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salt and wood

Re use it or lose it

Category Archives: Salt

A quick following note regarding the recent SALT AND WOOD exhibition of selected work at HUT 24 Gallery at Addison Road. It was a great success with many ITEMs sold but far more importantly the meeting of many minds and discussions had with a variety of interesting people regarding design, up cycling, timber and more. Thanks to everyone at HUT 24 for your super support and great premises.

Following on from the exhibition some ITEMS will be available for purchase from the consignment section of ‘The Bower’ up cycling initiative at Addison Road and also records stands are on display in the shop window of Egg Records in Newtown.

Things have been HECTO but I will get more work on line as soon as I can.



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Along the Cooks River near Steel Park in Sydney’s inner west there is an abundance of litter available to engineer sailing craft to fit any brief. This simple skimmer was literally thrown together in 10 minutes and sailed happily out into the river and set of towards the airport and Botany Bay.

A simple well-balanced boat employing a sand and water filled bottle as ballast and hull. A wind rudder (the white foam) is situated over the bow area to assist in pushing her straight. Apart from this there was a wide plywood deck and some bits of a paddle ski (or something?) that gave her some interesting ‘skimming’ qualities as she moved over the water.

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With most of the hull sailing below the waterline this was pretty much a sailing submarine. This would have to be the biggest flotsam boat created to date. And not the prettiest as if that were ever an objective. The first launch was off a  rocky point where the fishermen are. But it kept getting caught in some sort of eddy from the exiting Cooks River and messing with the fishing lines. Fearing being stabbed in the eye and gutted by a fisherman I moved over to the beach for a second launch. Where she happily pushed out into the bay and the gloomy horizon of the day for these fantastic shots.


There was not going to be any tacking this day with an on shore wind into a horseshoe beach. But not worried about this minor detail and fighting off the sense of futility I commenced to put this tall ship together. I gave it a few test sail of the rocks. But not able to send it out I turned it over to these two fellas who seemed surprisingly interested to push it around while swimming.

This was the second boat on the Cooks River on this day and was even more satisfying than the first. By setting the rudder to about 1130 and adding an extended sail from the starboard I was able to get this quickly produced vessel of scrounged rubbish to actually tack across the wind. The extended sail kept swinging the bow out away from shore with a burst of inertia sustained by the weight of the keel that pushed out across the wind each time. I launched a Styrofoam boat from the shore into an onshore wind and got it to tack its way down the coast even gaining against the wind as it went until further along it was well of the shore.

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Boat ‘34’ took about 5 minutes to scrounge the bits along the shore of the Cooks River and push it together. The river was flowing swiftly but in the opposite direction to a stiff breeze running just off the side I was on. The result was the hypnotizing slow motion effect of the boat not just running bow against the current but holding almost dead level!  Though pointing up river the boat very slightly moved away from the shore and ultimately crossed the river sailing against the current and moving slowly side wards. It looks as though it is stationary until you see the debris in the water shooting from bow to stern and the wake ripple coming of the stern. If you watch the movie take special note of my sons excitement regarding my achievement.

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Its been a while between boats but managed to throw this clunker together over the Easter weekend at a cracking Autumn day down at Yarra Bay. Followed by a swim. No great new triumphs of technology to reference here. But she sailed well and zigzagged out beyond sight quite quickly. Zigzagging as the rudder setting and sail alignment competed for dominance. Named by my son for the number of snags I hit in trying to put it together.

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This was a commissioned piece for a surfer, thus the theme of the detailing. Two old drawers (face timber type unknown) and handles restored and doweled together to generate better shelf depth. And a variety of other street and beach found components have been restored and incorporated. From the coloured rope to the airoplane wing legs (note the grain in this unknown timber) to the islander detail trim from the edge of a little abandoned table to the shelves and horizontal rod hangers. The internal sides and back panel were spray painted blue in keeping with the ocean theme. The back of the drawer faces (now the ceiling) has been left as found to incorporate a bit of the history of the components. The shelf ledges are timber doweled to the sides of the unit generating these tidy little circle details on the outside faces as a counterpoint to the already interesting pine grain formations. This is also the first time I have finally incorporated some of the electric detail that has been a long time evolving in the SALTANDWOOD sketchbooks. With the components picked up from a Jaycar electronics shop. The retro switch was a purchase not a find. But I am on the lookout for some switches to re purpose! So this is AA battery powered (mounted behind the shelf ledge) and the little night access light can be turned on independently for the upper or lower shelf.

 The top shelf is designed with a smooth top edge to aloe wallets and phones to slide easily in and out. The bottom shelf has the upturn to allow a build up of secondary items and bits and pieces/ coins etc without spilling out.  The bottom shelf also has a newly developed feature in the ‘double entry lip’ that provides a spot for say a pen or zip stick not getting lost in the tray. This particular commission also came with a request for a place to hang a hat at the end of the day and you can see here the protruding disc that facilitates this. It is made (as was the switch mounting) from the second drawer backing that was removed and some found pine rod that can be popped out left or right if the unit goes up against a wall on one side. I also added some beautiful molded hooks that I coincidentally found in an abandoned cupboard (circa 1930s?) a few day before and restored well in a jewelry cleaning solution.

You can see the rear of the unit was finished of in a particular way for a bit of fun and colour and is slid in and held with a removable dowel peg if need be.

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My dream of happiness: A quiet spot by the Jamaican seashore looking out at the activity in the ocean, hearing the wind sob with the beauty and the tragedy of everything. Looking out over nine miles of ocean, hearing some happy laughter near-by. Sitting under an almond tree, with the leaf spread over me like an umbrella.

 Errol Flynn

A ramshackle tub cobbled together from slim pickings along the beach next to the airport. The final design was the result of add hoc efforts to correct shortcomings. The name was the suggestion of a boy walking along the beach with his dad. The first test sail here in the shallows saw her topple over and a second bottle of sand was tied from the hull. As well as a little outrigger added to support the ‘left leaning.’ A sail was added to the outrigger to compensate for drag produced.  She was launched from the point to a great deal of commentary and technical input from the flock of fishermen sitting around the rocks. The outrigger sail worked a bit too well and had the effect of swinging the nose around to the starboard until the wind caught the nose sail. The overall effect was to align the timber tied below to about 3 o clock and cause her to tack across the wind and clear the runway point of the airport. The Coke can and red plastic spade were to provide a better visual contact from further out but also provided some additional sail surface.

The Sea And the Hills by Rudyard Kipling

Who hath desired the Sea? — the sight of salt wind-hounded —
The heave and the halt and the hurl and the crash of the comber win hounded?
The sleek-barrelled swell before storm, grey, foamless, enormous, and growing —
Stark calm on the lap of the Line or the crazy-eyed hurricane blowing —
His Sea in no showing the same his Sea and the same ‘neath each showing:
His Sea as she slackens or thrills?
So and no otherwise — so and no otherwise — hillmen desire their Hills!

“Tell me, patron,” said Peyrol, “is there anywhere near this house a little dent in the shore with a bit of beach in it perhaps where I could keep a boat?”

  “What do you want a boat for?”

  “To go fishing when I have a fancy to,” answered Peyrol curtly.

Joseph Conrad. The Rover.

“Sleep after toyle, port after stormie seas,
Ease after warre, death after life, does greatly please”

Joseph Conrad, The Rover

“Watching a coast as it slips by the ship is like thinking about an enigma. There it is before you — smiling, frowning, inviting, grand, mean, insipid, or savage, and always mute with an air of whispering — Come and find out.”
Joseph Conrad

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