There is a place in Warsaw. It is enough to get to Gdański Bridge. And then take a direction to the north which shows the Vistula river flow. It is better to reach 1 km distance by foot. Only taking a walk along Zigniew Religa Boulevard gives you a chance to admire the nature in this part of the city. Two beautiful herons which decorate the entrance to Żoliborz Beach means that only 100 m separate you to that point.
The BOATYARD TOWN
It is an open carpentry workshop established with passion to sailing and the need of creating. Former amateurs, now professionals in wood processing Przemysław Sobotowski and Paweł Miasojedow share their knowledge and skills during workshops on which you can create everything made of wood. Of course surf and SUP boards too.
‘Polish people can’ motto comes to my mind when I visited their workshop’s website. I found the history of establishing this boatyard very fascinating. I look at the owners photo with admiration and respect who devoted their lives to a new idea, proving that friendship doesn’t disturb in business. The courage, faith, determination and consequence are their ingredients for success. Don’t you know how to use free time during winter weekends? Would you like to try something new in your life? Workshops of building surf, SUP boards in Miasto Szkutnia is my proposition for get rid from boredom and spending free time in creative way when waiting for new SUP season.
I invite you for an interview.
Engineer on High Heels: In which moment of your life was the decision of creating the carpentry workshop made?
Przemysław Sobotowski: I decided to give up my former professional life almost 6 years ago after 20 years of work in a corporation. The purchase of almost 60 years old Swedish boat was a breakthrough in my life, and it repair was a challenge which I could face up by learning new technics as well as professional use of tools. I found all those actions exciting. Renovation of the boat was my first challenge. After I had finished it I desired to build floating things made of wood: kayaks, surfing boards. I found something which turns me on, I found a new idea for myself. I come to the boatyard with pleasure, I put an apron, turn tools on and I work with wood. I create, develop my abilities to pass them to others next. Although living from this business is not possible yet I do believe that someday it will happen.
EoHH: Where did the idea for such kind of business profile come from?
PS: Everything started when I became the owner of the old wooden boat. It renovation turned out to be a very demanding as well as time – consuming and was connected with travelling to Pomerania or to Sweden. Too far, too expensive and too seldom. What is more, a second child appeared in our family that is why my presence in Warsaw was necessary. A distance from the boat, the need to run works every day, family needs were those arguments to look for a site to a workshop. Together with my friend Paweł we considered that if work in wood had become attractive to us, we could try to follow it in business direction creating a place where we could share our passion with people.
EoHH: Was it an impulse or rather deliberated decision?
PS: It certainly wasn’t an impulse because the preparations took several months and focused mainly on searching for the proper place. Finding a workshop where we could make noise without disturbing anyone, of course in a good location near the center, with good access to public transport wasn’t easy but ended successfully. The area of Sport Club Spójnia appeared to be a perfect place for our boatyard, fulfilling our all requirements. And the proximity of the Vistula. We were lucky.
Was it calculated business decision? Not really. Simply, business is not what we designed. It is rather a passion and an attempt to pursue our hobby in a way that we don’t pay extra to it, at least financially because we devote our time to a large extent. We both believe in success of our enterprise. If such type of workhouses in other countries bring profits, why we can’t make it here.
We have implemented our ideas so far. We have drawn people to what we do. We teach carpentry and boatbuilding techniques by doing. We prove that creating a project with own hands is a very good option to spend free time. Our clients are very satisfied.
Eohh: How good were you in wood processing while opening your workshop?
PS: I had no knowledge in wood processing when I started with my boat renovation. I knew nothing, I didn’t have any skills. My source of knowledge came from clips on YouTube. I was supported substantively by my friends. Their help was priceless.
We had little experience when the decision of opening our own workshop was made, to which we could add the boat renovation and an attempt to build a kayak in my garage, which took us almost 3 years. Looking back, I think that plunging into something like that was rather unreasonable. It required a lot of courage.
An intuition. I trusted my gut. It didn’t let me down when I bought a motorcycle not having skills to ride it. The new passion turned out to be what I needed in my life. I had been riding the motorbike for many years giving myself great pleasure. A similar feeling accompanied me in case of the boat purchase as well as opening the workshop. I knew subconsciously that the idea in my head was what I wanted to do. It’s nice that it became a good choice.
EoHH: Can you call your activity a mission?
PS: Yes, although in my opinion mission is too strong word. We would like to show people that building something with their hands is great pleasure. Neither skills nor experience are required to try and learn something new. Age is not a limit as well. I’m in my forties and I started working with wood a few years ago from the scratch having no skills before. So I’m a living proof that it is possible. Different people usually without any experience come to Miasto Szkutnia, also people after failures in their small projects. We try to encourage them here in our workshop to not be afraid, try, experiment and gain faith in their own abilities. I want to show people that work, not necessarily with wood, I just love this material, can be fun, gives pleasure, is not demanding so you learn fast. Patience, precision in action, consequence, involvement and responsibility for the project which are acquired during the workshop can be used in other life areas. It is enough to try. It is a great satisfaction to see our learners during work, how they improve their skills, become self – confident. It’s great to share joy of their successes when bringing their projects to the end by themselves. It is very important. 100% of projects have been completed in our boatyard so far.
EoHH: How often are the workshops of building SUP/surf board organised?
PS: Building SUP workshops haven’t been organised yet. They are valuable in our offer. Unfortunately it is difficult to get clients for long workshops. We managed to build a few kayaks, canoes in our boatyard.
I hope in ‘skin on frame’ SUP board. I believe that this type of equipment will interest more people because it is prepared to such possibility as be built in two weekends or even in one in some situations. So the workshops won’t be as time – consuming and financially demanding as those the SUP board construction in ‘sewing and gluing’ technology.
I think that the board SUP ‘skin on frame’ will be the cheapest floating equipment to made in our boatyard. I focus on simple, quick and cheap workshops. I hope that they will popularize not only this method of floating but also this way of building. It is my goal for this year.
The situation with a surf board is similar. We had appointments for workshops. Despite the people interest and presence confirmation cooperation has never happened. I’m used to it. Time is the main problem also in this case.
I recommend building the surf board to people who know what they want, have time and money. It is really expensive. At present I’m on the top of having an arrangement with another person. I hope that cooperation will be possible because I would like to implement a board of new technology. I have been building the wooden on frames, empty inside until now. A new challenge in front of me, based on creating a board made of wooden, solid blocks which I will shape, openwork and glue together.
EoHH: Who can participate in workshops? Are any special requirement to be met?
PS: Building a birdhouse, a toy box are dedicated to families with kids in age of minimum 4 years. Children over 10 can build almost everything: sledges, longboards, surfboards. Being ready for attention, concertation are those skills which young person should have during participation in long workshops.
There are no restrictions for adults. Age, sex, interests, lack of experience are not obstacles to build serious project. Our customers usually are people without abilities who very often haven’t had a saw in hand. All you need is time, determination to cooperate.
EoHH: How to enrol the workshops?
PS: Booking particular workshops participation, in time, for special price are possible after we publish information on Facebook. It is enough to contact us. You may write or call. I respond everybody. We are open for cooperation with people who want to execute their own projects in our boatyard. Then we prepare special offer, price the material, calculate time needed to build item. So feel invited.
EoHH: When are the closest workshops planed?
PS: We are organizing workshops of building longboards in March. SUP board ‘skin on frame’ we are planning a little bit later, probably around May – June.