Ben Harris has always had an affinity for wood. His first word was log, his mother tells him. He has fond memories of splitting firewood as a kid. As a teenager, he worked for a cabinetmaker, first just sharpening tools and cleaning the shop, then eventually honing his woodworking skills. From there, he moved onto to carpentry, and eventually settled on the southwestern coast of England. He has been making traditional wooden boats in Cornwall since 2005. This, Harris says, is also in his DNA. His great grandfather was a forester in Denmark, and his great uncle ran a sawmill. Both of his grandfathers were in the Navy during World War II.
“It’s an amazing feeling sailing a boat that you have built with your own hands,” Harris says in the video below. “There’s something quite remarkable about being in a wooden environment at sea, having known the trees that the timbers come from to make that boat. It feels like an extension of your self, in a way. Like it’s your second skin that’s keeping you safe on the water.”
“From Timber to Tide,” a short film from the British media house, Pixillion, offers a quick glimpse at the care Harris puts into building his boats, and at the unique relationship he has with the materials he uses to build them.