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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.

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