Meet Kenton. To call him a craftsman simply doesn’t do him justice. He’s a true artisan, a wood carver at Burger Boat Company whose passion for what he does is infectious. Even though I spent only about 15 minutes talking with him and observing his work earlier this week at the yard, I was in awe of his abilities.
Remember the trail boards adorning Sycara IV that I showed you last week? Below is a better look at one of them – and the painstaking details, courtesy of Kenton’s own hands. He estimates that he spent about 200 hours paring and sculpting these two 14-foot-long beauties. Not bad for a self-described kid who started out hammering together wood scraps left over from his dad’s duties as a tool and die maker.
Forgive me if I sound like I’m gushing, but what Kenton does on a daily basis is a dying art, not just in the United States, but around the world. And it’s one of the things that I most admire about this business and try to convey to people from other walks of life: Unlike many manufacturing industries, robots and machines can’t replace humans when it comes to custom yachts.
Don’t just take my word for it. “It would take longer to program the CNC router than to carve this,” Kenton said, gesturing toward two more carvings he was working on, which I estimated to be two to three feet long each. Sure, he used the router to whittle out some of the “negative space” (flat areas surrounding the raised leaves), but when it came to the blades of the leaves themselves and the way they curved, the old-time tools of the trade – including his very own hands – were the only way to go. And consider this: Despite the smaller scale, Kenton estimated these would require him spending “only” a few days to finish.
If you see Sycara IV cruising later this summer (when the trail boards will feature gold leaf), or if you see another megayacht with such detailed elements, remember people like Kenton. They’re the reason the magic happens.