Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day three...

I'm getting ready for day three of box making at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship in Maine and students already have a variety of boxes in the works. We finished the box joint workstation yesterday so students can just step up and make perfect box joints and some of them plan to make the dedicated router set-up to take with and use at home. The article about this device comes out in the next issue of American Woodworker, and the idea is that making box joints can be done accurately at the drop of a hat. This is Maine, after all, and while here, I have no choice but to soothe my interests in wooden boats. They are one of the best repositories of hands-acquired intellect, and boatmakers understand the Wisdom of the Hands long before nary a word has ever been said. I had found a small sloop in Wooden Boat Magazine that turned out to be at a small boatyard, Malone's, right down the street from the school. It was made by Ferdinand "Red" Nimphius in Wisconsin of all unusual places, but Nimphius had a sterling reputation as a boat maker, even by Maine standards.
While the small boat was in storage for nearly 20 years,(which accounts for it's excellent condition) its BMW single cylinder diesel started right up. Here in Rockport you can drive along through neighborhoods and find boat works large and small in unexpected places. This place could serve as an example of how hands-derived intellect might be reinstilled throughout our American culture. Make, fix, and create...


  1. I spent 3 minutes with Google and came up with 800 miles of Great Lakes shoreline in Wisconsin. For Maine I came up with 228 miles of "general coastline" and 3478 miles of "tidal shoreline." Of course, Wisconsin's water is frozen for several months of the year, which diminishes the opportunities for sailing, though have you ever seen iceboats racing?

  2. Jim Dillon has left a new comment on your post "Day three...":

    Wisconsin an unusual place to build boats? Have you ever looked at a map? Wisconsin has more seacoast than Maine. It's just that our water isn't salty like out at the coasts.

    This comment from Jim Dillon was rejected by mistake and no undo on blogger. And trying to make my finngers always do the right thing on the iPad is a challenge.

    "Seriously, sailing Lake Superior and Lake Michigan can be as dicey as in the North Atlantic. Just ask the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald, or any of the Coast Guard personnel who have served there.

    "(This is all tongue in cheek, of course. I grew up in Wisconsin and whenever someone asks what they should see when they visit there for the first time I'm sure to insist on the Great Lakes.)

    "Enjoy your time in wonderful, wonderful Maine."

    Aside from Great Lakes shoreline, there are hundreds if not thousands of miles of shoreline surrounding the not so great lakes. I was just surprised to find a Wisconsin boat so highly regarded here.

  3. Doug,
    Thanks for so graciously re-entering my probably-too-sarcastic comment from this morning. We are going through a vicious budget bloodletting at the science center where I work, and I have to admit I'm getting a bit high-strung. We emphasize hands-on approaches to learning science, with excellent results similar to what you'd expect.
    Enjoy Maine, and keep up the excellent blog. It's an inspiration to me.

    Jim Dillon, Cabinetmaker
    Fernbank Science Center
    Atlanta, GA

  4. Jim, the buttons on the IPad for accepting or rejecting comments are so close together that I keep poking the wrong one by mistake.Tanks for being understanding of it all.