Cutty Sark

Craftsmen involved in the meticulous conservation of one the world’s most famous ships, Cutty Sark, are using the Sadolin Ultra Highly Translucent Woodstain system to decorate and protect her teak deckhouses, spectacular wheel, ornate pin rails, decorative panelling and many other wooden fixtures and fittings on deck.

Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark is an iconic reminder of a bygone age of sail and a symbol of Britain’s long and successful maritime heritage. Built in 1869, she is a shining example of Victorian ingenuity, engineering and craftsmanship, and one of London’s most popular attractions. In November 2006, however, the visitor signs were taken down and The Cutty Sark Conservation Project began: a massive undertaking by The Cutty Sark Trust to give the ship its biggest overhaul in fifty years and to ensure she has a secure and sustainable future.

Heery International Ltd, a division of Balfour Beatty Management and the principle contractor responsible for delivering the conservation project for The Cutty Sark Trust, specified Sadolin Ultra for the decoration and protection of woodwork above deck. Construction Manager Kevin Elson explains how the decision was made: “Ultra offered the very high degree of translucency that we were looking for,” said Kevin, “and the system has been formulated to provide exterior joinery with up to seven years decoration and protection before maintenance is required. Unlike yacht varnish it offers flexibility and a high degree of UV protection. And when the time eventually comes to maintain the finish, there’s no need to strip back to bare timber, you can simply clean the surface and apply a maintenance coat to revive the appearance and protective benefits.”

Maldon Painting Company Ltd is responsible for coating the exterior timber fittings. Director Geoff Smith had not used Sadolin Ultra before but is now a firm fan. He explains how it was applied to the deckhouses: “We stripped all the old varnish right back and sanded all the teak back to a perfectly smooth surface, before applying a coat of Ultra Basecoat. We then filled in any pinholes and cracks with Sadolin Exterior Woodfiller and went on to apply two coats of the lightest shade of Ultra. Once the deckhouse is refitted on the ship we’ll apply one last coat of Ultra to offer the maximum level of protection.”

Geoff’s decorating work is just one of a huge list of projects which have to be completed by an army of craftspeople, engineers and conservation experts before Cutty Sark is ready to welcome visitors once more in 2010, by which time the ship will be a much improved visitor attraction. Geoff said; “It’s a once in a life time opportunity to work on Cutty Sark and it’s a job I am really enjoying. It’s always good to be given the opportunity to carry out a project to a full specification using the best products and being able to take the time you need to deliver a really high quality finish.”