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Sloop is the captivating story of Daniel Robb's education in boatbuilding, peopled by an eccentric cast of characters -- lumbermen, boatbuilders, and local artisans -- who are part of a changing and perhaps dying world. They tell Robb how to find the materials -- certain kinds of wood, fastenings, caulking, and canvas -- he'll need, which are increasingly hard to come by, and they educate him in the techniques of restoration, an all-but-lost art. Building and restoring wooden boats means an initiation into a world where life is lived simply, with respect for materials, for labor, and for the local waters.
A craftsman and environmentalist, Robb is a willing and able student, and although the restoration of the boat takes far more time and effort than he'd calculated, it is ultimately successful. After all Robb's struggles with quartersawn white oak, homemade steam boxes, bronze screws, copper rivets, andold mast hoops, the Herreshoff sails again -- and a dying art and a vanishing way of life remain alive and vibrant just a while longer.
By turns charming, meditative, and wonderfully quirky, Sloop is a paean to a sense of place and to old-fashioned values.