Sunday, April 28, 2019

2019 Bates College Short Term

I have reprised my college Japanese boatbuilding class at a different school for a different time of year. Having taught this class three times at Middlebury College during Winter Term I am here in spring in Lewiston, Maine at Bates College. Bates runs a five-week semester called Short Term. Like Middlebury, students take just one class. We meet four days a week. My class of fourteen is divided into two sessions (too many students to keep busy at once) and we all meet once a week for a discussion of the readings, journals, and students' final papers. I am specifically working for an initiative called the Center for Purposeful Work as a Practitioner-Teacher. You can read the full course description here.

Had to amend our original boat design when I got here, saw the space, and realized we could never get the boat out of the room. Each section is now building its own 22-foot river boat from Niigata Prefecture. These were used by farmers for a variety of roles in an area of once-expansive wetlands.

Students begin fitting the bottom planks using handsaws, a key Japanese boatbuilding technique.

Some of our selection of tools.

Chiseling mortises for our edge-nails.

When not working directly on the boat, students are expected to be sharpening.

Piloting nails holes with special chisels called tsubanomi.

The first group edge-nailing their bottom planks.

The second group pounding the plank edges, the last step before nailing.