Keeping the Boat Building Craft Alive
Volunteers and staff of the Small Boat Shop work to keep traditional San Francisco Bay boats and boat building skills alive. They restore, preserve, and reconstruct historic vessels in the collection of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. Some of the boats can be viewed at the shop, or in the water at the far end of Hyde Street Pier. Small boat projects have included many partner shops with other museums and parks, including the reconstruction of a San Francisco Bay Shrimp Junk at China Camp State Park in San Rafael. The Park’s collection of over 100 historic small boats is maintained at a dry storage facility in Alameda, California. Click through for more…
Preserving historic boats often requires the use of traditional hand tools.
The Hicks eight-horsepower engine was the most popular power source for San Francisco’s “Monterey” fishing boats. Its simple design made for economy, reliability, and ease of maintenance. The Bay area led the nation in the production of heavy duty four-stroke marine gas engines. James L. Hicks, one of two dozen local manufacturers, built his first engine in 1910. The early availability of gasoline engines led to new designs in powered fishing boats and small tugs. The Hicks engine was hand started by spinning the flywheel. The spark was generated by a mechanically driven “make and break” igniter instead of a sparkplug and distributor.