Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

While the above video may seem to be a bit out of place for a Tech Tip Tuesday, I assure you that it is not.  We all manage to get by with a little help from our friends.  This is especially true of boat builders of all kinds - and it makes life a whole lot easier and cheaper.

When building a boat you will require a lot of skills, a lot of materials, and a lot of tools.  Generally, unless you've been building boats for quite some time, you will not have accumulated all of these.  Reading books only goes so far. 

Let's start with skills.  Boat building uses a wide variety of skills - chief among them wood working. (because we're talking about wooden boats, here!) Because many people have had at least a little exposure to wood working or know someone who does, finding some of those basic skills is not hard.  Working alongside an experienced woodworker or boat builder is a fantastic way to learn if they're willing to share.  Even if they may not know much about boatbuilding, they may have networked and can introduce you to someone who does.  Alternatively, many classes are available in your community - either via night school classes or a technical school.   Last but not least, there are online communities such as the WoodenBoat Forum, the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association, and Yahoo! Groups, just to name a few where you can run into skilled people, make friends, learn and network.  Just remember : none of us are as smart as all of us.

Materials can be hard to come by - some are pretty unique.  Friends are a good starting point to find vendors for bronze hardware, wood and other marine supplies and hardware.  Sometimes, they even have a stash of these items that they are willing to part with for little or no money - that item you're looking for that they were saving for that boat that they were planning to build "sometime".  Wood workers who build furniture for a hobby are fairly common (we are - really!) and usually have a handle on good sources for the type of wood that you're looking for or, as I've previously mentioned, they may have a stash of wood.

It also takes a variety of tools to build a boat.  Hand tools are relatively easy to find and most people have some of them.  Power tools - and in particular, stationary power tools are less common.   This is where you find out who your real friends are.  They're the ones who will let you use or help you to mill stock with their power tools.  They are also the ones who will loan tools to you.  When that type of friend comes along, realize that they are a "keeper".  They are few and far between.  To loan out your tools is putting serious faith in the person that they are being loaned to.  Never betray that trust.  Always treat those tools like they were your own and return them in a timely manner.  You never know when you might need a tool again!

We all do a little bit better with some help from our friends!


harpoon said...

You can use any of my tools anytime, especially the bottle opener!

Canoez said...

Might have to take you up on that...

I've got a bottle of Squall aging nicely in the basement.