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Collections, historical & archaeological relating to Montgomeryshire

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Vol. 44 1936

The river trade and craft of Montgomeryshire and its borders

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when out shooting, for retreiving a duck that has fallen into the water.
There are two ways of setting night-lines. One is to use a number of
lines, each about 15 yards long fastened to a stake in the bank. The
other is to use a line 200 yards long, and to set it from the coracle ziz-
zag in the bed of the river."
William Bray, Welshpool, adds:— "The licence stated one
night-line, and did not specify the length, or number of hooks, so a
long line laid from a coracle was quite legal, and avoided difficulties.
with land owners or keepers who objected to a number of pegs in the
bank."
"This Trewern type of coracle (continues Mr. Phillips) has no-
sheer if any sheer were given to the fore-end it would be difficult to-
pull in a salmon out of the net. It is 4ft. 9in. long, by 3ft. 3in. wide,.
and 18in. deep at the seat. The pointed end is the stern and is called
the back. The bow is called the fore-end. The centre of the seat is
2 feet away from the back. The user sits facing the fore-end. The
frame is made of ash, riven by hand with a hoop shaver (a cooper's.
tool). The slats are 1-Iiii Jin. The interwoven framework is made
of 7 slats lengthways and 8 slats broadways, with a short slat added
in each corner.
The coracle is made as follows :-An old door is placed on the
ground. The slats are laid on and interwoven, and each nailed down
in two places to the door. Only slats which have been riven can be
interwoven. If the more modern method of using sawn laths is.
adopted the laths must be nailed together with copper nails. The
end of the slats are then softened with hot water, and bent up to meet
the inside rim of the gunwale. The slats are then nailed to the gunwale..
The nails should be flat-headed clog nails, as they are soft enough to-
be clinched, but they are difficult to obtain. The gunwale is of ash,
and is 13ft. 4in. long. Owing to the difficulty of obtaining such a
long length it can be in two pieces which meet under the seat. In
addition four slats are laid on the bottom of the coracle to take the
pressure of the user's feet. There are also two round pieces of
timber one inch in diameter one end of which are screwed to the
underside of the seat and the other end to the bottom of the coracle
to distribute the weight of the seat. The frame is then covered with
calico, and waterproofed inside and out with a mixture of 2 lbs. of
pitch and 1 lb. of tar. The outer rim of the gunwale is then nailed
on. Two short strips are nailed to the gunwale to help to support the
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