Boating

A family business on Massachusetts' South Shore brings a bit of tradition to mariners, one boat at a time.

Bob Fuller of South Shore Boatworks in Hanson is a third-generation ship's wheel maker.

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"It started with my father and grandfather," he said.

Fuller's daughter, Christina, is now the fourth generation to join the family business.

Together they create nautical, functional works of art. Their wheels offer a more traditional form of control than today's modern electronics.

"When you're steering a boat there is that sense of feel, being in control," Fuller said. "I don't necessarily think you're getting that with a computer joystick."

The size of the wheels and materials used to build these wheels can vary. The Fullers start with a bronze wheel and add features like hardwoods and chrome plating.

With prices as high as $6,000, the wheels can take up to four months to make.

"I start out with a sketch, doing an old fashion paper drawing. Then I'll send that to my customer. Then they'll review it and we go from there," Fuller said. "Every design here is different. Like you can get it custom made to whatever you would like."

Christina said her earliest memories of childhood always involved being alongside her dad in his workshop. Joining him there, professionally, is about carrying on a family tradition.

"I think about my dad. I think about everything that I've seen him do and all of the amazing wheels he's built before," she said. "I can see different pieces of him in the wheel."

"I'm very happy to be teaching Christina," Fuller said. "I mean this is how I learned from my father and grandfather and you know it's kind of like coming full circle."

In addition to passing along his love of building ships wheels to his daughter, Fuller said another joy can be found in simply strolling the docks. He said he can be in almost any port and he'll see a wheel that either he or a member of his family has made.

Source : https://wcvb.com/article/father-daughter-duo-in-massachusetts-brings-traditional-ships-wheels-back-to-boating/38056258

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