Boat building is being modernized | Docklands News

Building boats has always been an intricately detailed process, but for the passionate entrepreneur of The Wooden Boat Center Nicholas Atkins, it’s now time for a modernized change in manufacturing.

Nicholas grew up in Victoria Harbour, as the center belonged to his grandfather, and in 2005 saw the center move from the center of the harbor on Central Pier to its current location in Shed 2 on North Wharf.

A recognizable location for their red roller doors at the end of the quay, The Wooden Boat Center has a long history in Docklands as a welcoming and supportive space for boat builders and like-minded builders of innovative projects.

But despite his love for the time he spent in the workspace, Nicholas never saw his future there, until suddenly passion flared up again.

“No one else in the family worked with my grandfather and since I spent all my time growing up there, I decided to at least go back for a while,” he said.

“I just focused on the work and without realizing it, in three weeks it changed from the business we were building together to now that I was running it when my grandfather said, ‘Okay, it’s your problem now. ‘. †

Continuing with the problem-solving steps he learned from his grandfather, Nicholas said he would be “forever indebted” to his grandfather for his mentorship, and it’s one reason he wants to keep expanding the space and finding better ways to do things. to do.

A self-defined “computer geek” Nicholas used most of the downtime in COVID lockdowns to re-evaluate exactly how things were done and how they shaped the environment.

“COVID was an interesting period because even though it was destroying business time, it meant spending a lot of time on the computer and improving skills and designs, building the algorithms that design the boats and making things much better,” he said.

“We have the computer design and cutting facilities here, full plate routers, laser cutters and 3D printers.”

The added additions of using parametric design have allowed Nicholas to not only share his innovations as a guest lecturer on RMIT’s Landscape Architecture course, but have also made the space a safer environment for budding boat builders.

Hoping this is just the start of what they can do for the local Docklands community, The Wooden Boat Center continues to give a glimpse into what makes the area so special with amateur boat builder classes and fast building classes during the school holidays.

For a change of pace, the center has also opened its doors to a short-term activation project by international artist Leeroy New in preparation for RISING’s The Wilds festival to be held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in early June (read more in the June issue of Dockland News).

Nicholas is hopeful that the center can continue to deliver their modernized technology and facilities to several new projects in the near future •

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