Outline - Wooden Blocks

Building Wooden Blocks

Blocks are used in the purchase of a line or for a block and tackle. They’re a crucial part of the running gear on ships and sailboats and are often used for mechanical advantage to reduce a load when pulling or lifting heavy weights.

Blocks are used in the purchase of a line or for a block and tackle. They’re a crucial part of the running gear on ships and sailboats and are often used for mechanical advantage to reduce a load when pulling or lifting heavy weights.

It’s easy to walk into any chandlery and buy blocks off the shelf if you need one, but most blocks today are made of metal and plastic, with function dominating their form. Wooden boats – especially classic vessels – should have wooden blocks, as they are an essential part of enhancing the boat’s overall appearance, and because modern materials have zero advantage in efficiency compared to wooden blocks. You can buy custom wooden blocks but they are usually quite expensive. After learning how to make your own blocks you will see that because the material used is minimal, you would just be paying for someone else to do the labour.

This three-day class will explain the principles of weight reduction using a block and tackle, and students will each produce their own “Handy Billy” (a series of blocks), which, along with being beautiful, is an excellent tool for any boat or workshop. Historically, a Handy Billy would have been used for transferring cargo, raising or lowering a dingy, installing spars, rescuing someone from the water and basically any time it was necessary to move heavy objects. In the process of making wooden blocks for a specific purpose you will develop an understanding of the principles of fabricating a wooden block, allowing you to build any size and type needed.

Tuition and class sizes: $ 500 - Three day course. The minimum number of students for the class to run is 2 to a maximum of 6.

Materials and tools: Some personal hand tools needed; student tool list provided with the registration package. The school will provide all other hand/power tools and machinery necessary, as well as a printed or PDF version of the course handouts.

Materials fee: $80