Exploring timber and technical craft


Exploring timber and technical craft

Getting out and about to meet local companies, suppliers and potential employers has always been an important part of studying at IBTC Portsmouth, but something that's been hard in recent years.

The last few weeks, however, have seen a flurry of activity for our departing Boatbuilding Class 18 who have been given personalised and behind-the-scenes tours of HMS Victory, HMS Warrior 1860 and the National Museum of the Royal Navy's conservation workshop. Last week also saw them heading out on a road trip to meet to fascinating local companies. 

English Woodlands Timber, pictured above, is a timber and forestry company that supplies a huge range of timbers many sourced from the UK. Their highly experienced Timber Selectors spend many days on the road selecting the different grades and species of timbers that are then sold to the trades and the public from their site north of Chichester. Nick from English Woodlands Timber showed the students how freshly cut trees are seasoned and prepared and discussed the characteristics and uses of some more unusual varieties. The students spent the final 20 minutes exploring The Timber Rack, a treasure trove of characterful boards, waney-edged planks and colourful off-cuts just asking to be turned into something special.

After a slap-up lunch the minibus took everyone on to AutoNaut USV, a remarkable local company who design, build and deploy uncrewed surface vessels. AutoNaut's 3.5 and 5m vessels primarily use wave power to propel themselves gently on their scientific or oceanographic missions around the world. Carefully designed and precision built, these vessesls can stay at sea for months at a time as they complete their tasks. Although uncrewed, for safety there is always a pilot on duty, often via satellite link from and entirely different country!.