Monday, November 21, 2011

Boatbuilding Workshops

Some old and future news: Last September I taught a boatbuilding workshop for the first time in awhile.  In fact the last time I taught was in 2007 at the Wooden Boat Center in Takashima, Japan, so I guess it was fitting that I went to the equally exotic locale of Pemaquid, Maine.  I taught a one-week workshop at the Carpenters Boatshop.

I took this photo of the Boatshop a few years ago when I was there for a lecture.  Yes, its winter.  And yes, there are nice summers in Maine as well.

The Boatshop takes about a dozen apprentices a year for a nine-month course.  The main boat used as a teaching tool is a nice bent-frame, lapstrake dinghy, the Joel White-designed Catspaw. 

In this one-week workshop we built a fairly straightforward flatiron dinghy.  We lofted the boat's lines and several students made half models in the evenings.  We also stressed sharpening hand tools, power tool safety, wood selection, steam bending among our elements of boatbuilding.

We built the mould setup the afternoon after we lofted the lines.  

A detailed look at our lofting, showing our stem and stem rabbet.

I decided we would plank the sides of our dinghy lapstrake.  This gave students a chance to learn how to spile lapstrake planking and cut the gains and bevels required in this type of planking.  It also gave us a chance to learn how to use copper rivets to fasten the planks along the laps.

The bottom was cross-planked, which is carvel construction, so students got to learn how to plane a caulking bevel as well as some other elements of flat-bottomed construction.

Traditional caulking is a "must learn" skill and the bottom of the dinghy provided lots of seams, giving everyone a chance to practice caulking.  We used both caulking wheels as well as caulking irons.
I found the lines for this dinghy in a reprint of Kunhardt's book.  Its a really lovely little boat, with the emphasis on LITTLE.  I plan on enlarging the lines before I build her again.

This is as far as we got and the week ran out.  A Boatshop volunteer painted the dinghy after we left.

The students were very pleased with the class, as was the Boatshop.  I will be on their Summer Schedule for 2012 so keep an eye out for this course sometime next August.  This link shows my class for last year but after January I am sure this page will show next year's courses:

I am also scheduled to teach this class at Country Workshops in September of 2012.  Please pass news of this course along and think about taking one of them yourself!

Japan Times article

In yet another throwback to my sabani project in Okinawa, a feature article about me appeared in the Japan Times this fall.  The author had met me two years earlier in Okinawa and was finally able to get an article in the JT.  It was nice to see and I appreciate all his hard work.  A few weeks later I appeared live on his NHK radio show, via Skype to his studio in Tokyo.

Here is a link to the article:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sabani Update

After much procrastinating, I have turned what was formerly the blog I kept while building the sabani in Okinawa to now a general blog about my work.  In the two year interim, various interesting boat-related things have happened, so I will begin by working through a backlog of material on various subjects.

The first still involves the sabani.  Just recently the JapanTimes did a very nice article about my work in Okinawa, written by Mick Corliss, an American writer living in Tokyo.  I had met Mick once, briefly, several years ago and we stayed in touch.  He decided to take his family for a New Year’s holiday to Okinawa and traveled all the way to Iejima to see me.

The sabani itself was transferred to the Museum of Maritime Science (Funenokagakukan) but that institution recently closed its doors.  A rebuilding of the museum had been planned but is now on hold due to the tsunami recovery.

In Okinawa the sabani races continue.  This year’s race was rescheduled due to an early typhoon, and the later start reduced the number of boats by almost half.  In the end 27 teams participated.  Thanks to Mr. Noby Kobayashi for these photographs.