Thursday, 28 January 2010

Spanish Wood

The Spanish Mediterranean coast is not a good place for buying wood. Though a thick pelt of forestry covers many areas of Catalunya there is little general use of wood. While you might see pine beams in old buildings, timber has barely been used in construction since the 60’s when concrete became God and high-rise apartment blocks ruptured the skyline.

Wood in the home has been ousted by a dictatorship of flat-pack furniture. Familiar tables and lamps crop up in other people’s homes with depressing regularity. An insidious bland conformity spreads from home to home. And if a window and wooden frame need repairing they are inevitably replaced with quadruple glazed windows in white aluminium frames that swoosh shut, sealing you in soundproof rooms full of stale air.

My carpenter friend Mr Mushroom makes gates and fences where before he made cupboards and bookcases. He insists however, that wood is cheap. It is not. Particularly if you need something a little bit special for your boat. Even hardwood scraps seem hard to come by.

So I was very pleased when one morning a wave washed a piece of teak up the beach. It wasn’t very big and, judging by the drill holes and saw cuts, had drifted from a boatyard somewhere over the horizon. But it was just what I needed to replace the two stern cleats on OB.


Bob Easton said...

Lucky you! Those are nice cleats you made from useful driftwood.

I agree with your sentiment that wood is not cheap. While visiting my daughter in Austria recently, I was surprised by how expensive simple larch is, more than twice what we might pay for similar lumber here in the U.S. Not cheap. Good to have a nice source of driftwood!

BTW, whatever you did a couple of weeks ago regarding publishing techniques solved the unwanted HTML we were seeing in RSS feeds. Thanks!

ChrisP said...

A lovely pic of the wave breaking, too.

Ben said...

I had to go round the forums before I found a solution that I was capable of applying. I'm now copy-pasting from Word to Text Edit before I post and that seems to do the trick.

Dhiego said...

Hi Ben,
I`ve been seeing your blog very often lately. Im an architect living in Barcelona, and studing boats design and construction.
I was wondering if you could give me some advise of how should I look for a job on this area (boat design and construction) here in Cataluña.
Well, congrats for your blog, and for your wondeful boat.
Regards from a fan.

Ben said...


the only advice I can offer is that you go and visit boat yards and design offices, try and talk to people, show interest, you might arrive at just the right moment.

It's a job searching process that's worked for me. I don't hold much store in phoning or sending CVs.

Thanks for your kind words and best of luck to you.

Dhiego said...

Thanks for your answer. Its great to hear from you.
Said that, I would like to make you another question.
As I said Im no Naval Architect, just an architect trying a self-learning and practice-learning process, instead of an academic-learning one. Im can make 3d Rhino drawings, can understand the principles of stability.
But Im considering work as a fairer and maybe painter just to get a closer contact with boats hulls, instead of trying to get in a computer/office position.
I dont know if its a nice choice, taking in consideration what I could learn and the possible salary.
Sorry about my english. Hope you could understand my doubt.
Thanks again,

Ben said...

Hi Dhiego,

If you can afford to take a low paid job, go for it. I'm sure you can find work around the yards. Fairing is dusty and dirty though and painting can be quite tedious.

Best of luck