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Boatbuilding- Sawhill

By Kenneth Campbell - Added 16/04/2014

Audio of Kenneth Campbell telling about the two-handled saw that was used in Scadabay to prepare planks for boatbuilding.  He mentions the sons of Archie MacDonald of Grosebay who passed on their boat-building skills.

Dur: 1.53

There is an area of Scadabay known as Cnoc an t-Sàibh (Saw Hill) although it's been many years since the two-handled saw that gave it its name has been seen there.  There was a saw-pit in the village where the logs were arranged so that two men could operate a saw, one below and the other above.  This is where they would make the planks needed for boat-building.  There is no photo in existence of the actual saw used but you can see a similar one here.  Photo   Hamish sourcing  It was hard work but they didn't have the benefit of a saw-mill in the area to relieve them of the labour.   There was an old man from Grosebay, Roderick MacDonald, who was a boat-builder and he would come to Scadabay to teach the men boat-building skills.  His brothers Neil and Alasdair were also able carpenters. Roderick may very well have picked up his trade from his St. Kildan father-in-law, Donald Ferguson who was a boat-builder.  They used to call the place where the boats were built "Leana an Eathair", The Boat Meadow.  According to Kenneth there were two sites in the village where boat-building was carried out.