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Man makes boats from fallen tree limb

Release time:2017-09-06    To share:  

ZHAO WENXUE is well-known in his neighborhood for his craftsmanship. The 60-year-old lives in Zhuzilin in Futian District and has made over 100 wooden boats with his own hands out of a limb of a tree blown down by a typhoon in June, the Daily Sunshine reported Sunday.

Zhao, from Liaoning Province, has lived in Shenzhen for over 20 years. Zhao has developed an interest in woodwork since beginning an idyllic life after retirement this year.

“A banyan tree in my residential estate was blown down by a typhoon in June. The tree limb was cut into sections and I didn’t want to waste it,” Zhao said. He brought the limb home and learnt to make toy boats by searching for pictures of wooden boats online.

He sculpts the shape of the cabin and polishes the boat with a file and a saw. “I make different kinds of boats depending on the shape of the wood block. Nobody taught me how to do it. I learned it all by myself,” he said.

He can make over a dozen wooden boats a day. Making a thumb-sized wooden boat only takes him 40 minutes and a larger one usually takes him a few hours. He has made over 100 wooden boats out of the limb that he brought home in June. “We can recycle and make good use of the waste materials. A carpenter can always give new life to things that seem to be useless,” he said.

Every day, Zhao sets up a booth near the Zhuzilin Metro Station to sell his boats. He sells six or seven boats a day, with prices between 6 and 16 yuan (US$0.91 and US$2.42). Most of his customers are parents, who buy the boats for their kids as toys. Sometimes Zhao just gives the boats to children for free.

According to Zhao, a man who stopped by his booth a few days ago bought 10 wooden boats and chatted with him for over an hour. “The man grew up by the sea and his father was a carpenter. The wooden boats warm his heart, because they recall memories of his childhood,” Zhao said.

Zhao has earned over 1,000 yuan by selling the boats and he donates the money to his former colleague Ma, whose father passed away last year. Ma’s wife doesn’t have a job and one of his two children has been diagnosed with asthma, increasing the family’s already heavy financial burden.

Zhao said he traveled to Egypt and saw the “solar boat” built by a Pharaoh 4,500 years ago, which inspires him to build some splendid boats in the future.

Liu Zhong, a young man who works in Futian District, wrote a poem for Zhao after he saw Zhao making the wooden boats on the street. “Compared with my hectic lifestyle, street craftsmen like Zhao live a totally different life. I would like to live my life at a slower pace like them if I didn’t have to worry about making a living,” he said.

According to Liu, a city should be open to and tolerant of handicraftsmen. “If there weren’t any craftsmen in a city, the city would be lifeless and probably not livable for people anymore,” he said. (Zhang Yang)