By any standard this is an incredible example of the skill of the boat builder. How is it all held together?
All Indonesian planked boats are built in this way - no ribs, no frames, no overlapping of the planks, no rivets, no nails or screws, no glue, no cunning system of mirrors - in fact no sign of anything!
The answer is wooden pegs or dowels about every five inches.
Both planks are drilled with great accuracy so that the holes are directly opposite each other. Wooden pegs are then driven into holes in the lower plank with sufficient left protruding for the second plank, already drilled, to be driven down onto the protruding pegs.
The planking of the Lis Alis from Surabaya is a good example in a fishing boat. In it one stout frame has been added to support the mast.
The method requires skill and is pleasing to look at but there's one great disadvantage - it is impossible to repair using the same technique. Either the boat will be demolished plank by plank and then built up again or the repair will have to be a nailed-on patch.
It was common practise, in many parts of the world, before saws made the work so much easier, for planks to see service in several boats. In Indonesia, where teak is used for planking this continues to be the case, for the wood is of such excellence that it would be mad to throw it out after use in only one boat.
This boat was given to ISCA by the British American Tobacco Company of Indonesia.
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