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A nice collection of traditonal boats from Vietnam

Chine bLog friend David Witzel was recently in Vietnam with his family and agreed to serve as a special corespondent for us, capturing pictures of traditional Vietnamese boats. Happily, he found some nice ones. We don’t have the backstory on them, but they are nice to study anyway.

Mekong River
River craft from along the Mekong, including a ferry and perhaps some liveaboards.

Vietnamese long boats on the Mekong

The ferry looks like she might be wooden Continue reading A nice collection of traditonal boats from Vietnam »

Unbelievably amazing traditional boat resource from Italy

Big hat-tip here to our friend Carl Cramer, publisher of Wooden Boat and author of its My Wooden Boat of the Week blog – his entry today, drawings of Indonesian outrigger canoes, was great in-and-of itself. Carl was, though, good enough to provide the source site, a resource from Italy which can be roughly (per Google) translated as “Pages dedicated to the Navy and Merchant Navy and seafaring ethnic and historical.” It isn’t clear to me who is behind this site, but – my word! – what a treasure the site owners have amassed!

The site groups sets of resources – I take it many are drawings, but I haven’t browsed very deeply – in sensible clusters that revolve around time period and location. We were drawn to the second section, “Etnografia: i natanti nel mondo,” which we can tell you, senza Google, is “Boats of the World.” We literally don’t know what to show you as a sample – there are so many cool boats to point out. There are drawing sets for every corner of the planet, as far as we can tell, and there are many per set. The set from Indochina Carl references has 299 – 299! – drawings, mostly from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Try these, for starters:

Indonesian outrigger canoe wiht Indonesian boat Sailing ship form Sumatra Vietnamese boat from Saigon

And that is just one region! There are 325 from Africa, including some amazing lateen craft from the northern and eastern sides of the continent:

Egyptian lateen craft Small Somali sailing vessel Sailing outrigger from Mozambique Long canoe of the Niger

I could go on, e.g., this set of 494 from mainland East Asia. Did we say this collection is mindblowing? ’cause it’s mindblowing. Check out the site and the full-sized images. It is fantastic.

Fun chance meeting with photographer Ellen Tynan

Last weekend we were out for a hikelet along the Potomac river and happened upon a woman enjoying the view of the marsh. We got talking and she mentioned, in particular, my Wooden Boat hat. She then revealed that she was a photographer who specialized in classic and traditional boats, and she noted she had been published in the magazine. Her name is Ellen Tynan and, on review, I am sure I have seen her work (also on Flickr).

She is hoping to publish a book in the not-too-distant future: “Boat Lines.” It will compile her photos of traditional boats from six regions of the world: Maori New Zealand, Ireland, Alaska and British Columbia, Peru, Indonesia, and Egypt. Good sampling, there, eh?

I’d suggest browsing through her work and getting a sneak peak at what might be in the book. A quick selection of works that jumped out at us, here at Chine bLog, includes (will open in new tabs/windows):

There are many more great ones. It would be well worth your time to browse them all on your own. Keep an eye out for this great sounding book.

Humanity’s Vessel: a new project that is as exciting as it is envy-inducing

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. (Exodus 20:17)

So that final phrase is fairly open-ended, but is thy neighbor’s Watson Fellowship covered? Because if it is, we’re screwed. We say this after receiving an email this week from a visitor named Will Meadows. Mr. Meadows has recently graduated from university here in the U.S. and succeeded in winning the prestigious fellowship, which grants $25,000 for “a year of independent, purposeful exploration and travel — in international settings new to them — to enhance their capacity for resourcefulness, imagination, openness, and leadership and to foster their humane and effective participation in the world community.” And what will Mr. Meadows do with this gift? Here is where the envy part comes in. Dugout canoes at Tiwai Island, Sierra Leone He writes: “Traveling for a year non-stop as a Watson Fellow I will build and study traditional canoes on every continent (besides Antarctica).” No one told us we could do that when we were 21! We want a do-over!

In all seriousness, this is an amazing project and we truly commend Mr. Meadows for winning the fellowship and choosing this incredible topic. To be clear, we’d support almost any permutation of this project, but the particular itinerary / boat selection is a great mix. Meadows is covering many major styles and building materials, so the results will allow a great study of strengths and weaknesses as well as unique factors in the evolution of different boat types. In his words:

The global journey begins on lake Titicaca on the border of Peru and Bolivia where at 12500 feet beautiful reed canoes are made throughout the lake. The native peoples of Titicaca live on floating islands of the same reed harvested in the lake ecosystem a. From there, I build in Zanzibar with the dugout builders of the island, traveling into mainland Tanzania and Uganda as well. After a brief stay in the United Arab Emirates with a palm frond boat builder, I work with Maori war canoe builders on the North Island of New Zealand. Canada calls next in the spring with the intricate birch bark canoes of the north woods. The year ends with a summer building traditional Kayaks in Norway and a stay on the Mekong in northern Laos.

We are, of course, eager to stay in touch with the project. You can too – Mr. Meadows is writing about his travels and sharing his knowledge at the Humanity’s Vessel blog. It’s on our RSS reader and should be on yours too. Please join me in wishing Godspeed to Mr. Meadows!

’round the blogs – great stuff from elsewhere in the traditional boat blogosphere

It has been far too long (we do I always find myself starting this way? SIGH) since we here at Chine bLog highlighted the great posts others have offered the world regarding wooden / traditional boats. Yes, believe it or not, Chine bLog is NOT the only source. Really. It’s true. If you haven’t discovered it already, you should be sure to read the stuff below:

Indigenous Boats
Bob Holtzman over at Indigenous Boats has been putting out a ton of great stuff of late, such that I can’t come close to mentioning it all. Some highlights I’d recommend:

IntheBoatshed
Gavin at intheboatshed has kept his blog going strong. Check out: Continue reading ’round the blogs – great stuff from elsewhere in the traditional boat blogosphere »

Iain Oughtred kits available

I noted recently that Jordan Boats in the UK has started producing Iain Oughtred design kits. They have licensed the patterns to Hewes & Company of Maine in North America. I am guessing that this a quality kits, though they are for experienced builders (no materials provided other than the cut lumber). Even so, this makes for a nice shortcut to a SWEET boat.

Nice piece from NPR: “Adirondack Waters Welcome Paddlers Back”

Good use of 3 minutes. Trust me.

Design idea – Maine lobsterboat meets Indian canoe

At one point I came across a picture of a dugout canoe from India with these amazing, carved stemheads, not unlike this one. I am not sure why, when I started playing around with how these might get used in other contexts that I thought to do a Maine lobsterboat with them (plus a rounder stern). I like it, though. Practical, schmacktical – it looks interesting.

Indian canoe lobsterboat

Unfortunately this one knocked around in my work bag too long before I remembered to retrieve it.

Comedy plus canoe building: actor Nick Offerman talks strip-building with comedian Adam Carolla


Thanks to colleague @cvonspiegelfeld for the heads up on this: actor Nick Offerman (currently of NBC’s Parks & Recreation) was on comedian Adam Carolla’s podcast talking about woodworking in general and, in particular, Nick’s recent canoe-building projects. Warning – it’s for mature audiences only. Actually, Carolla seems to be a bit of an arse and a little of this goes a long way, but how often do you hear about strip building and fine joinery on a sophomoric comedy podcast?

Anyway, Offerman’s DVD from Bear Mountain Boats is pretty interesting looking and is worth a further look if strip building is in your future.

Catching up with the traditional boat blogosphere – recent stuff from some peers

I have so engaged in designing and building that I haven’t been on the computer as much in the PMs. I have clearly been missing out on what some of our traditional boat peeps have been putting up. In case you missed it directly, here is some stuff to check out:

Indigenous Boats
Bob over at Indigenous Boats always has great stuff. No falling off as we checked in.

70.8
Tom at 70.8 has a few really nice posts: Continue reading Catching up with the traditional boat blogosphere – recent stuff from some peers »