My local timber supplier provided me with a beautiful piece of King Billy Pine (Athrotaxis selaginoides) for the gaff. Note that King Billy Pine is not a pine, in the same way that Hoop Pine, Celery Top Pine and Huon Pine aren’t pines either. Early settlers decided that anything resembling timber from a pine should be called a ‘pine’ – and if it looks like wood from an oak, it should be called an ‘oak’, as in Tasmanian Oak, which is a species of Eucalypt. Which species of Eucalypt it actually is, depends on where you are in Australia and who you are talking to.
The piece of timber for the gaff is milled from a plank of the last batch of King Billy available from the supplier. The timber is straight grained without any faults, and it is well seasoned – in fact, this lot has been sitting in storage for over 20 years.
As the timber was already dressed to the right dimensions ( 1″ x 3″ ), I only needed to cut the shape according to the template. I used the hand-saw, a small block plane and some 80# sandpaper to get the shape right. A quick buzz along the edges with a 1/2″ round-over bit and a quick sanding with 180# finished the job.
I will take off a bit more material from the jaws to make them look a bit less ‘chunky’, before gluing them permanently to the gaff. The tips will be more rounded, and the sides will be a bit more streamlined.