Homeworking-Suhaili Shelf
Classic Boat|September 2020
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Homeworking-Suhaili Shelf
In the third of our ‘lockdown projects’ series, we find inspiration on board Knox-Johnston’s ketch
Robin Gates

A satisfying spin-off from the Covid-19 lockdown was making this scaled-down version of the shapely cabin shelves (above) I’d noticed in vintage photos of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s legendary ketch Suhaili, published in Classic Boat in May 2013 (p45). We had similar bookshelves in my childhood home, so the style may be typical of the 1960s. On the off chance that others may wish to follow suit, I used a minimum of simple hand tools and recycled some oak from old drawer fronts; I suspect Sir Robin’s shelves were of teak (like the hull) or mahogany, but it’s certain that hand tools were the order of the day when Suhaili was built on a Bombay slipway in 1963.

The shelves, one each side of the saloon, are details in the old photos and I can’t tell exactly the joints used, so I took this opportunity to use two classic boat boatbuilding joints – the stopped housing, also used to fit treads in companionway ladders besides shelves, and the lapped half-dovetail, typically employed where deck beams join beam shelves or carlings.


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September 2020