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Life in the archipelago was totally dependent on boats for different purposes, and the Ostrobothnian boat-builders were known for their skills. People often built their own boats, but for a larger project, a professional boat-builder was often hired.

Boat-building 360-bild
Collecting timber for boats

The boat-building process started by obtaining timber for the boat. That meant a trip out into the woods. Spruce was commonly used. The keel (i.e. the bottom-most element on a boat) required a sturdy root naturally bent. The timber was sawn into planks, and the planks were used to build the hull, i.e. the bottom and sides of the boat.

Boats were often built at home. Sometimes a skilled boat-builder was hired for the project, for wages. Boat-building was a highly specialized craft requiring a number of specialized tools for each step of the process. The craftsmen also used professional vocabulary.

The skill of the Ostrobothnian boat-builders has been widely recognized, and there have been shipyards and boatyards along the coast of Ostrobothnia for hundreds of years. Larger vessels were built by skilled workers, boat-builders and ship carpenters, often on commission from Sweden. Sometimes a group of boat-builders joined together and sailed their newly-built boat to Stockholm, where they sold it for a profit and hitched a ride back on another boat, just to set up a new boat-building project.

Here are some examples of boat types built in the region. (PDF)

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