Marine quality

Are expensive boat bits really worth the difference in cost

Maritime design has influenced our homes (and vice versa) since man started hollowing out trees. The ribs of a boat and the rafters in a loft accomplish much the same purpose, a structure over which a waterproof cladding is formed. Both displace water, but only one floats, turn a boat upside down though and it becomes a house!

This interplay been the water and land has intrigued architects and designers for years, but it also resonates on other levels. A ‘marine standard’ varnish would suggest a higher level of quality for the housebuilder – “yacht varnish” is much the most expensive varnish in hardware stores than other varnish. However, try applying domestic “yacht varnish” to a boat anywhere near the coast and it would be gone in a few months, real yacht varnish is an altogether different animal – and considerably more expensive as a result.

The same is true of chandlery – a seemingly good quality hook from a hardware store is probably made from an overly-yellow brass-like composite, adequate for the job of hanging coats, but compare it to an old brass hook from Simpson Lawrence or for that matter a new one from Davey & Co. and the difference is substantial. These are hooks you can hang a sack of spuds off!

And therein lies the point, marine-related products not only confer the idea that they are better made, they truly are – and whilst it’s comforting to know you are buying something that will probably outlive you, in day-to-day use in your kitchen it probably isn’t going to make a lot of difference.

That said, it’s nice to know you are enjoying the real thing and it’s also rather inspiring to know that the cleat, light, hook or other item, that you see and use every day might well have been round the world a few times (some of the stuff in Ikea has too, but that’s not quite the point).