A traditional Hebridean lugger built by Harris boatbuilder John Macaulay

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Macaulay 6

Macaulay 2 Macaulay 5 Macaulay 1

Macaulay 3 Macaulay 4

One of the treats of the Beale Park Thames Boat Show was seeing one of John Macaulay’s traditional Hebridean skiffs full of old-fashioned boatbuilding features.

Note the short floors and ribs, for example – they’re very much what one sees in a Viking ship or Viking canoe. What’s more, the oarlocks and oars obviously belong to a time before the fashion for adopting rowing racing practice brought in round oars in round oarlocks capable of being rotated.

For an earlier post on Macaulay, click here.

This interesting article sheds light on the man himself: John Mcaulay Boatbuilder. Of the virtues of wooden boats he says: ‘There is only one boat worth having and that is a wooden boat. They are unique; one off and beautiful. How anyone with any sensitivity could choose a plastic hull over a wooden one made by hand, I will never know.’

Here’s another newspaper piece in the Stornaway Gazette describing the restoration of a Western Isles boat.

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The boatbuilding bug bites another victim

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Ed’s 10ft Maine Skiff, built from plans and instructions
supplied by Duck Trap Woodworking

Ed Engarto in New York State is one of the many people who build a boat, only to discover that it can be a life-changing experience.

This seems to happen a lot. I know there’s a lot of satisfaction to be gained from building even the smallest boat and then using your creation on the water, but I think there’s more to this phenomenon: perhaps it’s the fact of slowly over time creating a tangible object, the quality of which the maker can judge and come to terms with as they proceed, perhaps it’s the discovery that, after all, one can learn new skills and complete a new category of projects, or maybe it’s the result of all those quiet hours the boatbuilder spends working alone in quiet contemplation.

Ed seems to me to be a typical convert to amatuer boatbuilding. I hope he enjoys his second project as much as he did his first.

He writes:

‘I built this little ten foot, lapstrake row boat over a period of three plus years, ending in July of 2008. The design comes from Duck Trap Woodworking and is known to those fine folks as their Maine Skiff. I started out journaling every working session and before the molds were even finished, the entries began to touch on life experiences, the trials of a large project, the virtue of commitment, and some thoughts about events that took place during the skiff’s construction. It actually became a mechanism through which I shared the most influential events in my life and therefore is much more than a sequence of construction steps explained. I learned so many boatbuilding skills and enjoyed the project so much, that I have become a lover of wood and water and am already looking towards my next boat.’

See the Duck Trap Woodworking website.

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