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Handmade with Tasmanian Timbers, The Schmee of Ned Trewartha

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May 14, 2015

Upon arriving in Tasmania, we heard of Ned Trewartha and the wooden boats, art and furniture he builds in “Ned’s Shed” (from Off Center member Jamie Snodgrass).  We just had to visit.

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To find out more about Ned Trewartha visit his website here (we were particularly taken with his Coquina).


Huon Pine, which is incredibly rot resistant, is used for grown (i.e. natural crook) stems, knees, breasthooks, and thwart knees. The longer, clear pieces make good planking. It’s extremely slow growing and some trees live as long as 3,000 years.

King Billy Pine is much lighter and softer. It doesn’t hold fastenings as well, so instead of structural members, it’s mostly used for planking—much like cedar is in the US.

Celery-top Pine, the densest of the three, becomes flexible when steamed, so it’s used for bent frames, inwales and guardrails. Because it resists abrasion, it’s also used for keels when subject to wear. An alternative is Tasmanian oak (actually, a eucalyptus), which also holds fastenings, bends well, and resists abrasion.

These specialty woods can be obtained from Tasmanian sawmills as well as Forestry Tasmania which provides some additional wood to qualified boatbuilders in Tasmania through the auspices of the Wooden Boat Board Bank (W.B.B.B) .

Comments, Thoughts or Suggestions?

You can leave a comment or question for OCH and members below. Here are the comments so far…

47 Responses So Far to “Handmade with Tasmanian Timbers, The Schmee of Ned Trewartha”:

  1. Avatar Charlie Stewart says:

    As a fellow from the Gulf of Mexico, I realize that we all have our history and traditions that should be preserved, even cherished. This chap has has done just that and found a joy and peace that is an example for a fast paced disposable plastic minded world. He is a leader and inspiration by just being himself.

  2. Avatar David Walsh says:

    Thanks Ned, a man after my own heart, feeling inspired

  3. Avatar Glenn Williams says:

    Just great stuff from start to finish! Keep it up guys…and thank you.

  4. Avatar Joel Schwalb says:

    Being new to OCH, I’ve been watching quite a few of the videos recently. This one stands out. What a great lifestyle Ned and his family have created for themselves. Being a craftsman myself, working with both wood and precious metals for over 40 years, I certainly appreciate Ned’s craftsmanship and dedication to his art. His story has made me feel that I have to try to be more like him. Thanks for this wonderful video.

  5. Avatar Tony Anschutz says:

    Ned is true artist and craftsmen. I would hope that someday I could be as careful and thorough as he is. Time will tell. feeling inspired. Thank you.


  6. Avatar Reiner Gudd says:

    What a great story . We live in Brisbane and have visited Tasmania and the Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart many times. There is something about Tassie and its people, it should be on everybody’s bucket list .
    Thank you.

  7. Avatar Dean Wilson says:

    Great story and great place….. I live on Port Phillip Bay and I can totally relate with Ned and the hire boats around the bay.
    He and his family have created something special there and it really is an inspiration to see.

  8. Avatar Kyle Stroomer says:

    Such an inspiring video from OCH on a man and his family that seem to have gotten it just right. I just renewed my membership and this was the first video I watched, money well spent. Please keep up the good work.

  9. Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

    Joy and Philip win the little pop quiz question from our email, and the one-year extension on their membership.

    The Question: “What’s the pie in the video?”

    While not exactly correct, their answer was very close, and the best of the lot. They even caught my error in calling it a pie.

    Here’s the full correct answer straight from Kim:

    “Upside Down Plum and Cranberry Cake (not a pie or a tart but it could be a tart at a stretch). I put down plums cut in half to cover the bottom of the dish, then sprinkle cranberries over the plums. Then a small amount of sugar and butter. Then I pour on the almond meal cake mix which has lemon zest mixed thru it.”

  10. Avatar Todd Griner says:

    I have seen the word Schmee used on this site many times and I am uncertain of it’s meaning. Searches on the web are inconclusive. Please define.

    • Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

      Hi Todd. Here’s our definition:

      Schmee = the sum of something that’s bigger than the parts and is not easily explained. The gestalt of something. The essence, core and spirit.

      • Avatar TIm Boykett says:

        Well, as an Austrian, I suppose I should weigh in here. A Schmee is often a joke. “Nur Schmee” is like just a joke, “Ohne Schmee” is like no joking. But it can often be a personal joke. Someone has their own little Schmee. It might be their trick for impressing people, or the thing that they do with their Strudel to make it special. And that is, I think, where the OCH idea of Schmee comes in.

  11. Avatar Peter Duncan says:

    Simply superb!!!! I hope someday I will be able to produce the workmanship displayed in this video!

  12. Avatar Nigel Lawrence says:

    so, ever since having finally met Steve at this year’s Australian Wooden Boat Festival – and knowing and having watched Ned’s work for some time – I’ve been oh-so-patiently waiting to see the video story that was produced.

    And others have already said it more eloquently that I will; what a fabulous ten minutes of passion and of beauty and of philosophy I’ve just watched. Three times.

    Beautiful! I can’t wait to see the videos of the Festival, of all those boats with their own personalities, too.

    • Avatar michael symmes says:

      I really enjoyed the note that his guitar remains in the future, I think its likely to occur. I also liked the loft in the shop, full of wood, all ready to go. A nice video, inspiring. The pie is maybe described in the sound track as from “Kim’s garden” as being pear, apple, berry and nuts. At least I imagine it as so. , thanks again, m

  13. Avatar Michael Hunter says:

    Tasmania is God’s country. A three day stay in the Huon Valley made me a Tasman at heart. The fruit actually tastes much better than it looks.

  14. Avatar Tom Roderick says:

    Doesn’t get any better when we achieve self-actualization. Peace and harmony.

  15. Avatar Sean Hogben says:

    OK, Letting Ned talk without interlocutor. Skilful. Check.
    Close ups of hands at work, especially Ned’s docked thumb. Check.
    Musical interlude. Cute. Check.
    Bit of knowledge about the world’s greatest pines. Check.
    Honesty. Never underestimate its importance. Check Check.
    The pie? Why it would make sense if Kim cooked an apple and cherry upside downer, if this was shot in February, wouldn’t it? Maybe even a few blackberries thrown in for their tartness.
    Love this film. Love Ned, and vice versa.

  16. Avatar Harvey Kerstein says:

    My wife and I think it is a “yummy berry” pie, however we can’t be certain without tasting a piece. Great video and wonderful subject, keep them coming !

  17. Avatar Walter Connolly says:

    You like to do a lot of things and you do them very very well now it’s time for a bed and breakfast
    so I can have a place to stay.

  18. Avatar Livio Muench says:

    So much love and creativity in this video…Thanks Steve for your beautiful film making…yes I would say plum cherry pie for that time of year!!!

  19. Avatar Mark Ritter says:

    Ned is doing things right

  20. Avatar Del Banners says:

    Thanks OCH for composing a video that so eloquently reveals the heart, soul, and passion for beauty that drives the life of this man’s existence with nature. He lives what many of us only dabble in, but so admire.

    Peach, cherry, and blueberry would do it for me, but looks like there may have been a Tasmanian twist harvested for flavor enhancement(?).

  21. Avatar Bruce Robbins says:

    Lovely woodworking and a lovelier apple-plum-raspberry? pie!

  22. Avatar James Aitch says:

    Beautiful–took me off to Dreamland and I was imagining how to make my own life harmonius with what I was watching. Thanks for the video and thanks Ned and family for showing us that it can be done.

  23. Avatar Peter Fynn says:

    What I love about this video and the man is that here is a person who has dedicated his life to not only the use of woods, but also the growing of all sorts of species of tree that enable the feeding of his and his wife’s passion for good food and wonderful art. His boats are beautiful because he takes his time and his other art, birds, chairs, just show his intimacy with the lumber.
    Thanks so much for making this video and bringing it to us.

  24. Avatar Michael Mellor says:

    Truly a Tasmanian treasure! I loved the spiritual aspect of working with wood, boats, art as well as the connection to the world through nature.

  25. Avatar Jerry Kirschenbaum says:

    Hello Steve, Bill, Maynard, Eric, and Ben

    After years of writing for “boat magazines” long ago I remember always pleading with editors to publish articles about how individuals actually “feel” about boats, their memories, how they are emotionally involved — not just technically and intellectually. I never succeeded in convincing them. They just did not get it. You fellows do. And, after 20 years of running a marina and charter fleet I can tell you it is ALL emotional and spiritual — that thing about boats, and woods, and something internal… Norman Maclean said….”…and a river runs through it.”

  26. Avatar Terry Smith says:

    Great video. What a delight to see a man so happy with his life — especially with his awareness of what he’s bringing to his customers as well as to his surroundings.

    I’d have said strawberry pie with perhaps some kiwi in it. However, it’s more likely some wonderful mix of fruits particular to the southern hemisphere.

  27. Avatar Thomas Buzzi says:

    I enjoyed listening to him describe how he “feels” the wood. Having been working with woods all my life first as a carpenter than a boat builder I thoroughly enjoyed his skills both with his hands and with his descriptions of his take on life.
    A very good video to experience.
    Thanks, OCH

  28. Avatar Gordon Burvill says:

    I love that as much as everyone on this site loves boats, most of the comments are about the pie! I know what an art form that is in the US after a very happy nine months there many years ago. I’ve long been back in Australia but have lifelong memories of the great people over on your side of the world.

    Thanks for yet another great video, what you guys are really doing is using boats and wood and craftsmanship to bring out our humanity, I love it. Maybe you should also start a separate site about pie?

  29. Avatar Saxton Wiley says:

    Strawberry Pie from both of my late Grandmothers. This man is not after my heart, he has it. How “lovely” it would be to spend a week or two around him and his beautiful boat works. I loved his ‘oh, by the way’ birds.

  30. Avatar Eric Lesniak says:

    I want to shape some hardwood after watching that video! But I’m also hungry from looking at that pie. Looks like it’s a Razzle-Berry-Dressing Pie! (Or maybe an Apple-Berry Pie.)

  31. Avatar Paige McIntire says:

    Plum and cherry pie is the way to go

  32. Avatar Mason Dyer says:

    OCH your stories are so breathtaking and inspirational at the same time.

  33. Avatar Brian Matthews says:

    Or maybe damson? My mouth is watering, anyhow. A sweet little film! Thank you.

  34. Avatar Jimmy Stewart says:

    Is it a plum pie? I’d know if I could have a bite. Sounds like a passage to the Tasman sea is in order.

  35. Avatar John MacDonald says:

    Great clip… went along perfectly with my morning coffee……could only be improved with a slice of that amazing looking “Bumbelberry” pie…..hahahahahaaaaa…..but what a craftsman…..keep em coming…..

  36. Avatar Lamar White says:

    Yes, indeed that plum and cherry pie looks like good eating’ !!
    And that’s also another wonderful video you’ve done.

  37. Avatar Thomas McLaughlin says:

    Scrumptious plum and black raspberry tarte tatin Ned made for you!

  38. Avatar Joy Phillips says:

    Hi Steve,
    Absolutely wonderful video on Ned and all his delightful projects happening in the shed.
    We are very fortunate to have a few of his pieces in our dining & living rooms.
    My guess on what cake Kim made for you is an upside-down plum & yostaberry cake. Looks delish!!
    All the best, Joy & Philip

    • Steve Stone Steve Stone says:

      Joy and Philip win the little pop quiz question from our email! While not exactly correct, their answer was very close, and the best of the lot. See my comment above with the full correct answer from Kim.

      • Avatar Joy Phillips says:

        Wow! Thanks Steve, we look forward to the extension to our annual membership, as we love watching what you all are putting ‘out there’. So wonderfully filmed and sensitively edited. All the best, Joy & Philip

  39. Avatar Hans Scholl says:

    Well, Steve, you must have thoroughly enjoyed it all, Ned’s beautiful work, the wood, and the pie, which seems to be as expertly done as your video, with a delicious mix of homegrown fruit, apple, peaches, maybe berries and what looks like cherries or grapes. Tough to tell, but there may be even some kiwi fruit in the mix…

    Thank you to the Off Center crew, another beautiful video. One always thinks they can’t get better, but amazingly, they always do. It happen when you do what you love most.


  40. Avatar G. Mark Birch says:

    Love watching a craftsman at work

  41. Avatar David e Bell says:

    We would call that pie a berry tart, a thick crumbly crust with whatever fruits are in the garden at the time. This one appears to have a wonderful variety, and maybe an apple or two but I can’t be certain without sampling.

    A wonderful little film. Well done.

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