Where art though woodworkers???
As many of you know, I work for a boatbuilding company. I am a machinist, but we hire a lot of woodworkers. The fact is the company I work for just cannot find enough woodworkers. Now granted the yachts we build are in the 3-15 million dollar range and when people are spending this much for a yacht, they want every thing to be perfect...and I mean perfect. Angles are in the ½º range. Gaps can be no bigger then 1/32. And every board is finished with 18-20 coats of spar varnish.
The back log of boats to start building extends into the next decade. The company has doubled in size, built a huge new boat building and have been hiring machinists, carpenters, electricians and other trades to boot...200 in total right now. Still transitioning from home carpentry to boatbuilding has been tough. Even with above average pay, good benefits and extremely generous vacation times, they cannot find enough woodworkers.
So my question is, where can the booming yacht building industry here in Maine find new woodworkers? Why aren't there more young people getting involved or stepping forward? I mean its clean, challenging and work that is warm and done inside buildings on a year around basis. There is a lot of finished pride at the boats launching; and yet there are no woodworkers to be had.
Even in the machine shop, I work with 7 other people and 5 are nearing retirement age. When I ask myself "who will be here in 5 years",the shop starts to look pretty sparse. Over in the carpentry shop, and the cabinet shop, its even worse. Its filled with skilled, older workers. Who is going to replace those guys? With boats there is a huge learning curve, and a lot of compound angles and sweeping curves to deal with. How can a blossoming boatyard have a future without talented woodworkers?
This is scary stuff...where oh where are the woodworkers??
(Here is the link for my place of employment in case you are into boats or are just interested in what we build. The best pictures are located under the "Just launched" link. Then under the "Electra" link, then about halfway down that page there is a link for "Interior pictures". These show off the interior woodwork quite well.)
Last edited by Travis Johnson; 01-11-2008 at 09:47 AM.
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"