What's a wood chart?
It's a door into another world (one which, quite literally, lies below the boat).
Starting with a bathymetric chart (the underwater equivalent of a topographic map), the contours are laser-cut into sheets of Baltic birch and glued together to create a powerful visual depth. Select layers are hand-colored blue so it's easy to discern land from water, major byways are etched into the land, then the whole thing's framed in a custom, solid-wood frame and protected seamlessly with a sheet of durable, ultra-transparent Plexiglas.
The result is stunning. It lifts the surface of the water back like a veil, exposing the often-overlooked, under-explored, awe-inspiring world that lies below. To those familiar with the floor of the ocean or the bed of a lake, it's a beautiful reminder of the deep channels, sharp drop-offs, and mountainous landscapes that are otherwise hidden from view. To the uninitiated, it's wonderfully eye-opening; as though the world has suddenly taken on a fourth dimension.
With pieces based on the scenic Pacific Northwest's volcanic coastline, the warm sandy shores of the Southwest and Southeast, the history-rich coastline of the Atlantic, and lakes from all around the continent, we're betting that you'll find one that hits home with you. If you don't, please let us know. We're working diligently to add more charts and we'd love to know what else you'd like to see.
Who's steering the ship?
We're Robbie and Kara Johnson, the husband and wife duo behind Below the Boat, and we're running the show from our home over here in Snohomish, WA. We've both lived a short walk from the Pacific Ocean our entire lives. We see the majesty of a big pool of water and unabashedly geek out over the under-appreciated world hidden just below it's surface.
We're the official online partner of the folks who make the wood charts. There's no middle-man, you're buying straight from the source (which is how we're able to offer them for such affordable prices!).
Each piece represents someone's special hideaway* and, even if they've sailed, motored, paddled, or gazed across the water a thousand times, we know that when we ship them a chart, it brings a whole new depth
to their connection with that landscape. That's what keeps the wind in our sails. Thanks for reading about us, our charts, and our shop. Please let us know if there's anything we can help you with, all of our contact information is on the next page
How come I've never heard of you before? These charts are amazing!
Do you take custom orders?
- While we can't accommodate one-off requests --there's simply too much design work that goes into each piece to make that feasible-- we would love know which places you'd like to see us create next. Please fill out our request form and, if/when we create a piece for that region, we'll email you with an ETA.
If I order today, when can I expect to get my chart?
- Lower 48: We'll do our best to get it onto a FedEx truck within 2 days and then it'll be 3-7 days in transit before it lands on your doorstep. All charts ship from Michigan
- AK/HI: We'll use USPS to ship your chart and delivery times range from 3-9 days
- Canada: We'll use USPS and our shipments have been about 10 days in transit. We'll send you tracking information when we ship so you can watch your package move North
I'd like to send my order as a gift, is that possible? I don't see that option during checkout...
- We don't include payment information in any of our shipments so rest easy, your gift will be discreet even if you never tell us it's being gifted
What if my chart has an issue?
- If anything bugs you about your chart, please send us a picture and we'll do what we can to make things right by you
What's your return policy?
- If it's been a reasonable amount of time (lets call it 60 days or less), the chart is still in perfect condition, and you can send it back to us in the original packaging, then we're happy to take returns and we'll issue a full credit, minus what it cost us to ship the piece to you (about $20 for US addresses). We have very few returns, so if your situation is unique, no worries, just email you and we'll come up with a plan to get you where you want to be