Tuesday, August 18, 2009

this month's wooden boat...

In this month's Wooden Boat, editor, Matt Murphy describes watching a crew of Norwegians assembling a kit oat while singing (in English) a song to the tune of "She'll be Comin' 'Round the Mountain." The chorus was this:
I will hammer I will drill and I will shape.
I am building me a boat I make no haste.
Yes, I'll rivet all the seams
Of the boat that's in my dreams.
I will hammer I will drill and I will shape.
Matt's editorial is about the value of kit boats for getting new boat lovers involved in what can be a head scratching ordeal that would very likely discourage and intimidate most beginners. Who knows where it might lead for some.

When I was a young man, I worked a time for the Corp of Engineers on the Mississippi River, 10 days on and 2 days off. That meant it was unreasonable for me to keep my apartment, and I would stay at my sister's house in Memphis on those days I was off the river. I arrived at her home one afternoon to find a whole stack of large flat boxes in her dining room, and read the labels, "Cabinets... assemble yourself with these simple tools." I thought I was helping when I opened a box and started to work. Within a couple hours, I had hammered and nailed and screwed them all into neat submission and the stack of flat boxes had become a ready to install set of uppers and lowers.

So my sister arrived home, and I found myself in big trouble. She wanted to do them herself. After my profuse apologies, I did carry away the sense of accomplishment I had garnered through the assembly process, and you can see in my life work where that led.

There are two particular areas of American life that really grasp the hands, woodworking and boat building. So beyond the fact that boats are made from wood, (and I love wood) I also love Wooden Boat Magazine for the encouragement it provides for working with one's hands and preserving that skill for future generations. You may never build a boat, and may never think it within your capabilities, but the magazine will inspire nonetheless, and as this edition of Wooden Boat points out, making a kit boat may help you to exceed your wildest expectations. After all, if you want to get started in personal transformation, you will have to take a first step.


  1. Ooh, mine came yesterday, too. I have devoured each issue, but especially the pull-out feature "Getting Started in Boats." I've put those together into a binder and have even ordered up some of the back issues online. They are tremendously helpful, particularly after my boat class at the NC Maritime Museum.

    Given my love of wood and with boats, building my own is the logical next step for me...I can't wait to start, although I may have to wait until I have a more suitable space to work. Of course, that will give me LOTS of time to determine which craft I will build! Our instructor at the class said to build at least a 14' craft, as his experience was that 12' and smaller were pretty unstable. That was one person's viewpoint in a particular part of the country, too (the waters here can be choppy as the sound is shallow)...there are some REALLY nice 14-16' options :)



  2. I found a boat I love in the kit boats section, called a Bartender, p. 57. It is hard to explain why some boats, even when they have motors and no sails or oars, have a way of grabbing your attention (and your imagination). For those of you who don't subscribe to Wooden Boat, you can find the boat I'm referring to at
    Look on the opening page bottom right.