Frame 20 complete and Grimsby wood


I’ve been horrendously busy for a little while, so I’ve been unable to get to the Mayflower Project to follow the build for the last few weeks. Fortunately, the Mayflower shipwright, Chris Conway, took pictures in my absence and I’m putting them up here for you. Things are moving swiftly at the project and it looks like we may see the first frame (rib) up by Christmas! 

The Project recently received a consignment of timber and frame 20 has now been completed. As I wasn’t around for either of these events and I don’t really know the difference between a futtock and a haddock, (although I suppose the smell might be a bit of a giveaway), I asked Chris if he would write a few words for you about the Grimsby wood and Frame 20.  Some of the pictures below are mine and some were taken by others, but the words are all by Chris. Yep, you actually get to hear from the Shipwright building the Mayflower! OK Chris, Over to you……..

Grimsby Wood 



We have just received a delivery of English Oak from a Timber Merchant in Grimsby, this timber has been selected for the front part of the Ship’s backbone which includes the stem, and forward sections of the keel. We also have around six of the main floors and chocks that will be used for the main frames and a number of futtocks to make up two frames.

Each frame is made up of smaller parts called futtocks and these are attached to the floor timber which spans across the keel, ideally timber is chosen so that the grain runs true to the curved shape of each futtock. Although we have some logs in the yard these are not suitable for the amidships frames as the curvature is too shallow and therefore not suitable, but hopefully they will be used for the forward frames which don’t require as much curvature.

One of the benefits of buying in timber from a timber merchant is that it has already been selected for us using patterns taken from the loft floor and milled to the correct sided dimension, ready for us to cut out the correct shape.


Frame 20



We are now in the process of raising the first frame, which although wouldn’t usually happen at this stage of the build, we wanted to see how we would go about cutting each piece and work out a system to put them together and lift one in place. It also gives the visitors a visual idea of the size of the ship. This frame will be carefully blocked and shored up and will not be finally fitted until the backbone is finished and suitable datum lines established.

We have cut each futtock using a chainsaw with a modified bar with rollers that allows us to scroll round each curved line, this has proven very successful and could possibly be the way we cut all the  frame sections.


Our other option is to use the very old tilting bed bandsaw that we have in the yard, but this requires a significant amount of work to be done to get it in an operational condition which we are trying to raise funds for. Content: James Kelly. Photography: James Kelly (truck courtesy of HMP). Content: James Kelly/Chris Conway.

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