We unzipped the tent to see the sun firmly set in the sky, the perfect weather to explore the boat yard in the next town along. Mears Boat Builders was one of our first finds at the With Love Project and we’ve looked forward to meeting the family behind the beautiful wooden boats for a good while. We arrived to find Paul up a ladder mending a 20ft boat outside his workshop. Paul, in his 60’s now has been making boats here for years and it’s his son that’s taking the rains of the family business. He jumped down from the ladder and led us into the workshop, a great space with a high roof and pulley systems hanging from metal beams, a half built wooden boat sat at the back and hundreds tools hung and placed in specific order. Paul clicked on the kettle and no sooner had it boiled when we had our first visitor, Graham who lives in the town and worked with Paul at the boat yard years ago, he’s in his 70’s and loves a good brew and chat at the workshop. He was just one of a steady flux of people popping in and out during our visit to the workshop or as Paul put it “the towns community centre” but Graham stayed with us for the duration. With nearly 100 years of experience combined Paul and Graham had some great stories to tell about the boat making business, we perched ourselves on one of the wooden work benches with a brew and it was an absolute pleasure to listen to the two of them.
Being at the seaside meant we could only have one thing for lunch and we found ourselves a quality chippy, sat on the front and dodged the gulls dive-bombing for our tasty fish, chips and mushy peas. We finished up and headed down the coast to our next stop, a company that caught our eye because of the quirky nature of the business. Willow and Warson make wooden bow ties, cuff links and tie pins. The company is run by Theo and Tim who produce the range at Theo’s Ayla furniture workshop. They produce a wide number of different wooden designs but their latest bow tie is a collaboration with the Royal Navy, salvaging wood and making bow ties from the HMS victory which celebrated it’s 250th anniversary this year. Each piece is made by hand in the Devon based workshop and produced from different cuts of wood ensuring unique detailing and character everything produced.
Both visits today couldn’t be more different, but both parties share in a mutual love for wood and appreciate the time and detail it takes to produce skilful hand crafted work.