Build a Boat!
March 29, 2011 8:27 AM Subscribe
posted by richyoung (11 comments total)
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Boat builder, model enthusiast, author, World War 2 veteran, and all-around fascinating character Harold H. "Dynamite" Payson passed away last week
at the age of 82.
Dynamite was best known for his work to popularize boat building. In a decades-long collaboration with the late naval architect Phil Bolger
, he developed a library of plans for simple, forgiving and inexpensive boat designs that he called "Instant Boats
." These designs could be built with construction-grade materials and simple tools; they minimized the need for both the extremely fussy carpentry of traditional wooden boat building and for the expensive marine-grade materials used in more modern construction methods. By lowering these barriers to entry, Dynamite and Phil Bolger brought boat building to a new audience; there are thousands of home-built Bolger/Payson boats afloat across the world today.
Dynamite dropped out of high school to join the US Navy during World War 2, but went on to author books on boat building, model boats,
and tool maintenance
. He also taught boat building classes and contributed to articles to WoodenBoat magazine
I am proud to say that had the opportunity to meet Dynamite and his lovely wife Amy at his home in Thomaston, Maine in 2009 when my nine-year-old son and I stopped by his workshop to purchase a set of plans for the Teal
design. By that time, he was primarily working on models; "I've built my share of boats," he explained. Dynamite seemed very pleased to see a new generation interested in the craft of building boats; as Carl Cramer of WoodenBoat magazine says in his reminiscence
We shouldn’t over-burden his beloved family right now.
But what we each should do is find a neighboring family, and introduce them to the joys of instant boatbuilding. I can think of no greater tribute, now and in the years to come.
RIP, Dynamite. Because of you, our saws are sharper and our sense of our own capabilities has broadened.