The Connection: What do I really need to build a boat?

The real challenge is in your head, or more specifically, how you use your head. However, being highly intelligent with a higher than average IQ is not necessary. Doing some prep-work to prepare you mind will help greatly. Before you start there are a few things you can do to make the project rewarding.

The first step is it to commit to your project. You must set your mind to completing the boat, no matter what obstacles you face. Do not even entertain the idea that something cannot be done. If there is any doubt in your mind, there is a great possibility that your boat will never be completed. However, if you have the mindset that you will overcome any obstacles, no matter how great it may seem, you will be rewarded beyond description.

Although that may sound like something from a motivational speech, it really does work. I would go into how the psychology of this works, but that is not what this article is about. Instead, let's look at some of the challenges you will face and how to take them on. There will be some point when you will have to make a piece or join pieces together that looks impossible. The plans show it can be done, but not exactly how. The angles don't add up and you have not even cut the piece yet. Or maybe you have cut a piece 3 times and it is still wrong. When this happens, take a deep breath and relax. It is possible you just cannot see it yet. Sit down with the plans and study them in a quiet place. Clear your mind, turn off the radio and do not sit in front of the TV, make yourself big glass of lemonade and commit yourself to not doing any work for the next 20 minutes and think about the problem. Stay focused and with your mind clear and relaxed and the answer will probably come. You will see the picture of exactly what the designer wanted and wonder why you had not seen it before.

If the answer does not appear, there is still no reason to worry. Take a look at your watch and see if the 20 minutes are up. If so, next step is to take a break. Sweep the floor, clean up the tools and pick up the shop or work area. Turn the light off and go do something else. Go to bed early and get a good nights rest. If the answer is not there by morning, skim over the boat building books you have to see if there is any info that may help. Then get on the Internet and see what others have to say. Also calling the designer is very helpful. So far I have never been disappointed by any designer's willingness to help me understand how something is supposed to be. Remember they are the ones that designed it and intimately know every inch of it. You really can find the answer even if the plans are not clear.

Once you think you have an answer, no matter what the clarity, go and test it right way. (Waiting longer than 1-2 days can easily turn into weeks, so do not hesitate.) As you walk in to your shop or work area, with the clean floor and with all the tools put where they belong, you are ready for a new start. It also helps you focus on the task at hand. Find a piece of scrap, cut it to shape and practice with it. If scrap wood is not possible use cardboard. If it does not work the first time, look closely to see why, then make another test piece. By the second or third try you will reach perfection. (It is usually at this point that I scratch my head and wonder why I did not see it before because it is as clear as can be right there on the plans!) It will also give you practice to make the multi-complex angled piece. No matter how big the problem is, it can be overcome and it's not that hard. If you use and master this method your boat will be a success. You will also find that this method, can help you with many of the challenges of life. (Note: It is not a good idea to use the "turn off the lights and go do something else" part when dealing with a spouse.)

So what do you really need to build a boat? You need determination and a knowledge of the basics. Everything else is secondary.