Wednesday, December 06, 2017


Chines are the parts of a boat that run along the bottom edge of the sides where the bottom is attached. Yesterday we installed the chines and began the process of planing the bottom edges flat so the bottom sheets can be tightly secured and sealed with no leaks. The photo shows the process.

Turning the process over to kids and keeping two boats going at once, does not allow for the level of finesse I  would hope for if left completely on my own. But perfect boats is not the goal. A perfect learning experience is.

Otto Salomon had suggested that craftsmen would not necessarily be the best teachers of educational Sloyd, as the objective was not perfect  or efficient craftsmanship. Joy of learning is a far better goal.

On the first day of boat building, I told my students about my first boat. I used a sheet of 1/4 in. plywood, as it was all I had, along with 1 x 2's and 2 x 2's salvaged from construction scrap. Where I had gaps in the construction that I did not know how to close, I used a tube of window caulk.

My dad was very complimentary of my work and we put the boat on a rack on top of the car and took it to Carter Lake in Omaha, Nebraska for its maiden launch. The window caulk immediately gave way even before I could seated with the oars. The boat went straight down in shallow water. My dad, surely knew in advance what would happen with the window caulk, but he made no comment or criticism about my failure. We loaded the boat back on top of the car, took it home, and it became a sand box for my little sister.

Being a good teacher is more important than being good craftsman. The things a craftsman makes may serve until their beauty and utility are worn away. The things a teacher imparts, may last beyond generations.

Make, fix, and create.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Doug.

    I think that Otto Salomon was spot on regarding that the best craftsman might not be the best teacher.
    Giving the children a great foundation is so much more important than having them turn out something that is perfectly produced.

    Another thing that I personally try to get better at, is to accept that the pace of building by our children isn't as fast as if I do it myself. But like you say, it is more important that they have a good experience with the project.