13 February 2011

Boat builder, Mandvi

At Mandvi on the coast of Gujarat near Bhuj, wooden ships are still built using the old methods (even the electric drill seemed ancient). This small fishing boat would take about six months to build, he told us. I know little about boat building, but a little more about carpentry and joinery, and I liked the look of this. It seemed organic, as if it were in the process of coming alive.

[9 February 2007; Canon 20D, 10–22 mm f4 at 22 mm, ISO 200, 1/30 at f8]
All content © 2011 Pete McGregor


Zhoen said...

Wonderfully rough.

Paul said...

Not exactly prime select stock. Makes you wonder how spoiled boat builders in more 'developed' countries are, and what customers their demand. Even me. If I were to take six months to build a craft like this, you can bet your ballast, I wouldn't be using wood stock with knots, cracks and other flaws.

Yet, this fellow looks so refined (greying temples, glasses); like he works in an office and does this on the weekend as a hobby -- in bare feet!

Paul said...

"and what their customers, demand -- even me."

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, yes, it's still possible to see the trees, not just the wood.

Paul, I like the idea the wood has been chosen because it does the job (probably with strength to spare) and the cosmetics play a minor role, at least where appearance isn't important. It amounts to a far more efficient use of timber, and in a place like Gujarat I imagine this would be a major consideration. I guess one of the downsides would be that the timbers would often have to be much more substantial to compensate for their flaws, making the boat much heavier than if it had been built from beautifully even-grained wood.
    You're right about his appearance — that's very much the impression I had when we met him. I liked that, too — the delightful shaking up of my preconceptions.