The Timber Experts for Specialist Boat Building

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The Timber Experts for Specialist Boat Building

2020-08-21T10:50:25+01:00July 3rd, 2020|0 Comments

A few articles ago, we showed a glimpse of how far back WL West’s expertise stretches. From woodland enterprises centuries ago, to heritage projects and international timber trade in today’s dizzying digital age, we’ve had the honour of supplying timber for projects from landscaping to church restorations. 

But the portfolio doesn’t stop there: we do boat building and boat restoration too. We’ve worked on some of the world’s most famous warships, including H.M.S.Victory and H.M.S Warrior.

H.M.S Warrior in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

H.M.S Warrior in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

WL West and Boat Building

For 155 years, we have held and supplied specialist timber supplies for the world’s most famous ships and sailing vessels. 

Our peerless range of products, and centuries of expertise, make us the ideal suppliers for such projects but we welcome bespoke specialist projects as well, from privately-owned sailing boats and super yachts to Gloriana, the Queen’s rowing barge built for her diamond jubilee.

Gloriana

Gloriana

Timber beams (all with very specific names and purposes) are often the main axis of an interior ship restoration. We offer a variety of specialist hardwoods & softwoods with additional cutting, machining & CNC services available.

We value the worth of heritage in more than one way: sometimes, the old techniques are inimitable. To match hand-moulded skirting details, for example, we use the latest machine innovations to get a result as close to the original as possible.

Where timber alternatives are necessary (eg: if the original timber is a protected species, or nowadays illegal to trade), we work with our clients to find the closest match and application for best performance.

longboat

Doris, a long boat owned by one of our craftsmen customers. Fitted out by hand.

Case Study: H.M.S Victory

WL West have supplied timber for the restoration of H.M.S Victory since 2016. The oldest commissioned warship in the world, H.M.S Victory is where Nelson was fatally shot during the Battle of Trafalgar. During his last moments he was taken to the very deck we were asked to survey: the Orlop deck.

The Orlop deck on H.M.S Victory.

The Orlop deck on H.M.S Victory.

We were asked to assess the timber beams across the width of the vessel, from port to starboard. Over the years, deterioration had occurred, and some of them needed re-attachment. This we did with 166 high-quality Stainless Steel coach bolts manufactured by Technifast Ltd. These coach bolts ranged from 250mm long to 750mm long, designed then installed by our craftsmen.

Our team were tasked with replacing one of the beam ends. This entailed a delicate exercise of supporting the main beam, cutting the decayed part out, and scarfing a new Oak replacement (ie: bevelling the two pieces so that they fit over and into each other).

Oak boules for H.M.S Victory

Oak boules for H.M.S Victory, set aside for future gun cill restoration to air-dry in our yard.

How We Can Help Your Boat Building Project

Boat building and restoration can be intimidating for the owners, especially specialist projects that have a habit of keeping everyone involved on their toes. Each project is different, so we offer site visits to better understand your requirements.

Here are boat building products we provide:

  • Machined Timber Profiles
  • Well Air-Dried European Oak
  • Home-Grown English Ash
  • Vertical Grain Douglas Fir
  • American Black Walnut (for trims)
  • Machined Free Issue Teak & Mahogany
  • Laminated Timber Sections
  • Machined Decking
  • Thermally Treated Timber in Ash, Ayous and chemically-modified Lignia  
  • Restoration & Conservation Timbers

*UK Distribution Available*

Repairing and replacing these can be a difficult and delicate task, especially if the restoration demands exact profiling. So, let us handle the dirty work. We always remain happy to offer expert advice also.

For more information, please contact us.

If you have any pictures you would like to share of your own project, reach out to us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


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