Last week I decided I needed a set of fender cleats for WECATCHEM, since we do use her a ton and she is docked here and there and putting fenders/ Bumpers on is a bit tricky since she doesn’t have smaller cleats. So, I asked our trusty source Jim Staib of Fine Wood Boats for advise. Now, here is where it gets interesting, or deep depending on your propensity for the arts. And yes I had to google propensity. Heck I had to google “source” as well. Anyway, back to my effusive gushing over a fender cleat.
I didn’t want a new one, or re-chromed one, I wanted an original one, one with age, with a tad bit of patina, one that had seen time and embraced it. Sorry Mr Graves. We shall meet soon enough oh you chrome magician. I wanted to not overwhelm WECATCHEM’s age and patina. Come on, putting new chrome on her would be like a new nose job and not going all the way. Now, trying to explain this to people has its fun moments. The dead stare.. “why would you do that?” “WHAT?” “Come on!” Well, Mr Staib gets it and had to actually run to the chrome shop and pull one from being done. This way we have a perfect matching set to help un restore our boat.
Just look at that cleat. Come on, when you really look at it, its a marvel of design. I am sure there was some young designer working for the legendary “Mac” Mackerer head of design for Chris Craft at the time that did many drawings of cleats, just to find the right motion. The right “feeling” how she starts thick and ends in a slender wind driven taper of motion so it would also flow with the design of the hull, the styling of other cleats, lights, windshields all working together like a fine oil painting. It’s not just the right part # for the boat, its a brush stroke in a field of other brush strokes that make our boats have an emotion.
How her oval base continues that feeling of motion and helps our wonderful craft move ones soul even while holding a bumper at the Tiki Bar. That is true design, that is art, that’s more than a simple cleat, it’s talent, it’s emotion, and it’s functional. Will you ever see a cleat the same again?
Just think, this could have been an ugly mess of a T sitting on the deck. No, this needed to be art, and is one of the many many reasons that our boats are iconic, they represent a time in space when a designer with a simple wood stick of graphite could change the world. If god is in the details, and he is, than my new old original aged fender cleat is truly a gift from god! Available online from Jim, who apparently is a minister of the detail. Now if you will excuse me, I need to take my pills.