Results 1 to 35 of 35

Thread: 86 year old boatbuilder

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    north queensland
    Posts
    2,594

    Default 86 year old boatbuilder

    Dad turns 86 on the 8th August.
    IMG_2456.jpg

    He's been making the scarph joints for the mast prior to glueing. We are using Silver Quondong for the mast and all the spars except to the bowsprit. I have Douglas Fir coming from an importer in Victoria (Australia) for this. We did hook out some biggish PNG Rosewood planks but decided this was too good to cut up and my one remaining Huon Pine slab (6m x 45mm x450mm) would be mostly wasted trying to cut out all the defects. Better to be used for house furniture of some description.

    While Dad is building the mast I have been cleaning down the hull in readiness for primer and seam puttying. I stop to help Dad with a lot of the more robust tasks of moving timber about and a myriad other jobs so he can keep working! I wonder if this is 'elder abuse'!!!!!????



    IMG_2467.jpg

    Dad is "banned" from getting up on the ramp or scaffolding to do any work. In fact we have both decided its much safer he stay 'down below' to do work at floor level. Despite his age, he is in good health and very hearty. We get along very well and we do have a lot of fun each day despite the hard work (and dust!).

    Dad has built, owned and operated a slipway and timber boatbuilding construction business for many years and now at 86, his craftsmanship is still at the fore. Age has not diminished his innate ability to build.

    We affectionately and jokingly call ourselves "weak & feeble boatbuilders inc" with the byline, "place your order today and pick up in a decade". I think we got the idea for this after my cliff fall accident and well, we like to make light of life and what it delivers up for us.

    Dad has come from humble beginnings and his father passed away suddenly when he was only eight. He has served in the Korean War and Malay Emergency and was the youngest sergeant in the Army at the time. He pioneered boatbuilding in North Queensland, built multiple carvel boats of various types and successfully raised a family. He has five artificial joints, a pacemaker and only recently had a congenital hole in his heart repaired. He is now in deep remission from a blood cancer. He still speaks some Japanese (self taught whilst in Japan during his army days) and can recite poetry he learnt as a boy.

    IMG_2469.jpg
    Dad with "Bosun" my 12 year old cat that lives with my parents. Bosun will come across to the boat shed most days to say "hello". He is a very affectionate cat and will stop for a chat (he is very talkative), have a good look around then wander back over to the house for his afternoon nap.
    Last edited by Bernadette; 08-07-2018 at 04:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Toodyay, Western Australia
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    We all know building boats is good for the soul. Looks like your Dad is demonstrating it is also good for a healthy long life. I wonder if this still holds true when epoxy is involved?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    north queensland
    Posts
    2,594

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    dad has messed with all manner of toxic materials in the past, most notably red lead powder. there has been a lifetime of inhaling sawdust. he did build a number of fibreglass boats and I think from memory, there was little in the way of OHS when these got built. the emphasis was on measuring the humidity in the shed before layup rather than ensuring what protective gear was worn! he got some blood work done awhile back and he has no heavy metal residue in his system. his lungs are clear.

    dad will attribute his longevity to a familial destiny and trait coupled with good clean living (both body and mind) with a robust sense of humour.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    South Australia and Tasmania
    Posts
    14,817

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Happy Birthday to him. Finastkind.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Livin' in Oz
    Posts
    56,002

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Great to see. Strewth... it's 7 years since I last saw him and double that since he sailed with us. Time flies. Please pass on my birthday wishes to Keith.
    "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome and charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime" Mark Twain... so... Carpe the living sh!t out of the Diem

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    north queensland
    Posts
    2,594

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    IMG_2498.jpg
    sanding the hull prior to primer and seam putty.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Southampton Ont. Canada
    Posts
    6,215

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Elder abuse? HA!
    It would be abuse if you didn't let him work.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    905

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Happy birthday to your father, it's wonderful that you have the opportunity to still work togehter on such a great project.

    Don't over do it at any one time sanding the hull. Shoulders wear out from all that over head work and it's a painful nuisance later on.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Location
    Portland, Maine
    Posts
    16,395

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Please pass on some Happy Birthday wishes to your dad from Maine.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Northern NSW Australia
    Posts
    71,245

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    You're a lucky woman to have your Dad still with you Bern and both sharing a passion for the trade and he's a lucky man to have a daughter who shares his passion. Happy Birthday and well done both of you.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    central cal
    Posts
    13,617

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Lovely.

    Send my best birthday wishes.

    Peace,
    Robert

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    N.E. Connecticut.
    Posts
    5,897

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Happy Birthday to your dad Bernadette!! Can’t think of anything much nicer, working together building another boat.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    14,817

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Was that resorcinol glue out of date?
    Dad's not.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Southern Maine
    Posts
    20,187

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Happy birthday to an inspiration.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2000
    Location
    San Francisco Bay
    Posts
    11,569

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Way to go! What a guy!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Pleasant Valley NS Canada
    Posts
    14,990

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Happy Birthday, Bernadette's Dad! Good on ya.

    My Dad turns 91 this autumn, and is still going, albeit at a reduced rate. His hip gives him trouble, and he has trouble remembering names. This summer he is using pick and shovel to rebuild a 16m x 1.5m stone wall on his property. Friends & neighbours are aghast at this, but Dad & his kids all agree that exercise is good, everybody dies sometime, and you might as well die as a result of doing something you like as opposed to not doing it and not liking that.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    8,160

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    It's good to see your Dad out in the shed, Bernadette. Wish him a Happy birthday from me. Boat's looking good.

    Jim

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Abbotsford, B.C.
    Posts
    4,850

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Happy Birthday to your Dad.
    ( I like his construction boots.)
    basil

  19. #19
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas, USA
    Posts
    2,099

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Happy birthday and congrats to you both.
    Hope I'm still functional at that age.

    5 joints?

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Lake Champlain, Vermont
    Posts
    2,596

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    My compliments to your dad. I am only 84, still building boats and hope I am as good as he when i reach his ripe old age. My wife wont let me near a ladder, but when she aint lookin'...

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    victoria, australia. (1 address now)
    Posts
    49,841

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Happy birthday to your dad Bernie, and congrat's to you for the boat, makes my efforts in ply look very tame.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    New Zealand's Far North
    Posts
    7,905

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Best wishes to your Dad, both he and the boat are looking good!
    There is nothing quite as permanent as a good temporary repair.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    PNW, an island west of Seattle
    Posts
    1,633

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Bernadette,

    My dad lived to 88 years. I think it was his boat(s) that were primarily responsible for getting him there in such fine fettle. His time at the marina was spent fiddling with his boat, talking with his friends, and lending a well practiced hand wherever and whenever he could. Working side by side with my dad wasn't possible for me. But it cheers me to no end to see that you can, and do, with your dad. Congratulations to you both.

    Jeff

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Posts
    142

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Thanks for the story, Bernadette. My favorite photo is the one of your dad with Bosun. A mast-building octogenarian and an orange tabby, life doesn't get any better.

    Looking forward to hearing more news of this rebuild down the road.

    Cheers, Dan

  25. #25
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    north queensland
    Posts
    2,594

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    thank you all so much for your kind, fun and thoughtful comments. I'll be sure to show dad "his" thread.

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Uki, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    25,924

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    I want your shed.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

  27. #27
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    north queensland
    Posts
    2,594

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Quote Originally Posted by WX View Post
    I want your shed.
    ah its not so good...not much room to sort and store timber...the 'heap' was once tidy, now its a mess...
    IMG_2464.jpg
    there are piles of timber (mostly offcuts) all over the place in the main part of the shed in and around the boat.
    this is the main stack of timber in the annexe. in there (somewhere!) is the rest of the timber with which we will finish the yacht.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Uki, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    25,924

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernadette View Post
    ah its not so good...not much room to sort and store timber...the 'heap' was once tidy, now its a mess...
    IMG_2464.jpg
    there are piles of timber (mostly offcuts) all over the place in the main part of the shed in and around the boat.
    this is the main stack of timber in the annexe. in there (somewhere!) is the rest of the timber with which we will finish the yacht.
    I can see my new toe rail/rub rails in that stack.
    There's is serious potential in that stack Bernadette.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Toodyay, Western Australia
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Strewth, I thought my scrap piles were out of control, but having seen that now I feel quite the OCD neat freak.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    north queensland
    Posts
    2,594

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Quote Originally Posted by Small boats rock View Post
    Strewth, I thought my scrap piles were out of control, but having seen that now I feel quite the OCD neat freak.


    well like I said....I did have it all sorted but we wanted to see if we had any timber suitable for the bowsprit and knowing that the Huon pine slab was at the bottom of the pile...murphy's law and all that!!!!
    in the process of looking we found some PNG Rosewood planks of decent size and had clean forget I ever purchased anything of the sort! under all of the cut off lengths is quite a number of Grey Satin Ash planks, white beech decking, and myriad other lengths of Scented Maple plus odd bits of other nice timber suitable for finishing of the interior.

    Many years ago when Dad was running his commercial boatbuilding he would have mostly burnt the majority of this pile.
    We now keep everything. For example, even very small scraps of timber are worthwhile for plugs.

  31. #31
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Gold Coast Australia
    Posts
    2,307

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Wonderful to be able to share time working with your dad doing something you both love.
    You and the boat looking great. Happy Birthday Dad.

  32. #32
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Toodyay, Western Australia
    Posts
    546

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernadette View Post


    well like I said....I did have it all sorted but we wanted to see if we had any timber suitable for the bowsprit and knowing that the Huon pine slab was at the bottom of the pile...murphy's law and all that!!!!
    in the process of looking we found some PNG Rosewood planks of decent size and had clean forget I ever purchased anything of the sort! under all of the cut off lengths is quite a number of Grey Satin Ash planks, white beech decking, and myriad other lengths of Scented Maple plus odd bits of other nice timber suitable for finishing of the interior.

    Many years ago when Dad was running his commercial boatbuilding he would have mostly burnt the majority of this pile.
    We now keep everything. For example, even very small scraps of timber are worthwhile for plugs.
    Well you know what they say, waste not want not. Your stash is full of goodies. One of my discoveries about building boats with wood is that the sourcing and purchasing of good wood is always an ongoing and opportunistic background activity... but a very pleasant activity too.

  33. #33
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    north queensland
    Posts
    2,594

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Quote Originally Posted by snaildrake View Post
    Thanks for the story, Bernadette. My favorite photo is the one of your dad with Bosun. A mast-building octogenarian and an orange tabby, life doesn't get any better.

    Looking forward to hearing more news of this rebuild down the road.

    Cheers, Dan
    Dan, I meant to tell you...its a new boat we are building. Not a rebuild!

  34. #34
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    north queensland
    Posts
    2,594

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Dad had a good birthday today. I showed him this thread and he was most chuffed with the attention and comments. So thank you to everyone for your contributions here.
    He spent today working with me...he's finished scarphing the joints for the mast. We would go ahead and glue but supply has been an issue.

  35. #35
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Uki, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    25,924

    Default Re: 86 year old boatbuilder

    Quote Originally Posted by auscruisertom View Post
    Wonderful to be able to share time working with your dad doing something you both love.
    You and the boat looking great. Happy Birthday Dad.
    Last time I saw my Dad alive we did a project together. It was a great day or two together. When we parted it was a firm handshake as we both knew it was the last.
    The definition of stupid has got to be the belief that more guns will negate the bloodshed done with guns.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •