September 7, 2015

"The simplest boat can be not much more than a rectangular box, open on the top, with just a little bit of curve to it to help it move on the water."

"How hard could it be?"
Not that I believed for a moment that it would be easy, especially for someone who hadn’t built anything out of wood in twenty-five years and even then only a barely passable book shelf. But possible. Possible. It must be possible if you studied up on how it was done, chose a simple and manageable plan and set about doing it. It must be doable if I set my mind to it. And from that moment, walking along the beach with my older son, the idea took hold of me....


MisterBuddwing said...

IIRC, years ago, Jay Leno did a "Jaywalking" segment in which he asked people, "What makes a boat float?"

Had I been quizzed by Leno on that subject, I'd like to think that I would have replied, "The boat is designed in a way to displace more water than the boat itself weighs. That's how a boat floats."

And if Leno had followed up by saying, "Is that true?" I'd then shrug and say, "I don't know... "

Build your own boat. Well, maybe it beats buying one. What's that old joke? The two happiest days of a boat owner's life are the day he buys the boat, and the day he sells it.

Michael K said...

Good for him. I wonder if a guy like that got any insight into people who work with their hands from the experience? Also, he's lucky the EPA didn't come along when he was using epoxy outside and polluting the earth.

If he spends another 30 years at it, he might learn more about sailing.

Also, he could buy a boat like that for about half of what he spent but the experience is good for you.

tim in vermont said...

People keep saying that about the two happiest days, but I have had many happy days on my boat, and the day I sell it, it will probably be for a bigger boat, or one that fits my needs better, but right now, I enjoy it.

Yesterday I took several friends to a little sandy bottomed cove on an island for a swim. It was a happy day. I don't think the day I sell my boat will be that happy.

But I do know a guy who built his own boat. He learned a lot about the fact that boat design is all about compromises, at least if you building a power boat, the way he did. Compromises between comfortable ride and wasting gas in his case.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

It was a 1960s-1970s kind of thing; building a big boat in your backyard, little bit by little bit, over the course of years. The sort of thing celebrated in magazines like Popular Mechanics.

I kind of wish they'd touched on that boat-building phenomenon in Mad Men but maybe they figured that it was enough that they they had Don Draper getting hammered, alone, on a Saturday afternoon putting together a kids' playhouse.

Our restrictive covenant expressly prohibits building a boat.

Playhouses are cool, though, except you'll need a permit from the township if they think it qualifies as a shed.

Crimso said...

Nice work. Glad Marshall finally found something he's good at.

I've been working on a B-2 in the backyard for a few years now.

I've discovered I'm going to need a bigger yard.

rhhardin said...

You want the waves that various points on the hull generate to cancel each other out, as far as possible. The wake carries away energy, so you don't want much wake.

Michael K said...

"The wake carries away energy, so you don't want much wake."

I once sailed against a guy (racing) whose boat was so badly designed (I can't remember the name) that, if you threw a beer can overboard, it would sail along in the wake all afternoon. It was funny looking too. It looked like the builder had cut off the last 20 feet.

Bay Area Guy said...

Alternative Headline - "Beta Male, age 47, bonds with son over nice backyard project"

If Josh Marshall continues in this dangerous vein of actually building things with his hands, maybe even hiring people to build his next project, maybe staying away from the Internet and the NYTimes, maybe coaching his Son's little league team next, I dunno, he could disastrously end up as a Republican.

mikee said...

I suggest The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls.

Or any Scout Manual from before about 1965.

If you have a child and can't tell if these would be good for the kid, you need these books.

ken in tx said...

The Scout manuals stopped being good in 1959. That's when the manual first said to make trail pancakes by following the directions on the box.

Phil 314 said...

I'm sorry but that top photo and the story about how simple a boat "should be" lead me to imagine that's what the adults with Aylan thought.

Peter said...

How To Make Your Own Concrete Boat