Ed Cutts Designer, Boatbuilder, and "Cutts Method" InventorBook - 2014
As a young boy, Ed Cutts grew up loving boats as his father took him to major boatyards in and around Long Island. He drew beautiful boats and at 13 wanted to be a designer. And he wanted to learn wooden boat building, but there was nothing for a teenager. Attending a new school at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, he and others learned metal work half the day, and even worked on valves for a battleship.
Following U.S. Navy ordnance work in the Pacific, he tried to find boatbuilding work. He met L. Francis Herreshoff in Marblehead, and asksed him questions about yacht design. Later he brought up his own drawings for criticism. The famous designer said a designer should learn to build his designs by working in a boatyard. Ed finally did basic work in a small boatyard, and then found an opportunity to become an apprentice at the great Nevins Boatyard at City Island, NY. He worked in all departments for about two years, learning under the top boatbuilders. Then he built and designed for other boatyards on Long Island, NY.
For his own client, he designed and built a 23 ft. sloop, which won an Invitational race, with Ed sharing the helm for the owners. Married and living in Northport, NY, he built a shed in back of his house and built a 29 ft. sloop for a second client. His designs impressed executive John Case, who ordered a 33 ft. sloop. Then, he and Ed teamed up to open Cutts & Case Shipyard in Oxford, MD, in 1965. Ed was 38 years old.
While creating beautiful boats, Ed began extensive research on an improved way to build boats, and received a patent for his "Cutts Method." This technique used the new Kevlar in epoxie between two layers of planking. Kevlar had 10 the strength of steel, so that frames were not needed. He used no exterior fasteners on the hull. He found the boats were lighter and stronger as a result.
After testing he used this technique in major repairs and then on new boats, In his senior years, Ed designed and his shipyard built a 27 ft. cabin yacht, a 28 ft. runabout that went 50 knots, a 24.5 ft. sailboat, and a 65 ft. yacht hull. Boatbuilding students from Finland came to Cutts & Case for two years to work on this and to learn the "Cutts Method." Years before, Ed had been invited to Finland to lecture to boatbuilders and designers.
Ed was one of the last classic designers who carved a half-hull to scale, to take the loft measurements. The author described him as "a vigorous, opinionated, talented, inventive, often humorous, and unique individual."
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