Restoration: Reading Clues for Restoration


Restoring planks is particularly difficult on a clinker-built boat. After all, the strakes partly cover each other and are fastened to each other. If only small part of a plank is rotten then the boat builder can cut away the bad part and replace it with great care. However, if a larger part of the wood is rotten then more wood has to be replaced – for a clinker-built boat the chance is higher that in such a case a number of planks will have to be replaced at the same time in order to retain the cohesion of the boat. If the wood is seriously damaged in many places then it may be inevitable that all of the wood has to be replaced.


In the case of the mussel boat ‘Nieuwe Zorg’ it turned out that the majority of the original wooden boat was rotten and that all of the wood had to be replaced. In this case the boat was also very distorted. To return the boat to a good line all of the wood had to be replaced and the sizes and specific characteristics had to be mapped out again. For the ‘Nieuwe Zorg’ all of the existing wooden parts were carefully dismantled, studied and preserved (image 1). From the existing wooden parts it was possible to gather a great deal of information about the dimensions and the method of construction of the original boat (image 2). ‘Reading clues’ from the old wood is important for making a reliable copy (image 3).

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Tools Required

  • Folding rule
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Camera

Materials Required

None applicable