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 Refurbishment of Pamela May Hand Rails.

Back in January, during a lull between the rain storms, Tom Pedlow, Peter Daniels and I were down at the yard on ‘Pamela May’ doing things. Peter suggested that the aft handrail structure was seriously in need of refurbishment.

“I can do that” I volunteered, thinking that a quick rub down and lick of varnish would do the trick.

However, it soon dawned on me that the whole structure would need to be removed and taken home to do a proper job. The following day, I commandeered Denise’s car, along with a roof rack, and using a bit of jiggery pokery fitted the structure in one piece onto the roof of her car, with the sharp end pointing forward. The car now resembled a fancy boy racer, resplendent with a large wooden

‘go faster’ aerofoil, except it didn’t go faster!

Back home in the garage, I decided to separate the top rail from the bottom rail so that I could make a decent job of sanding these down. A big mistake! The whole thing disintegrated with rotten wood at all of the joints. OMG! Where do I go from here? The air was blue, with Peter’s name being mentioned a few times.

 After a cup of coffee, a few calming words from Denise, and quiet reflection,

I set about a strategy.

I went back down to the yard and took a few key measurements. From these I produced a dimensioned drawing and made a wooden jig to ensure that the finished handrail structure would fit neatly into the existing holes on the boat.

 It was obvious that copious amounts of wood hardener, wood filler, glue, dowels, screws and fish plates were needed, so I made a shopping list. Added to the list were orbital sanding sheets, varnish, masking tape, Brasso, metal lacquer, aerosol paint and numerous other bits. I became a familiar sight at B&Q, Homebase, Wilkinsons, and Screwfix.

Over the next few weeks I set about sanding, filling, shaping, carving, doweling, gluing, screwing and rebuilding the aft handrail structure. Denise helped with wire brushing and finely sanding the vertical wooden columns. When the time came to spray paint the wooden columns, I made a tent in the garage with an old bed sheet to contain the airborne paint mist. That worked a treat.

The whole project became quite therapeutic as I anticipated creating a masterpiece of woodwork refurbishment. Denise said it “kept me off the streets and out of trouble” for a few weeks.

Eventually, the project was complete with glossy handrails, shiny brass fittings, and was ready for a trial fit on the back of Pamela May. I was pleased with the result but the best was yet to come.

 Alan Little, the grey bearded gentleman who lives in the house at the yard complimented me on a job well done.

That was praise indeed!

David Wensley

Restoration of the Pamela May