At the moment Boatworks Ottawa is just a pseudonym for me, Cameron Metcalfe, and the course I run. I am hoping that, at some point, other people will become interested and it will take on a life of its own.
My working life has been spent as a commercial cabinetmaker, a job that specializes in flat and square. On several occasions, though, I’ve slipped over to the other side, the world of curved and fair, and become involved with boats.
Long ago I built an Adirondack Guideboat, a lovely sort of cross between a canoe and a rowboat. It was a great adventure and I was proud of the result but, using semi traditional techniques, it was a big undertaking. I was lucky to have a well equipped woodworking shop available and the full summer to work. Without those resources no boat would have been built.
Recently, I retired and started to dream of a new boat. I learned that a lot has changed. A boat building technique called “stitch and glue” has been evolving. Once the preserve of a few isolated and technical enthusiasts, it has developed toward a more mainstream audience of home boat builders. A number of companies and individuals have been working on designs that do not require serious woodworking tools nor advanced skills. At the same time new computer design software and many years of experience are paying off with truly beautiful designs. The materials needed for this kind of boat building have become readily available and of high quality.
I gave it a try. I built one boat. Then, because it was so much easier than the Guideboat and just as much fun, I built another. This was starting to endanger the little space left in the garage.
The solution seems to be to share this experience. And so- Boatworks Ottawa.
Building a boat, any boat, is still a serious project. You need to enjoy working with your hands and you need patience. As long as you have those, it will be a pleasure. Along the way it’s wonderful to watch a boat taking shape and eventually will come that great day when you slip it into the water and embark on new adventures.
If you are interested, come and find out more.