by David Lawson
(Jersey Channel Islands)

“Dulcie” was built in 1902 (approx.) she has pitch pine planking on oak frames with pine decking.

My Boat, "Dulcie" is about to need some/all of her deck planks replacing.

At the moment, she has pine decks.

My question is this, what kind of pine should I use, as there is no mention of the kind of pine used.

The hull is pitch pine on oak.

The other question is:- when I cut the lengths of pine, should the edges be square, or should they be at a slight angle.

It looks fairly straight forward job????.

Looking forward to your response.


Comments for “Dulcie”

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Aug 25, 2019
Dulcie ...decks
by: John Nightingale

First of all ,sorry to hear that you've not been well.

As for your decks...well that's a long story.

When first built by Olivers in Porthleven Cornwall, the decks were caulked, and there was a very deep varnished coving around the cockpit.

When the cabin was installed back in the 60's that was removed.

The deck planks were sealed with fine 4" ex RAF canvas, and basic marine paint applied.

However just after the war, ex RAF dope was used.

This was very tough and had a yellow colour.

Traces may still be found as this was hard to remove.

When Dulcie underwent a major re-fit in Commercial road Penryn Falmouth, by the more recent owner (a retired boat builder) all this was removed.

When you say it's varnished, I just wonder if he used some form of epoxy resin then varnish.
It sounds like it to me.

To fully canvas a deck, is a major job.

All deck fittings will have to be removed, ALSO the toe rail around the top of the hull.

Canvas stuck down and stretched over the side of the hull and then the toe rail re-fitted to hold the edge in place.....any loose canvas would then be cut away.

The canvas can be primed and painted with any marine paint.

That's the old fashioned way.

The cabin was built and fitted by Paul Gartside in what was once Bar creek yacht club in Malpas Truro.

Paul has been in Vancouver Canada now for 50 odd years, he's a well known boat builder and has a Web-site.

I've known the family for over 60 years.

John Scews of Porthallow fitted the engine.

Dulcie was an open boat when built...and the very first engine was fitted back in the late 1940's .... a converted Austin seven.

Installed by Greens of St Mawes Cornwall.

I have some pictures of Dulcie when first built with gunter rig, followed by a large gaff rig.

If anyone is interested, let me have an address and I will send some on.

I've been fighting cancer for two years, so have been out of touch, but often wonder what has happened to poor old Dulcie.

The timbers used for her frames etc. were so good in those days, they've lasted the test of time.

You would be hard pushed to get timber like that these days.

I do hope the old girl will give pleasure to someone for many more years.

I never new what happened to the centre plate when that was removed.
Long since gone!!

I remember winding it up with my late step father with a heavy chain on a gypsy and handle.
All on the side of a lovely varnished keel case.

Happy memories.

Good luck with all you do, hope it end well for you......
sincerely JN.

or 'phone 01752 848 217

Feb 14, 2016
My family history ( I'm in my 70's )
by: john nightingale

Hi Dave'
You may be interested to know that my late parents owned her,and bought her from the first owner / friends.

She was an open boat with gunter rigg,followed by gaff, then as now, no engine when built, had a skull on the stern or should I say sweep.

The first engine was a converted Austin seven (installed in St Mawes)just after the war.

Then the one you have, this was followed by the cabin...Dulcie had a centre plate keel removed to give way for engine.

Boat has quite a history, have many pic's.

Sad to hear that no one want's to take her on...she's a river Falmouth boat.

Apr 23, 2014
"Dulcie" For Sale
by: Dave

Hi all

I've not been about much over the last few months, sorry.

I'm giving away "Dulcie" to anyone who would like to have her, but if anyone WOULD like to make a offer!!.

She was built around 1902ish. Please see photos of Dulice. If you wish more information, then please send me a email:- lawsond335@gmail.com

Hi all, and thank you.

Apr 23, 2014
columbian pine
by: Steve

Hi Dave I would go for columbian pine nice to work and stands upto the weather very well.

I think if I was doing the job I would remove the decks then lay say 4mm or 6mm ply then lay you planking on top of that I use a lot of a sealer/Glue called sikaflex which is expensive but you just cant beat it there is a product on ebay that is very simeler called PU18 that is a lot cheaper and does the same job after the placnks are laid give it a good sanding then varnish.

Job done and good as new with out leaks.


I hope this helps.


Apr 23, 2014
by: Mike

Hi Dave,

I do apologise for banging on about plywood, sorry I had it stuck in my mind that your decks had been painted.

But you did mention "Coelin???" did you mean "Coelan"?

If so it does have an excellent reputation.

I haven’t used it myself but I have spoken to several boat owners who swear by it.

Tung oil looks great when first applied and it’s easy to slap on but it does darken considerably when exposed to weathering and I do mean considerably.

Apr 23, 2014
re-varnish the decks
by: Dave

Hi Mike

If I were to re-varnish the decks, what varnish would you recommend, or, could I use tong oil. It seem it would be such a great shame to cover the planks with anything. They look beautiful as they are, but need "sprucing up".



Apr 23, 2014
‘bedding compound’
by: Mike

Hi Dave,

Well, the ‘bedding compound’ that I used and which is still ok after 10 (?) years came from my local DIY store.

I can’t remember the brand name but it was sold as a flexible coating/sealer for flat roofs.

If you were in the US of A, I would recommend ‘Dolfinite Bedding Compound’ but sometimes it’s worth looking at what is easily available locally.

Once laid just prime and paint the ply with deck paint.

The main thing is to make sure that the edges of the ply are well sealed.

Someone suggested to me that I use well-known brand of masonry paint as a non-slip deck coating, I did try it, it wasn't a success and had to be removed.

Having said all that I'm not trying to talk you out of repairing the existing planks if you think that would be easier, it’s just that as they are painted…


Apr 23, 2014
thanks again for you info.
by: Dave

Hi Mike, thanks again for you info.

Supose I cant have it all ways.

When you said paint the plywood, do you literally mean paint the plywood. If that's the case, do i paint it with some form of undercoat first?, and what kind of bedding compound do I use?



Apr 23, 2014
canvas covered decks
by: Mike

Over the years those canvas covered decks have been treated in various ways.

Some have simply replaced the painted canvas, some have replaced it with other coverings such as ‘Treadmaster’ and others have replaced the canvas with fiberglass and epoxy and others, such as myself, have covered the planking with plywood.

On my decks I replaced the canvas with one layer of ¼ inch marine plywood, tacked down on a flexible bedding compound, on top of the original planking and then painted.

I would have preferred to have had a planked deck but I also wanted to be able to sleep onboard without being dripped upon.

The plywood covering seemed to me to be the simplest solution.

I would imagine that marine plywood should be easier (and cheaper) for you to source on the island.

Apr 23, 2014
thanks for your response.
by: Dave

The deck were originally covered with canvas and painted, but that was removed a long time ago and finished with something like varnish, Coelin???.

The deck planks are not tongue and groove, as I replaced some of the Caulking a couple of years ago.

Unfortunately, a lot of the "varnish" is now peeling of and the decks are now being slowly exposed. I have her covered, so at least the weather can't get to her at the mow.

I have not thought of covering her with ply, would that mean removing all planks?, not sure my DIY'ing would stretch to that, given the time it would probably take.

There are a number of companies in the UK that could supply Pitch pine, (Reclaimed), and cut to size for me. If I used that, could I not use good quality Tung oil once or twice a year?? to keep them in good shape.

Your thoughts would be much appreciated Mike. I'm discovering Jersey, Channel Islands, may be the wrong place to have such an old boat, such as Dulice.

Kindest regards


Apr 23, 2014
pine deck?
by: Mike

Hi Dave,

Just looking at you photos and it looks as though the deck has been painted or is that just the photo (or my eyesight)?

So I was wondering if the deck had originally been covered with painted canvas?

If it had then the planking could be tongue and grooved?

If not was the deck laid over a substrate such as plywood?

Sorry for all the questions but any answer will depend on how she was originally planked.

As for sourcing new timber, that is one of the major problems when it comes to restoring an old boat.

Originally she would probably have been planked using quarter-sawn heart-wood but that has become virtually impossible to find.

Certainly you would want to find some resin-rich pine from old growth timber with close growth rings, perhaps Oregon Pine from Canada.

Pine decks do tend to wear out quite quickly and they can get worse the deeper one scrapes.

Have you considered covering the deck with plywood?

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