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. 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!
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:
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:
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 »
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.
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.
Unfortunately this one knocked around in my work bag too long before I remembered to retrieve it.
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.
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:
Bob over at Indigenous Boats always has great stuff. No falling off as we checked in.
Tom at 70.8 has a few really nice posts: » Continue reading Catching up with the traditional boat blogosphere –recent stuff from some peers »
Thanks to Bob over at Indigenous Boats for his recent post highlighting Paddle Making (and other canoe stuff),a blog by a Canadian canoeist / paddlemaker / artist named Murat. The site has a gallery tool to view paddles Murat has made –they are almost universally stunning. Well worth keeping this one in mind.
Just a quick note to call out another skin-on-frame resource:The Berkshire Boat Building School. They seem to build a couple nice-looking canoes and rowing boats and offer kits and classes. Worth checking out further.
OK –its best I admit it. They say that is the first step. I am thinking about a new boat already. I want to build to my own design. I have some ideas coming together –I’ll share more when there is more to share. The key point is that every time I see a skin-on-frame boat I feel incredibly drawn to them. I think it has to do with the rawness of the medium –the boats go together by feel with pegs and lashing. Its gorgeously primal.
In the course of noodling on this idea I came across the site skinboats.org,which consists of The Skin Boat School and Spirit Line’s Skin Boat Store. The former,as it sounds,is the educational resource area,though there are some good nuggets online. The latter piece seems to be a great source for materials. I found proprietor Corey Freedman extremely willing to chat about this topic,giving me a number of ideas that I didn’t directly solicit. This is one worth keeping close at hand for the skin-on-frame medium.