The Keel

I decided to take another trip to the Mayflower project today in the hope of getting a look around and taking some pictures of the build.  As I spied a long rectangular object resting on some railway sleepers, one of my first questions as I walked around the yard surrounded by old English Oak was, “what’s under that tarpaulin?” I was told it was the keel of the ship and soon there would be ribs spreading out from it “Like a venus flytrap”. The Keel Although covered to protect it from the rain of a typical British summer, I was told that the keel was in fact made from two lengths of wood joined together.  Being inquisitive, i asked if I could see the join. This is a scarf (scarph) joint. Basically this joint is used when the wood is not available in the length required. I’ve included a diagram to show the joint a little clearer, but if you look closely at my pictures, you can see the diagonal join on the two pieces of wood that make up the keel. joint

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Preparing for the sternpost

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Careful with that chisel!!

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Preparing for the sternpost

One of my earlier entries showed the sternpost and described how it would fit into the keel with a mortise and tenon joint. Today, I managed to take some pictures as one of the apprentices worked on the keel, preparing the slot (mortise) for the sternpost to fit into.  The  apprentice would have first drilled several holes into the wood using a drill and wood bit, before using a chisel (as seen in the pictures) to remove  the remaining wood to get the tenon to the correct size, ready for the sternpost to be placed into it. My next post will show more pictures of the keel and hopefully, the sternpost will be in place as well. Phootgraphy and content: James Kelly.

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