Building Big Boat was labour intensive, to say the least. We had an industrious group of nail makers consisting of anyone who dropped by to have a chat. The rule of the shed was that if you popped in, you were given a block of iron wood and an axe. It seemed that everyone in the village just loved whittling! I was the only exception to this rule. The thought of me wielding one of the axes made the crew a tad anxious!
Magic Uri Geller Style!
In another corner of the boat yard, Pak Gandy had started his magic. He had lashed two boards together to a tree and anointed them with his magic potion, water and palm oil. A a smoldering fire was lit in a pit beneath them. At the other end of the boards were palm logs providing the weight to gently twist the boards through ninety degrees. The fire was kept going 24 hours and each day the planks would twist a little more. Our Pak Gandi was a regular Uri Geller!
Screwing and Gluing
Meanwhile the main crew were now fastening the hull planking to the keel, transom and main rib. The edges of the boards were drilled at regular intervals, a generous dollop of epoxy was rammed in the holes followed by hand crafted nails. Corresponding holes were drilled and filled with glue. Then the two parts were gently introduced to each other with the assistance of an incredibly large hammer!
Noah’s Tool Box!
The bit that floored me the most though was the tool box. With the exception of an electric drill and a chain saw, they had the same tools that could have come from my great grandad’s shed! I think there may have been a tape measure somewhere, but I never saw it.
Big Boat was starting to take shape. The twisted boards were cut to shape and fitted up against the prow and all of a sudden, a mad collection of hewn trees and telegraph poles started to look seaworthy.
Next time – “They Grow Them Like that!”