Just like in 1890
The carpenters build the gozzo boats by following an ancient method. With the aim of building a 7-meter gozzo, and having decided its intended use, the artisans first draw the “garboard” starting from the mid-ship section, then 7 frames toward the bow and 7 toward the stern, thus creating the mid-ship section of the boat, or its “skeleton”. Departing from the mid-ship section and continuing toward the bow and toward the stern are curved rulers, which serve to mark the development points of the remaining frames. These initial phases are the most important and crucial ones when building a gozzo, since the harmony and hydrodynamics of the hull depend on the tracing of the garboard and the shaping of the frames. After arranging the frames, which are secured by the sheer (the last two upper belts of the planking) and by the longitudinal equipment, and after assembling the beams, which support the main deck and the self-bailing cockpit, the bulkheads that divide the engine compartment from the fore peak and from the cockpit are assembled. After the first phase, the complete framework of the gozzo is visible, and it is ready to be covered with the planking.
The care for details
After building the naked framework, the gozzo lining phase begins. The craftsmen start by positioning the deck planking (the sunpad) and the pits with longitudinal boards, arranged parallel to the edge of the waterways. Iroko solid wood is used in this phase. Once the deck is complete, the frames are lined. The planking used for this step is heat-curved: the boards are exposed to fire from the inside, constantly washed and subjected to pressure. After the desired curvature is obtained, they are secured while still hot to the frames by means of clamps. This ancient curving technique allows the boards to maintain their shape unchanged over time. Now a long a painstaking modelling operation begins. The hull is shaved extensively in order to eliminate bumps or irregularities in the planking that may compromise the hydrodynamics of the boat. After positioning and shaving the planking, the caulking is carried out (this operation makes the boat water tight),with cotton cables positioned between the planking intersections (seams). The caulking of the deck in Iroko wood is completed with the application of the silicone sealing agent, an extremely watertight and elastic material. After assembling the upper side with the wales, the gunwales, the stanchions and the small stern benches, and the gozzo is ready for an initial painting. The paint used is a basic colour with red lead dissolved in boiled oil, which serves to nourish and build up the wood. The skull is now carefully filled in and smoothed, and then it is repainted.
After the basic colour and the filling in, the boat is finally painstakingly smoothed. After this step, the engine is arranged in its housing and the electrical system is completed with all the pertinent connections. The boat is now ready for the final painting. The decoration is an important part of the processes for the craftsmen and it is done carefully, since it characterises the gozzo and completes its aesthetic harmony. In the “mahogany” versions, the wales, gunwales, stanchions, waterways and stern benches, with the relevant lockers and storage spaces, are made in precious wood and are painted with see-through products that protect the timber while allowing its beauty to be fully visible, giving the gozzo an ancient charm. A long and painstaking artisan work grants these boats a nostalgic charm and makes them unique.