Bizkaia shipwrighting knowledge pole

Visitantes en la Exposición Erain en Itsasmuseum

Historically, Bizkaia was a major hub for shipbuilding. Almost all the towns along the coast had one or two shipyards with numerous shipwrights who built and repaired wooden vessels of all kinds. In the 20th century shipbuilding came to be dominated by steel. However, it was also a time of great activity for wooden shipbuilding along the Basque coast, in terms of both the number of vessels built and the development of a specific type of fishing vessel tailored to the needs of Basque fishermen.

Ships were generally built close to the shore, and most yards had a small building where the necessary materials could be stored and construction work could take place. It took a great many different tools to build a ship. Some of them are also found in other forms of wood working, but others are specific to the trade, such as caulking irons. Shipwrights not only built ships but also had to be familiar with wood and how to cut it. They also needed to master tasks such as draughting, caulking and launching vessels.

Would you like to hear this story in more detail? Visit us!

Stand-out exhibits

Tools from the Astilleros Kortazar shipyard

Caulking tools

Mechanical saw

Illustrations by Rober Garay

Other permanent exhibitions


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