Amateur philosopher, writer

The Inertia

Jay Nelson is a master craftsman, DIY-er, and artist from San Francisco, whose top-notch sense of design is best expressed when he’s working with his hands. He’s built multiple pop-top campers (and can teach you to do the same in our recent Inspire course), has made the cover of Dwell magazine with one of his treehouses, and now can add “boatbuilder” to his resume, having completed a 17-foot boat build from the ground up.

“Handmade boats are an incredible amount of work,” Jay says. “If you add up the labor it would be on the same scale as building a small house.” Under the tutelage of Jeff Hull, Jay and Kanoa Zimmerman spent the last year or so working on a fully handmade boat for accessing remote parts of the California coast, in collaboration with Klean Kanteen and Subaru.

“Almost every worker at Jeff Hull Fiberglass’s boatyard came in at some point to lend a hand or give advice, particularly in the fairing stages,” Jay says. “Often, I would look around Jeff’s boat yard and be reminded that my project was the smallest, which again put into perspective the incredible amount of work that goes into a handmade boat. The best way to learn is to work with people you really admire.”

If you’re interested in building your own pop top camper or learning functional and sustainable design philosophy from a DIY icon, Jay Nelson’s 27-chapter course is a great place to start. The first 500 students save $50 with code JAYPOP50, so enroll now to start your journey.


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