The fitting of the two aft wash strake planks being the last of the large sections of timber to be completed and this means she is structurally complete. There remains only some finishing touches plus a lot of cleaning and painting to be carried out.

The false keel and keelson of Shamrock are due to be renewed in the next phase. The missing centre sections of deck planks, which were not fitted to enable access to the keelson, are being covered with plywood to insure Shamrock is water tight when her temporary cover is removed.

Caulking and tarring of all the fitted deck planks has been completed thanks to Mark.

After over 18 months of working under Shamrock's cover there has been a rare sighting of ‘Shuggs’ with a broom!

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Joe's Retired

Staff and volunteers from Cotehele said farewell to Joe Lawrence and wished him a happy retirement at the “Summer Hog Roast” on Friday 26th August. Leaving after 32 years at Cotehele Joe was presented with various gifts including a photo album of his time at Cotehele, he also cut the Shamrock themed retirement cake. As a way of saying thanks for all the work he has put into Shamrock, Shaune and his volunteers also presented Joe with a half model of Shamrock mounted on elm recovered from her old covering boards during the current conservation.


Work on the wash strake is continuing with two 32 ft. (9.75 meter) planks of European larch reduced to 1.75 inch (44 mm) x 7.5 inch (190 mm), which were steamed to shape, scarfed at the ends, clamped into place on each side capping rail and then through bolted. Two more to go!

In the boat shed the cargo hatch coaming ‘dog cleats’ have being cleaned and given a coat of galvanise paint after being recovered from the wood store.

The cargo hold access ladder has been checked and the three steal bracing rods replaced with stainless steel threaded bar, the previous ones suffering from severe corrosion.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

July Update

Shamrock's latest progress report.

Fore deck and both side decks caulked and tarred. Aft port side caulking and tarring started after being cleaned and sanded.

Cargo hatch.
Two lines of a combination of old and new steal rubbing strips fitted to inner faces of both sides. Old hatch boards fitted, checked and adjusted as required.

Where the bulwark stanchions slot through the covering boards, especially the cargo gate stanchions, was an area where water leaked into Shamrock resulting in the large amount of the wet rot found during the current restoration. To insure a better seal, after caulking and tarring the slots, Shaune has made moulds, poured tar around them building up the seal above deck level and finally rounded the edges off with a hot knife. Completed: fitting, plugging and priming of the starboard bulwark side planks. The port side planks are currently in the process of being fitted.

Three out of the four of the cavils have been fitted. Oak stern fairleads now completed. Work has started on the wash strakes with the both fore sections being cut from oak these will have the fairleads cut into them replacing the stag horns and matching the stern fairleads.

Sunday, 7 July 2019

Stop Press

A recent survey of Shamrock's, below the waterline hull, revealed that it's still sound, so the decision has been made to complete the current restoration before floating her off. Shaune and Shuggs had a successful day at an Exford timber merchant checking on reclaimed ‘Greenheart’ wood for the replacement of Shamrock's oak false keel and keelson. Greenheart is an extremely dense durable timber and is one of the few timbers which has a long lifespan when used in a marine environment, making it perfect for Shamrock. The reclaimed greenheart originated from Portsmouth dockyard.

Oak stern fairleads are being cut to replace her existing stag horns as an early photo of Shamrock alongside in Penryn confirms she originally had wooden fairleads.

Mark has now escaped from under Shamrock and is busy sanding, caulking and tarring her decks, he has completed the foredeck and made a start on the starboard side deck.

Paying the seam.
The crew has been busy cleaning Shamrock's oak cavils ready for refitting, priming her bulwark stanchions, covering boards, capping rails and hatch coamings.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Lower Hull Planks

Mark has spent the last few weeks in the mud under Shamrock renewing the caulking of any suspect bottom hull plank seams. He has also power washed and scraped these planks ready for a coat of bitumen paint, none of them easy jobs.

Shamrock has been out of the water since October 2017 and needs to be back in the water to prevent her ‘below the waterline’ elm hull planks completely drying out. As her false keel and keelson still need to be replaced, the centre section, approximately 4 ft. (1.2 m) of deck planks, are not going to be replaced until after this work is completed. The newly laid deck planks are being cleaned of 'black butter' (bituminous mastic), sanded and the inboard edges braced ready for caulking. Once caulked the centre gap will have a temporary watertight cover fitted. Shamrock will then be floated off her cradle and returned to her dock. While Shamrock is soaking, the cradle will be modified ready for her to be hauled out later in the year. Work can then be started to complete the second phase of her current conservation work.

To make Shamrock's hull more pleasing to the eye, Shaune, the perfectionist, has started hardening the seams of the upper hull planks using a hot iron.

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Chief Plugger

Joe Lawrence, who has recently handed over his role as Cotehele Head Ranger, is now working on Shamrock until his retirement at the end of July. Joe who pushed for Shamrock's current conservation program, sources most of the wood and materials required and is also currently assisting in the cutting, fitting and paring of the hundreds of wooden plugs. These are required for Shamrock's deck and hull planks.
  • To stiffen the deckhouse side decks, four support straps have been fitted between the ‘beamshelf’ and the deckhouse coaming support beams. These are slightly larger than the side deck straps, and to allow for the deck camber the outer ends are ‘tenon-jointed’ into the ‘beamshelf’ and the inner ends dropped into shoes fixed to the coaming support beam.

  • After being moved back onboard the forward companionway and aft deckhouse have been fitted to their respective coamings.

  • Another twelve deck planks have been cut, shaped and are in the process of having their underside painted.
  • The extension on Shamrock's temporary cover is now down, with the main structure due to be removed within the next few weeks.
  • Painting of Shamrock has been in abeyance for over a year, due to all the work being carried out, so the crew have started priming the covering boards, bulwark stanchions and capping rails. This is the first stage of some protracted ‘Paintbrush’ activity.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Side Decks

The latest news from Shamrock.

  • The laying of both port and starboard side deck planks, up to the cargo hold hatch coaming, has now been completed. After completion it was found that both of the side decks had a spring to them when walked on. So, to stiffen them, a total of eight Oak straps of 4 in (100 mm) x 2 in (50 mm) have been fitted to the underside of the decks at evenly spaced distances between the ‘hanging knee’ supported half beams. The outer ends are tenon-jointed into the beamshelf, and the inner ends coach screwed to the underside of cargo hatch coaming. The deck planks were then ‘coach’ screwed onto the straps. The extra stiffness will reduce the plank movement that can be compromising to the water-tightness of the caulked seams.

  • Fitting of the fore deck planking has started and is progressing well.
  • Both the forward companionway and the aft deckhouse coamings have been completed and bolted into place. The companionway and deckhouse now need to be removed from storage to check if they fit correctly.