Guest Post: “If you can hammer a nail, you can build a boat”...

Guest post by Vincent Stander

“Anyone can cook!” was the mantra of the legendary chef, Jacque Gusto, in the movie Ratatouille that inspired a mouse to become a chef.

Now the Balmain Boat Company has made the exclusive world of boat ownership accessible…and far more rewarding. “If you can hammer a nail, and ice a cake, then you can build a Balmain Boat”, according to legendary industrial designer and co-owner Andrew Simpson.

Balmain Boat Company is an IKEA-style DIY boat building concept. The boat is delivered to your door in three boxes that contain 42 already cut pieces of plywood, epoxy glue, screws, nails, caulk (a google search enlightened me that this was sealant) and an instruction manual on how to build your own boat!  

Upon receiving these singular pieces of timber, paging through the instruction manual, watching the online instruction video, my initial reaction was that I had oversubscribed myself. 

Being a 30-year-old eastern suburbs male whose resume in the DIY department boasts one IKEA drawer set and the ability to change the tire on my push bike (with difficulty), I did not believe I was up to the task of building a boat. I called co-owner Nicole Still with the intention of returning the beautifully cut pieces of wood  before they were wasted on someone who would to hack and deform them into something akin to firewood and not a passenger-carrying vessel. 

For future reference, do not contact Nicole to say that you are unable to do something…you could try Andrew.

The boat build consisted of four distinct phases: 
(1) assembling the frame/skeleton 
(2) planking
(3) applying the sealant / caulk
(4) painting.

The clean edges and perfect dimensions of the computer-led wood cut pieces ensured that putting the frame together was a bit like building a large puzzle and nailing in each piece, and when securing the planks they were within millimetre perfection from the bow to the stern plate.

Each of the stages required specific skills, some of which I had not attempted before: using a power drill, applying sealant with a caulking gun, mixing the paint and curing agent to the appropriate proportions.

The social element of the boat build was unexpected and the most rewarding. I had friends around to look at the boat and all had an admirable attempt at hammering nails or drilling in screws (many of them for the first time of their lives!). I enjoyed conversations with Doug Sturrock of Sturrocks of Sydney about boat paints and numerous conversations with Sam from Bunnings about sealant and caulking guns. 

My dad was always a phone call away when I needed a hand or advice and successfully fulfilled the goal of Balmain Boat Company which is “to make parents and grand parents look like legends”. 

The dad... the legend
And similar to building a tree house or a model aeroplane, a Balmain Boat is rewarding in many more ways than the mere final ownership of the boat.

Do you know anyone in Sydney likely to get engaged in 2012? What better way to propose than an afternoon row on Sydney Harbour? BBCo will lend a boat (FREE) to any guy looking for a spectacular engagement plan. Email them at:


  1. Matthew BurgessJanuary 11, 2012

    Classic, Vin!

  2. Good job Vinnie, with your boat complete maybe you could take up the position of Hammerheads swim coach and shark monitor?

  3. Nice one big Vin. now i want to build a boat.

  4. Super impressed Vin! I always knew my best mate had a multi-talented/skilled boy. Instead of game ranging in Africa, you should shark range @ Bondi!

  5. life after 10am .... i remember the days!

  6. Katherine EustaceJanuary 12, 2012

    Great write up Vinnie!

  7. Kristian SteffensenJanuary 12, 2012

    you know you are missing the critical photo Vincent.....does it float?

  8. Vincent StanderJanuary 12, 2012

    That is the right question. The official LAUNCH PARTY is at 5:30 this Friday from the North Bondi boat ramp...everyone invited! (fingers crossed)

  9. Jennifer KuoJanuary 12, 2012


  10. Pon KatteraJanuary 12, 2012

    Hope to see some cracking blog posts from SA too!

  11. Daniella AlhadeffJanuary 13, 2012

    Next guest post; if you can wear leopard print, you can be a game ranger ...

  12. Kelly DrowleyJanuary 16, 2012

    Ha ha brilliant Daniella! Good write up though vinny!