Preview: Harry Bryan’s Off-the-Grid Shop for Building Boats

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This visit to the “World of Harry Bryan” might just get you thinking about how you can make your shop a more innovative, environmentally conscious place to work.

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47 Responses So Far to “Harry Bryan’s Off-the-Grid Shop for Building Boats

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    Scott Stuifbergen says:

    I finally clicked on the arrow at the left of the offcenterharbor site and saw your shop! I love what you did with your shop and especially liked your solar set up and off grid choices! I installed solar panels on my roof in 2019 and am quick on the draw with light switches as well. I love the young man using the draw knife in your shop at the end of the video. That probably helps explain your conservation efforts! Thanks for sharing.

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    Philip Myer says:

    I must have missed this video- Harry had me hooked with “grandfather’s clock’ another skill from this wonderful man-

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    Kenneth Glidden says:

    Wonderful and inspirational! Thanks, Harry, from a former student. (I’m glad the link to this arrived in a holiday email from OCH.)

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    Ahoi Mench says:

    I love this video as I have all of the things I’ve seen and read by Mr. Byran. His piano playing puts him over the top. I love it. I think Carole Hasse was the only other person playing the background music to their own interview. And I loved the song he was playing and would love to know what it is. Thank you to everyone concerned and especially Mr. Bryran.

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      Harry Bryan says:

      Hello Ahoi,
      I am glad that you liked the video. I am in awe of the editing in OCH’s presentations.
      The piece started with “My Grandfather’s Clock” and ended with “Annie Laurie”.

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    mark jacobson says:

    He reminds me of my Grandfather who was a master cabinet builder from Sweden.

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    Ian Douglas says:

    Wonderful, Harry!
    I found myself smiling throughout most of the video.
    Many of us have felt the call, but few have chosen to follow it. It takes a lot of giving up.
    I am glad that you are among those who have done so, and I expect that your grand-children will be next in line :)

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    MR. Charles Kapela says:

    This brings back some really great old memories. My old uncle had a wood working shop. ll the machinery was powered by and old MODLE A engine. Big thanks for the memories.

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    Kamin Lambertson says:

    This is why I subscribe to OCH.. The community of folks like Harry Bryan is very important. Spending 50 years off grid is inspiration that in the next 50 years we might be able to reduce and rethink energy use and still be creative.

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    Chris Waters says:

    As a mechanic in my youth and a Blacksmith in my middle age , I really appreciate your life style and way of thinking. My wife and I operate the shop on a small acreage in Central Alberta. Your neck of the woods is #1 on our visit list, after Covid that is.

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    James Newcombe says:

    Seen the bloke in Wooden Boat mag. I love this site. It is like actually personally meeting the people I read about. What a pleasant, clever, gentleman

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    Will Clarke says:

    I love the use of the Vauxhall differential as a way to control which machine gets the power! Good thing it didn’t have positraction.

  • David Tew

    David Tew says:

    A boat shop I worked at had a combination 36″ band saw, 18″ jointer and a spindle router/shaper table, all run off wide belts like Harry’s jack-shaft driven planer and band saw. Engaging them with each one’s lever and hearing the “Thap, THap, THAP!” of the belts around the pulleys as they wound up to speed was a wonderful thing. Thanks for stirring those memories!

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    Curtis May says:

    Very inspiring tutorial on how big work can be done in a modest energy environment. Reminds me of the resourcefulness of my Dad’s generation. He and my uncles on both sides of the family used to recycle discarded electric and gas motors and tools like table saws for their personal home maintenance use. At 12 years of age I followed their lead and bought a discarded rusty table saw and mounted it on platform with belt connected to a salvaged large furnace fan motor I used it to make stock I needed for plank on frame model boats I was building. Still used Edison power though, as in 1964 solar was a LONG way off.

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    Doug Day says:

    Harry, I’d love to have you perform in our Sweet Chariot Music Festival on Swan’s Island, Maine. In 2020, that’s August 4, 5, 6. You can come by boat or car to ferry. I’m thinking piano, but if you have any sort of short presentation of tools or Off the Grid talk that you do, that’d be fine, too. All best, Doug Day, director

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    David Hubbard says:

    Wonderful! Love the end where the music segues to Harry playing it!

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    peter strietmann says:

    After suffering power outages here in northern California many of the issues Harry is dealing with have become similar to mine. Thank you for sharing this video. Much to think about.

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    Patrick Daniels says:

    The juxtaposition of Harry’s playing fading out at the end with your liability statement is priceless.

    Harry Bryan for king-of-the-world!

    • Steve Stone

      Steve Stone says:

      Thanks for noticing that little touch, Patrick.

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    Peter Gossell says:

    Great Video. Harry is an inspiration to us all. Just a thought, Does that stream run all year long?
    I have always been amazed by water wheels and lay shafts.

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      Harry Bryan says:

      The stream runs most of the year and is certainly a potential power source. Aside from any issues in permitting, I have been reluctant to consider going that route as its low head would mean a large dam with consequent large impact on the stream’s environment. As a way of eliminating my use of diesel fuel, it is certainly appealing.

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    scott garven says:

    So delightful to watch a person with so much love for the best things in life and also teaching his grandchildren the same values. An amazing man in an amazing place. Thankyou Harry you are an example to us all.

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    David Baines says:

    Just a fantastic video! Absolutely fascinating and wonderful to see! Many thanks and keep up the good work. David

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    Ed Altonji says:

    I’d like to think Harry grasps the impact he is having on all of us – but from watching and listening to him maybe he doesn’t, and that’s what makes him such a wonderful human being. Thank you Harry and OCH.

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    Stewart Simpkins says:

    What a way to start my morning.
    Thank you again for a fine video.
    Stu Simpkins

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    Christopher O'brien says:

    context-I have boat with a an old 1981 Kubota (Universal) 11hp diesel which is terrific-still going strong.

    quote of this interview as next option

    “perhaps an old K car would do” delivered with an absolutely straight face. Made me smile having owned a K car in my day

    Thanks for a really entertaining and informative video-Was great seeing a Rube Goldberg setup that actually has rationale behind it.

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    Bob Hutson says:

    Thanks guys…always love and appreciate Harry’s stories. He reminds me so much of my dad Henry and his beginning and ending times in the Ozark Mountains. He didn’t build boats but at one time or another he built about everything else from wood, including several tools like Harry’s. And, he did love being on the water…
    Kindest regards,
    Bob Hutson

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    Peter Lamb says:

    Harry and Martha are such a gift to the world……in so many ways 🌿

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    Dan Yuhas says:

    Thank you OCH and Harry Bryan …. absolutely stellar!

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    Dave Dickmeyer says:

    Great video. Seeing that old Parks planer in operation makes me want to put mine all back together again. I tore it down to rebuild it about six years ago and it’s still in the basket waiting for me to get to it! One thing always seems to drive out another these days!
    Thanks guys!

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      Chip Hill says:

      Thank you Harry, for leading an inspirational life. Your refined minimalist style is apparent in your work, your shop and your personal manner. Well done, I would love to shake your hand someday.

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    John Sims says:

    just can never get enough of Harry Bryan!!
    Amazing Individual!

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    Anthony Patch says:

    Most Excellent In All Manner and Form! Thanks for capturing Harry!! Anthony

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    Marc LaFrance says:

    Absolutely amazing! I feel fortunate to have taken one of Harry’s classes at WBS only to appreciate a completely limitless man of creativity. How can one not be inspired by such ingenuity!

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    Rod McLaren says:

    Harry Bryan – a continual marvel in these turbulent times of climate crisis. A reminder of what we have collectively lost and a goal for us all to return. Thank you once again, OCH.

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    Mikkel Pagh says:

    Everything about Harry leaves me awestruck and inspired. Thank you so much!

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    Stephen L. Clark says:

    And plays piano too?!!
    Harry and Bertram give me hope
    while showing me how little I have done.
    Truly amazing people! Steve

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      Anthony Mitchell says:

      Harry the hero!
      God bless you and thank you for all you give us.


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