This diorama presents what the Menorcan shipyards were like during the 19th century. It is a kit by Constructo that I partially modified in its dimensions to adapt it to my preferences.
|Description||Menorcan shipyard at the beginning of the 19th century.|
|Measures (mm)||Width: 55, Depth: 20, Height: 21|
This diorama was modified reducing the total width of the original, for which the structure of the Xabeque frames had to be reduced.
Among the 120 pieces that make up this model, 60 different tools stand out, faithful reproductions of the originals (see Photos section). Windows are hinged and latches can be manipulated to open or close them.
In those on the beach, they worked outdoors from sunrise to sunset and their location made launching the boats very easy. On the contrary, the shipyards located in ships were sheltered from bad weather and allowed working with more comfort.
The most usual boat at the time (and the one that is reproduced in our diorama) was a xabec (jabeque) dedicated to the art of longline fishing.
Only between 1820 and 1838, 60 boats were built in these shipyards, of which 10 were to be sold abroad and for the island. Among them were large vessels: brigs, schooners, frigates, and xabecs, and other smaller ones dedicated to fishing: lauds, boats, and ‘gussis’.
The profession of “riverside carpenter” used to pass from father to son. There were entire families dedicated to this art until the beginning of the 20th century.
The trade began between 12 and 16 years old, with an active working life until 75. All were men. They started as apprentices, with simple tasks such as sawing, polishing, cutting … so that they were learning and becoming familiar with the materials and tools. The teacher decided to move to a higher category, which was not linked to the age of the carpenter or to any specific test. Only skill in the trade mattered. Those with great skills ended up becoming independent and setting up their own workshop.
The workshop was normally located near the port. The structure of the building used to be a large space on the ground floor, shaped like a garage with a large access door to allow the entry and exit of boats. The part of the upper floor was, at times, the house. In many cases the workshop was located very close to the sea and had a jetty that was like an appendix to the workshop itself.
The riverside carpenter (“mestre d’aixa”) was normally the owner of the workshop and was in charge of the most responsible jobs. He was in charge of the drawings and models and mastered all the arts of this trade.
The officers were mainly caulkers and were in charge of crimping and adjusting the pieces.
Apprentices or laborers transported the woods or engaged in work with simple tools. As a curious fact, in 1912 a waiter earned 2 pesetas.