Wooden boatbuilding in England during WWII — A fascinating short film in honor of the seventieth anniversary of D-Day

During the second world war steel became a rare commodity. In fact, many metals became rationed for certain applications and this led engineers to revisit the use of "older" material such as wood, or newer materials such as plastic to substitute for the coveted metals. Brass, for instance, was in high demand predominantly for artillery shells.  So, hand plane makers, unable to use it in abundance, converted the heavy adjustment nut to be made predominantly of Bakelite. The same principle dictated the work of ship designers. In this newly released archived movie dated back to the height of WWII you can watch how trees were turned into patrol boats that served off the shores of the British Isles. From the outside this navy vessel looks like it is made of steel but actually almost all of it is wood. The movie shows the entire building process including the traditional craftspeople, their tools, and techniques. I believe this movie will fascinate everyone who is interested in wood and woodworking, as well as in the great lives and sacrifices of the heroes of the Second World War. 


The Little Ships of England (1943) from British Council Film on Vimeo.

American Woodworker Blog
Yoav Liberman

About Yoav Liberman

Yoav S. Liberman is a woodworker and a teacher. His pieces have been featured in several woodworking books, most recently in Robin Wood’s CORES Recycled. Yoav teaches woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, and also frequently guest teaches in craft schools across the country.  Between 2003 and 2011 Yoav  headed the woodworking program at Harvard University's Eliot House. Yoav’s articles have appeared in American Woodworker and Woodwork Magazine. He frequently contributes woodworking web content to a number of digital publications   Yoav has a degree in architecture and later held two competitive residency programs: at The Worcester Center for Crafts in Massachusetts, and the Windgate Foundation Fellowship at Purchase College, New York. He lives in Chestnut Ridge NY.