Love Letter to Plywood

Tom Sachs is a sculpture who works often with plywood. He produced this little video that is both informative and entertaining. Many of us boat-builders wouldn’t make much progress if it wasn’t for modern ply, even though we may not know some of the background of what makes it special.

I found that every reference to "studio" in the film, if replaced by "boat shop" still worked 🙂


Guillemot Kayaks

>>> Guillemot Kayaks


Some really nice kayaks and plans here. They have some plans and designs available for free download, including this slick 3-sheet design, the Ganymede.

There is something especially wonderful about being out on the water in a small wooden boat. The glow of the wood underscores the beauty of your surroundings in a way no other material can achieve. If there is one thing that can make this experience better, it is building that small wooden boat yourself. Guillemot Kayaks specializes in providing this experience to boaters worldwide.

Nick Schade’s boat designs are appreciated and built worldwide. His work has been featured in major magazines, awarded significant prizes, and has found a place in major museums. But most importantly Nick’s boats are at home on the water.

In the beginning

Just like Noah I had a sudden urge to buy a houseboat. The Noah reference will become obvious later. Well the urge was actually inspired by an ad in the local paper for a houseboat for sale for only $9000. 20 metres by 6 metres well equipped. There had to be a catch but I just had to check this out. The sale process was a "dutch auction" where the seller seeks increasing offers until they reach an acceptable amount and then agrees to sell. A phone call and an inspection revealed why the price was so low.


Heard of the droughts affecting Australia? A consequence of the drought is that the Murray Darling river system is in a state of extreme stress. Water levels have dropped 2 metres. This boat had not been moved from its mooring in a marina in time to escape the water level drop. It is sitting on the bottom and it is possible to walk around the boat on dry ground. A bit off putting as no-one knows if or when the water will return.


Some obvious wood-rot on the hull. roof, some of the frame. Much worse than the owner was letting on. My estimate was that about 10% of the boats plywood sheeting needed replacing along with a few minor sections of the framework.


Indeed the boat was well equipped. The cabin interior was well fitted out and in very goog condition. 3 bedrooms, 1 with ensuite, a great galley, a main bathroom, all rooms furnished, All plumbed and wired as new, a great forward wheelhouse, a Ford 4 cyl diesel marine inboard only 400 hrs on the clock, stern drive, hydraulic steering.


I threw caution to the wind and offered $11,000.
My offer was noted and things went quiet. A couple of months later I got acall to see if I was still interested. There had been bigger offers but n one had materialised. What was my offer now? I stuck to my original offer of $11,000 More silence for a few weeks and then the owner rings and says he will accept my offer.


The transaction completed, my, actually "our" (I have wife – Patricia, a trusting soul), the adventure begins.