UPDATED: Local carver working on yards to hold Ship Hector sails

Published on July 24, 2014

PICTOU – Keith Matheson has yards of work to do this summer.

The well-known wood carver and volunteer at the Hector Heritage Quay has been spending some of his mornings peeling the bark from logs that will transformed into yards for the Ship Hector’s masts.

The 24-foot red pine logs, as well as a 44-ft log that will be used as the main course yard, will eventually hold sails on the Ship Hector.  Having sails on the replica vessel is a long-term goal for the Hector Quay Society which manages the day-to-day operations of ship and heritage site on Pictou’s waterfront.

The volunteer society took over ownership of the Hector Heritage Quay a few years ago after the Town of Pictou decided that it could no longer afford to operate the tourist attraction.

The Ship Hector had its masts replaced last season and returned to the vessel this spring. Now work is taking place to get the yards in place so it will eventually be able to hold sails.

Matheson said transforming the logs into yards will take a considerable amount of time since the bark needs to be peeled away and the logs squared to find a straight line and then rounded out again. The finished yards will be smaller on the ends than the larger middle.

He said red pine is one of the best kinds of wood to use for the yards. It came from Hopewell and was donated by someone wants to remain anonymous. He estimates the wood is about 70 years old and was actually planted by the donor’s grandfather.

Matheson uses a drawknife to strip the bark from the logs which is similar to how it was done in the 1700s. A drawknife is a traditional woodworking hand tool that is pulled or drawn towards the user.

He said volunteers are welcome to join him in the stripping project and can contact the quay directly if they want to find out when he will be working at the project.

In addition to the wood for the yards, there is also a pile of logs sitting across the ship that will be sawed and turned into planks for the vessel.