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(G) The construction of traditional fishing craft

The work of the navatt (as he was called locally) began with the preparation of the necessary material: chestnut wood for the hull planks and sides and for the ribs, with false acacia for the trim. Square-section nails of various sizes – burnished in order to rustproof them – were also required, as were tow or strands of lime-tree bark and pitch for caulking, as well as the skill of the craftsman, of course, consisting in intimate knowledge of the materials, a steady, precise hand, a keen eye and experience.

Once the bottom of the boat (lünéta or fund) had been prepared, the planking was gradually added, being worked on with a hatchet and shaped using the heat of the fire. The ribs, hewn from curved branches, were sawn off and finished with a special hatchet resembling a hoe in shape.

The planks were joined to one another by inserting riveted nails. Caulking was subsequently carried out to seal them and make them watertight; this operation began with the forcing of strands of hemp tow or lime-tree bark (tea) into the seams between the planks, using a special chinsing iron.

Subsequently the interior and exterior of the vessel were protected with pitch, a black, viscous liquid obtained from bitumen or resinous woods. It was applied hot and was also frequently used to obtain coarse decorations on the sides, traces of which practice are preserved in a number of old photographs.

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