If you’re feeling like the internet is all fake news, fast fashion and toxic comments, I’d like to direct you to Tips from a Shipwright. To say I have a bit of an obsession with Rhode Island-based Louis Sauzedde, a.k.a. @tipsfromashipwright, would be a big understatement. For months, I’ve been fascinated with his YouTube channel, watching each video pretty much hours after it drops.
Sauzedde has spent his life working in and around boat yards, building boats, restoring them and keeping them ship-shape too. His skillset and knowledge base is truly tremendous, whether he’s working on fiberglass hulls, the planking of a decades-old Herreshoff, or keeping his old tools tuned up, he’s an absolute master of his craft who selflessly shares his vast experience in an accessible and humble way.
I see Sauzedde as sort of a modern day Bob Ross - a master of his craft who teaches as he creates. Always entertaining, always educational. I’m not sure how or why he decided to get into the YouTube game, but his channel is easily my favorite. Why? Everytime I watch one of Sauzedde’s videos, I learn something. It may not be something I will put to use anytime soon, but undoubtedly, I walk away a little smarter. Sauzedde also makes you feel that you can actually do this work, that you can create and build something that will last.
And I’m not the only one who thinks this. Every week, countless people comment on his videos, praising his work and the explanations of what he’s doing. It’s the rare convivial comments sections on the internet, and it gives me hope that maybe this whole internet thing can provide a bit of good and inspiration, and pass along some knowledge that would otherwise be left in some creosote-soaked boatyard.
Right now, Sauzedde is building a skiff and it's been a fascinating process to watch. Some 20 episodes in and I’m still watching in earnest. In his most recent video, he devoted a whole episode to answering questions from the comments section. The video is 37 minutes long, but if you’re like me, or some of Sauzedde’s other fans, I’m sure you’ll wish it was 37 minutes longer.
About halfway through the video, Sauzedde reads a comment from someone who thanks him for the videos because they help him relax “instantly” after a long day. Sauzedde's response sort of gets to the core of why his videos are so excellent, and why he makes them.
“I think its therapeutic that people get involved with work, and I think part of it is the learning of it, and the other part of it is the performing of it,” he says. “I think what you’re catching onto here is the learning of some of the woodwork, and I just encourage you to go out and perform some of it as well, because it’s just going to get better from here.”