HARVEY BUILDS BOATS

Harvey Jahnsen is a 73-year-old boat builder from Forster, NSW, Australia. He has been working out of his father’s workshop for the past 60 years. In addition to building boats Harvey also engraves signs, builds and restores furniture and is an expert wood turner. Over the years he has also worked as a professional fisherman, a truck driver, an oyster farmer and once even rebuilt an airplane that crashed into some pine trees near his home. In his younger years he also used to fly in kites behind speedboats at aquatic festivals and he was one of the original pioneers of this activity. Reflecting on this diverse set of experiences he told me he considered himself a jack of all trades but a master of only one – boat building because he was taught by the greatest boat builder that ever was – his father. In addition to his passion for woodwork Harvey is also passionate about timber itself, particularly rare and uncommon timbers. In his workshop he has a great collection of rare timbers he has gathered over the years including Kurrajong (Illawarra Flame Tree) and Corduroy Beech (which he tells me is fantastic for engraving). Despite being half blind and deaf in one ear Harvey still gets in the workshop every day and is renowned up and down the east coast of Australia for his beautiful woodwork. To this day he does all his work barefoot and eats oysters for lunch everyday that he shucks from the nearby lakes and rivers. I spent a day with him and shot 6 rolls of film watching him work and listening to stories in his beautiful workshop. Here are some of my favorites from the day.