Saturday, 7 December 2013

It's You

Who are the builders? Who can build a boat? The short answer is most anyone can build a boat particularly the small boats that we specialize in. Much of the time in developing plans today is the process of simplifying the process as much as can be done using the modern tools we have at our disposal.

In years past it seemed that the assumption was that any one could do so and many seemed willing to try, today it seems that the assumptions is exactly the opposite many seem to assume that they are not capable. I have some ideas on how that has changed over the years but do not believe that those in the past where more able to undertake this type of task than anyone is today. When you see some of the plan sets (set is a generous word as most where a couple of drawings and a table of offsets) that where offered in the past to amateur boat builders you some times have to wonder how any boats where built at all, this by the way also could serve as a warning for those of you considering some of the plans that are offered today on the internet that are reprints of designs offered in magazines over the years. These plans are more often than not a few photocopied pages from a magazine with limited or no information and no back up.

Plans today are much more comprehensive with drawings, illustrations, pictures building notes often in book form this alone helps to increase the number of people able to complete a project such as a boat particularly a small one such as a canoe or kayak. Many parts come with full size patterns or the boat parts can be cut using a computer controlled router. The number of people with exposure to the use of power tools and there use may not be as large today as in the past but the use of kits has eliminated the need for most of these. Should you be wary of using tools many community colleges offer introductory wood working classes, my wife took one that was for women only put on by the local carpenters union.

Something else that has changed over the years is that today we are convinced that we must have a vast assortment of tools to and they must be of the most modern design and the best quality to be able to complete or even contemplate such an undertaking. I recently was given a copy of a compilation of articles from Popular Mechanics published in 1931 on boat building the illustrations are of people with hand tools and a table saw turning their dreams into reality. In this book the building of a rowboat covers six pages as does the building of a small outboard boat, a small sailboat gets a dozen pages.
The process of building small boats has undergone many changes over the years in addition to the technology mentioned previously; plywood has made things simpler especially when combined with modern epoxy resins.

Soon the weather will begin to warm again and it will be time to get on the water why not it do in a boat you have built.

You are the builder.