Download audio file (boat building.mp3)
Kiwi: I grew up…well that was our weekend treat,…was to go out to the holiday house at Rangitoto Island and one of the friends on Rangitoto Island about four years older than myself; he got into boat building; served his time with the New Zealand Navy as a boat builder. In those days they were building wooden clinker type boats. That’s where the planks are overlapping each other. All your planking is steamed for the shape…You have the…
Ozzie: That’s a clinker?
Kiwi: Yeah. You have the internal ribs which have to be steamed. You know?
Ozzie: Tongue and groove?
Kiwi: No, no. Your planks actually overlap each other but each plank has to be individually shaped.
Ozzie: Like weatherboard?
Kiwi: Yeah. Shape the edge then bring the other one over the top of it and then they are riveted through with copper rivets to an internal ribcage (that) you have inside there so you actually build the boat on a wooden frame first. You form the shape of your boat on a wooden frame. Ok? The whole thing.
Ozzie: The wood. The frame is wooden too?
Kiwi: Well it is just a temporary frame but it is the shape of what the boat is to look like.
Kiwi: So you build your frame first, ok?
Kiwi: And then you lay your planks around the frame, ok?
Kiwi: To get the shape of the frame. And this is where the clinker type came…that the planks overlapped each other maybe by about ten twelve millimetre. Each plank had to be individually shaped and then they were copper riveted through to hold the two planks together. And then once you had formed the shape of the boat over the frame, you turned the boat up the correct way. You had this internal wooden frame inside.
Kiwi: Then you started to remove that frame and you put these what we call ribs inside. They were a thin strip of timber mainly formed from green oak and you put that through there and again you riveted through from the exterior planking through that rib with a little copper nail with a little copper washer over them. You cut it roughly to length; left it a little bit longer and you riveted it over so it held the rib to the actual wooden side plank.
Ozzie: Right. And it is all copper to stop corrosion.
Kiwi: All copper nailed. Yeah. All copper nailed. And that was the real traditional boat-building style before fibre-glass boats came on the market. And of course they taught that skill at the New Zealand Navy. All their small boats, training boats; they had sails and all that sort of thing…were formed in that type of fashion.
Link to The Devil’s Speedboat
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