Purpleheart, as the name suggests, is a tropical hardwood with a gorgeous purple hue. It’s also extremely dense and rot-resistant, which makes it a great material for boatbuilding. That’s why shipwright Leo Goolden selected two huge purpleheart timbers for Tally Ho, a 1910 Albert Strange gaff-rigged cutter he’s rebuilding that has quite a history, including a 1927 Fastnet win.
The timbers weigh as much as 3,000 pounds each and are as long as 26 feet. Goolden had to procure two timbers for the job because a single length of purpleheart long enough for Tally Ho’s keel wasn’t available. An elaborate scarf joint was necessary to join the two pieces together.
The wood is so dense that tool blades must be constantly sharpened to be effective. This video shows Goolden using a variety of tools to cut a precise scarf joint in the two timbers.
You can read all about Goolden’s quest to restore Tally Ho by reading Tally Ho, Adventure!, a feature that originally appeared in the November 2017 issue of Soundings magazine.