Nigel belongs to: The Coble and Keelboat Society
Nigel was born near Hexham. He has always been interested in traditional boats and has operated a variety of wooden boats for commercial and recreational purposes. He has recently built his own boat in his garage using traditional tools and techniques.
Nigel was interviewed by Carl Greenwood on 13 November 2005. The interview took place at the Interviewee's living room and lasted 34 minutes and 25 seconds.
Sourcing traditional boat building tools
"What I did was when I decided I wanted to build the boat I realised I didn’t have a full kit of boat building tools"
What I did was when I decided I wanted to build the boat I realised I didn’t have a full kit of boat building tools, and like I explained to you when I met you, I put an advert in the paper for tools, “shipwright.. …boat builder requires tools.”
And as much a part of the process was getting these tools, which people answered the adverts, and that’s how all these really nice amazing people who had been boat builders and shipwrights and things like that and they were able to sort of help engage me on the process because you kind of get a good feeling off these things. People have used these tools all their working lives and they’re sort of things you sort of feel good about using and it sort of brings a good feeling to the job.
So in a sense the sourcing of the tools to do it all traditionally, because I wanted to do it traditionally as opposed to maybe strip planking it where you glue it with your epoxy resin and things like that, just really didn’t interest me, because I think probably I’ve got to say that I am interested in boat building from the least sophisticated angle rather than if you’re thinking about beautiful yachts that are made and varnished and they look as though they have been made out of Chippendale furniture- I can’t discount that because it is really good but I am interested in the type of boats that working people have built to do a job, probably as quick as they could, probably as cheap as they could and they had a functionality about them and that’s the real thing that I am interested in. I’m interested in sort of not making the process any more elaborate than it needs to be and that looks bad enough as it is in the garage there. But that’s really quite simple, and I like the idea of using simple tools to do a task that’s been done for hundreds of years, which is the baseline of boatbuilding.
I don’t know if you’ve been abroad and you’ve seen the boats they’ve got in the Mediterranean- those nice, quite rugged but quite primitive carvel built boats they’ve got in Malta and places like that. The sort of basic need to have a boat to do a job is what interests me rather than a yacht or a really sort of high quality finish.
Nigel has 22 memories in the memorynet:
Nigel's memories with a Skills theme:
- Interest in traditional boats
- Process of building a wooden boat
- Sourcing traditional boat building tools
- The adze and caulking irons
- Sound of the adze
- Sound of the augur
- Sound of caulking
- Sound of a jack plane
- Caulking irons
- Hand brace and augurs
- Wooden caulking mallet
- Jack plane
- Half model and plans
- Nigel at work in his workshop
Nigel's other memories: