My wife and I are both fans of the TV show “NCIS.” So taking a cue from Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, here’s my own list of rules. Full disclosure, I’ll freely admit that I can claim authorship on only a very few of them. I’m not bashful about adopting the wisdom of others.

  • Rule # 1.  The purpose of a boat – any boat – is to make the owner happy.   I’ve listed this as Rule 1 because it is universal; it applies to all boats from kayaks to supertankers. I’ve gone to “messabouts” (small boat gatherings) where you see every variety of boat; some very traditional while others are very innovative; some very fancy and finely finished, others less so. But when we’re out on the water, everyone is having just as much fun as the next, in a boat that suits that individual. And that’s what really counts.
  • Rule #2.  There’s only two kinds of lumber – not cheap and very expensive. “Not cheap” lumber is what you find at the big box store. It’s not only not cheap, a lot of it is not good – well, maybe for firewood. For the boats I build, lumber from the big box store is good for temporary pieces that are not part of the finished boat. Lumber suitable for boatbuilding comes from the specialty lumber yard, with the specialty price. (Note: some boatbuilders disagree with me on this, using “not cheap” wood for their boats. I’m okay with that – Rule 1 trumps Rule 2)
  • Rule #3.  Simpler is best, except when complicated looks really cool.   I “adopted” this rule from a gentleman on the WoodenBoat forum. Tammie Norrie will have open gunwales, wood rope-stropped blocks, rope fenders and bow pudding, in short, all the really cool stuff that my limited craftsmanship allows. Why? Again, see Rule 1.

I’ll add to this list as the mood strikes me, or get struck by some pearl of wisdom.  Given my current state of progress on Tammie Norrie, that’s almost a certainty.


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