ơn 3 tuần liền loay hoay với cái xưởng… sơn quét lại cho sạch, dọn dẹp mọi thứ cho ngăn nắp, dưới đây chỉ là góc nhỏ. Có thể có người không hiểu, nhưng cái xưởng có 1001 chi tiết lắt nhắt, từ cái đinh, con ốc, vô số dụng cụ, phụ kiện, hoá chất… khác phải sắp xếp phân loại, đinh ốc 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6… cm, mũi khoan 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7… mm, cờ lê 8, 9, 10… 19, 20mm, giấy chà nhám 60, 80, 100, 200, 300, 500grit… tất cả phải sắp xếp đâu ra đó, đúng vị trí!

Tôi rất khoái treo các loại dụng cụ lên một cái bảng, sẵn sàng như thế, như người ta nói: “when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like nail – khi trong tay chỉ có cái búa thì mọi chuyện nhìn giống cây đinh”! Đôi khi chỉ vì không biết mình có một cái tool nào đó mà lại không nghĩ đến được một phương án thi công tốt hơn. Nhắc chuyện cái búa mới nhớ, hiện tại cũng đang cầm một loại búa khác, cũng nặng nề và phức tạp không kém (như trong ảnh)! 😀


ai cuối tuần chỉnh trang, sắp xếp lại cái xưởng mộc, tiện tay sửa luôn cái cửa, cửa lớn là cho người, cửa nhỏ bên dưới là dành cho… mèo, y như trong phim hoạt hình Tom & Jerry ấy 🙂 ! Những người làm phim hẳn đã nghiên cứu kỹ hành vi của loài mèo, ku Tom này không “nịnh” thì thôi, chứ đã “nịnh”, “quấn” người cũng khéo lắm!

Đi đâu về là đã thấy ảnh nằm ở cửa chờ như chó vậy! Tom dù sao cũng là động vật sống về đêm, ban ngày ngủ, ban đêm đi chơi đến 4, 5h sáng mới về, chui vô phòng, leo lên giường, liếm liếm tay mình mấy cái báo cáo đã về, rồi lăn ra ngủ ngon lành! Chắc là đi kiếm những thể loại “nocturnal rapport – những buổi hẹn hò thú vị về đêm”… 😀

my possession

Kéo cưa, lừa xẻ,
Ông thợ nào khoẻ,
Thì ăn cơm vua.
Ông thợ nào thua,
Thì về bú tí.

leaning and tidying up the workshop in preparation for my next Serene – 2 build. Having a chance to look back at the past few years’ works. Apart from Hello World – 1, my first build, a small canoe which is no longer functional (it was turned into an in – house shelf), the 3 kayaks seen here are built in a 3 – years time span, one in each year. Still feel not having enough of them, still in the quest for my “perfect expeditional kayak”! 😀

Hello World 1 photo albums: part 1, part 2
Hello World 2 photo albums: part 1, part 2
Hello World 3 photo albums: part 1, part 2, part 3
Serene 1 photo albums: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4
Serene 2 photo albums: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

my workshop – 2

Như dòng sông ra đại dương, qua bao ghềnh và đá cheo leo.
Đấu tranh này bền lòng em ơi, mới tới ngày nắng ấm…

Lời người ra đi - Trần Hoàn - Khí nhạc: Nguyễn Đình Nghĩa 

ake my little free time to do some updates for the workshop, it’s covered with layers of dust after months without any woodworking projects 😢. First is the wall – mounted kayak rack, a simple structure to stack – up my boats to better utilize the room’s space. Seen mounted on the rack are my HW – 2 & HW – 3 kayaks. The HW – 1 canoe has been in dis – use for a very long time already, so I decided to turn it into… a shelf!

Cut out the aft part, attach a MDF sheet to make a standing base, erect it upright et voilà, you have a shelf to store various miscellaneous things! 😀 I was a bit hesitating in “scarifying” a canoe in such a way, but I would stick with sea kayaks for some years to come, would be back to canoes at an uncertain time. Also, I’m in the initial stage of planning for my next build, something I would start by designing it, or at least learn to design it!


Xác vờ gởi mặc kiền khôn,
Tẻo teo hạt thóc trong cồn bể xanh.
Thoáng một chốc kiếp sinh là mấy?
Khen con sông nước chảy khôn cùng!

on’t expect myself to become a marquetry craftsman & artist, but decided to try anyhow. The first reason: to decorate my upcoming boat with some mother – of – pearl inlays, the second reason: to train myself the patience and detail – oriented characters which I apparently quite lack of, the third reason: just for the beauty of the extremely fine art of wood marquetry. It’s too early to say at the moment if I can produce good results, but let just try and see!

First, some preparations need to be made, tools and materials. Image 1: metal working files, compasses, and the thickness gauges. Image 2: some woodworking chisels and carving tools. Image 3: the extremely sharp Tamiya knives. Image 4: the jewelry jig saw, with 4 blade sizes, the smallest being as thin as a thread of hair. Image 5: three different types of mother – of – pearl, or the like, with 3 shades of color: white, reddish and jade. Image 6: my marquetry workbench.

my workshop – 1

lmost finished with upgrading my woodworking workshop, just some more painting, fitting and cleaning up jobs needed! This would be a “well – equipped, well – organized” place to carry out my upcoming projects, which is getting more and more sophisticated! Several assets showed below, including my new Makita MLT100 table saw, the Dremel power tools and other wood carving tools, the Maktec MT362 router and its home – brew routing table, the air compressor and nail gun, a dozen types of chemicals for epoxying and painting, etc… basic things for what could be called a boat – building – workshop! 😀

Drawers for storing various hand held power tools, all these tools need proper care and maintenance.

Makita MLT100 table saw, with this, I can cut wood to the desired sizes, without having to have them cut at the wood mill nearby.

Dremel’s MultiTool and MotoSaw, suitable for small wood working. These are intended for some marquetry works later on.

Maktec MT362 router and its being – built routing table. I used the router itself to install the steel center plate holding the machine underneath.

Various chemicals, the excellent Titebond II wood glue, the 511 epoxy putty, wood carving tools, air compressor, the new Bosch circular saw.

Some more shots around my workshop. Sooner or later, I would need a dust collecting system, or maybe just a vacuum cleaner.


Tôi đang đi, đi trên sông chở đầy nắng hồng.
Đêm nay nghe tiếng sóng biển Đông,
Tôi đang nghe, tôi đang nghe..

ften, I’m not quite pleased with my boat building products, it’s not up to the quality level I’m expecting. And quite regularly, I’m in a dilemma situation that I don’t know what I should improve on: my craftsmanship or my seamanship. (Well, I know, all sound big bold words: craftsmanship & seamanship, but let use them anyhow). The fact is that I’ve just turned to woodworking and boat building for around a year, there’re lots of things still to learn and to improve.

I’ve decided to invest on improving my ‘craftsmanship’. Many hours spent on reading documents and browsing woodworking, boatbuilding forums. Also decided to upgrade my small workshop with more professional tools: a table saw, jig table saw, router and a routing table, air compressor and nail gun, etc… I’m in the preparation process of building Hello World – 3, my next boat, a boat I can trust my life on in the upcoming journeys, and I want to do it as good as I can.

As for Hello World – 3, there’ll be no fixed schedule. All boat designs and boat buildings is kind of compromisation, there’s no such thing as “ultimate perfection”, but I’ll do it until it’s good enough, with no pressure on a launch day, and as my free times permit. There would be lots of new things built into this Hello World – 3: electric pump, battery, electronics, and solar charging system, etc… That’s still a long way to go, concentrate on the basic task of building woodworking tools for now!

It looks like that I’m turning into a cabinet maker for now 😀, of the 3 pieces of “cabinet”, one will be the pedestal for my new Makita MT100 table saw, one would be a routing table (to be fitted with the Maktec MT362 router), and the other table will be used for small cutting and carving tasks with the Dremel’s MultiTool and MotoSaw. I’m adding more and more into my tool collection: Bosch (and it’s subsidiaries Dremel & Skil), Makita (and it’s subsidiary Maktec) and Fein.

These ‘furnitures’ are really basic things built with plywood, some wooden frames, and all painted, so I put ‘aesthetics’ aside and focus on usability. One day, I’ll build all my wooden household objects in finer quality myself, but for now, just these simple woodworking facilities, which I need to complete within this month. The plan is to have Hello World – 3 building started somewhere next month, a huge pile of planned works to be done before the rainy season returns the next year…

Additional assets for the workshop, a small coffee table and 4 chairs, for taking a beverage in the hot tropical afternoon. All built from cheap plywood, and painted with wood color, this is also to test my new idea of painting and color pigment mixing, all takes only a day to complete, a quick and dirty job indeed. Building fine and good looking furniture, like building a good boat, takes lots of time and labour, so I’m pleased with these crude but functional things for now.


4th image below: a clock, a thermometer and a hygrometer to help mixing epoxy resin, a process which is quite weather – sensitive…

y humble woodworking corner with a modest collection of tools for sawing, cutting, drilling, planing, chiseling, sanding… dozens types of chemicals for epoxying, painting, varnishing… For now, it’s still a small corner with basic tools, but it’ll be growing into a “well – equipped” boat – building workshop soon! 😀