If we live near the water we see the outside of boats everyday. If we own a boat (or better yet, have a friend with a boat) we’re familiar with the inside of a boat. But seldom do we see what it takes to construct one. So here’s a look inside a boatwright’s work shop. This is at the Wooden Boat Center on Lake Union in Seattle.
These places are good for the soul. There’s the comfort of holding well worn hand tools and the smells of sawn cedar and freshly applied varnish. And in the Winter, there’s a small wood burning stove for warmth on cold rainy days.
If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.
Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “The Wisdom of the Sands”
French writer (1900 – 1944)
In nautical parlance, “dressing ship” refers to hanging signal flags in a specific order from the waterline at the bow, over the highest mast and down to the waterline at the stern. This is done on special occasions and parades by military and civilian ships and boats.
The Skookum Maru is a classic 40 foot Monk design built in 1956 by Kugge Boat Yard in Kobe, Japan. The Monk boats were designed for extensive coastal cruising and a great choice for Northwest waters. This photo was taken at the the Seattle Wooden Boat Center as she was being prepared for the Wooden Boat Festival.
The boat’s name is interesting as it it is a mix of native Chinook Indian and Japanese. Most people know that maru (circle) is often appended to Japanese ship names. But unless you live in the Northwest you may not know Skookum. It’s a common word around here and can mean big, strong, hearty, good, etc. It can also mean spooky as in skookumchuck (turbulent water or rapids).
The mon, or circular emblem, is interesting as well. It incorporates a Haida design of a Blackfish (Orca) with a replica of the “Great Wave” on Hokusai’s Japanese woodblock print.
As you can see from the overcast skies (what else in Seattle), the ambient lighting was good an presented no challenges. My Photoshop processing consisted of a very small amount of sharpening and a little color and contrast correction. I finished it with NIK’s Tonal Contrast filter to bring out the details, especially in the wood grain.
I really enjoyed the day at the Center and found it hard to tear myself away. When the kids were young we had a 32 foot twin diesel and cruised the Northwest Passage on many occasions. But I had to sell it when I was transferred to Asia.