Gig Restored

Built for an undergraduate in the 1890s, by Salter’s of Oxford, this 22ft mahogany Thames double sculling half-rigged gig was discovered in an almost irredeemable state in the rafters of the Marquess of Aberdeen’s sawmill at Haddo. For a split second or two we were of a mind to consign it to the flames, but the decision was made to restore it to as close to its former glory as possible after a century or so of rot, mildew, chicken poo and neglect.

The result six months later more than justified the Marquess’s decision, and with mostly new joggled oak ribs and a just couple of strakes of rare Honduras mahogany (sourced at some expense from John Moody in Devon) the gig finally went afloat again in June on his lordship’s lake, to the accompanying cheers of estate workers and family.

The restoration was meticulous, as the quality was more akin to an aeroplane than a boat: Salter’s, who built hundreds of such boats every year, were masters of their craft. The precision of the workmanship was exquisite, the 8mm planks beveled to perfection, the ribs forming a light but remarkably strong structure.

With a new backrest and rudder, 10 litres of Varnol soaked up by the ancient timber and as many coats of varnish was time would allow, the Marquess’s gig now rests alongside his equally fine coach and both will soon be on display to visitors to Haddo House.

Adrian Morgan,
Burnside, 80 Strathkanaird, Ullapool, Wester Ross. IV26 2TP
Tel: +44(0)1854 666383

Mobile: 07774 843 844
Featured in Classic Boat and
Water Craft magazines.

Felicity John & Florence Oliver Florence Oliver at Beale Park
Home - Torridon Project - Cradle Boat Project - Freshwater Project - Sirius Project - Folkboat Project
Felicity John & Florence Oliver - The Brower Project - Kelana’s dinghy - Gig Restored - Florence Oliver at Beale Park - Faering Project
New Projects (1) - New Projects (2) - Guillemot Project - Boat Building - A Traditional Approach - Current Articles - Viking-Boat Gallery