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Thread: Indonesian Boatbuilding

  1. #1
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    Default Indonesian Boatbuilding

    Since we were sailing for 10 months last year and were in Indonesia for 5 weeks I thought I would share some pics of the boatbuilding we saw when we stopped (briefly) in Wera, a seaside "town".


    This boys were hanging all over the framework having a good time.



    This boat was about 30 meters long (100')


    Check out the size of the keel timbers.






    He did have an electric drill to bore holes for trunnels.

    Last edited by David Tabor (sailordave); 01-30-2019 at 06:47 PM.
    The only difference between [where I work] and the TITANIC is... The TITANIC had a band.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Indonesian Boatbuilding

    Fascinating. Got to wonder how they controlled the shape without any apparent framing at all.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Indonesian Boatbuilding

    Was this in Sulawesi? Very cool.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Indonesian Boatbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by nrs5000 View Post
    Was this in Sulawesi? Very cool.
    Sumbawa Island. Just west of Komodo Nat'l Park. Yes, we saw the Dragons and we went diving there also! Amazing.
    The only difference between [where I work] and the TITANIC is... The TITANIC had a band.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Indonesian Boatbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by David Tabor (sailordave) View Post
    Sumbawa Island. Just west of Komodo Nat'l Park. Yes, we saw the Dragons and we went diving there also! Amazing.
    Very cool, I went to Indonesia in the 90s and saw some boatbuilding in Sulawesi -- as well as visiting the Komodos. Unfortunately bypassed Sumbawa between visiting Lombok and Flores.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Indonesian Boatbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    Fascinating. Got to wonder how they controlled the shape without any apparent framing at all.
    The bevels control the shape. The planks are firebent and mortised and tennoned to each other. The eye of the builder supervises.
    Here a video, construction starts at 5:20.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Indonesian Boatbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumars View Post
    The planks are firebent and mortised and tennoned to each other.[/video]
    Wow! Crazy.
    The tenon is presumably pinned somehow in lieu of frames?

    Is it like tongue and groove - or - biscuits?
    Can't quite get my head around it. The grain direction would be a severe weak spot without frames......
    Philip K. Dick 'Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away'.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Indonesian Boatbuilding

    Sometimes some of the dowels get pinned but mostly not. Some builders now use a combination of wooden dowels and iron nails. They also have a tree resin wich they paint over the bark that serves as caulking. After a certain height of planking is reached they start fitting floors made from crooks. Those get fixed to the planking and keel by trunnels and sometimes iron bolts. Then they continue planking and fit the futtocks. In the end the boats end up fully framed. The builders also use a lot of legs during construction, pushing the planks to shape and keeping them there until framing is installed. It's the reverse of clamps, we pull the plank to a frame until bolted, they push the plank until it lines up with the one below and keep it there against springback until the frame is installed.

    This is standard plank first construction and was used like this in Europe before we switched to carveel. Mortise and tenon exists since we abandoned sewed boats, at the beginning of the bronze age. (Of course some cultures still build sewn wooden boats, they are not dead.) When we say traditional wooden boatbuilding what we should mean is this tehnique, carveel is still a new invention and epoxy boatbuilding has not yet registered in history.

    In Europe they used rectangular floating tenons (biscuits) that got pinned at both ends into the planks instead of the dowels used in Indonesia and Malayesia. There is some planking from a wreck were the tenons are offset and overlapping.
    Viking lapstrake boats were built the same way, plank first, no or only minimal molds, the only difference is overlaping the planks and using iron fasteners.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Indonesian Boatbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumars View Post
    The bevels control the shape. The planks are firebent and mortised and tennoned to each other. The eye of the builder supervises.
    Here a video, construction starts at 5:20.

    Thanks, lovely work.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Indonesian Boatbuilding

    This construction is very much like the system used in The Netherlands, with carvel, till the change in the 17th century. Then frames were erected and completed first, followed by planking.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Indonesian Boatbuilding

    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    This construction is very much like the system used in The Netherlands, with carvel, till the change in the 17th century. Then frames were erected and completed first, followed by planking.
    Actually closer to the Egyptian method with tenons joining the planks.
    I have read that both methods were used side by side in the Netherlands. Merchant vessels being shell first and naval vessels frame first
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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