Fundamentals of Boatbuilding
The theory and practice of classical boatbuilding.
- GREG RÖSSEL — June 2–15, June 30–July 13
- WADE SMITH — JUNE 16–29, SEPTEMBER 15–28
- WARREN BARKER — JULY 14–27
Tuition: $1200 two-week course
Note: Fundamentals of Boatbuilding is open to everyone, although woodworking skills and familiarity with tools and with the language of boatbuilding really help students to get the most out of it.
Fundamentals of Boatbuilding is the core curriculum of our boatbuilding courses and our most popular offering. This series deals generally with the whole craft of boatbuilding, specifically with wooden boats, and most specifically with plank-on-frame small craft.
We tend to build difficult boats in these classes—round-bilged, carvel and lapstrake-planked types—because if you can build one of these, you can build almost anything. Ideally, each class will start one boat, work at planking another, and finish a third. The emphasis is always more on learning than on pushing through a project. Each session combines daily discussion periods with an abundance of practical work. Usually you’ll start out talking about boat plans and design, and how to develop a project plan.
An explanation of lofting will follow, and everyone will get a chance to give it a try on the lofting table. (See Lofting, as follows, for a complete treatment of this subject.) From there, it will be a continuous stream of boatbuilding lessons, both at the blackboard and on the workbench: how a body plan comes together; the meaning of a fair line; various types of small-boat construction; the right tools for the job at hand, and how to use them; different methods for planking a boat; discussions on fastenings, glues, woods, etc.; the tricks of steam-bending; techniques of lamination; and much more.
Molds and patterns are picked up, and stems and transoms assembled. Planking, fastening, caulking, fairing, fitting seats and risers, knees and breasthooks—each operation is carefully explained and supervised. You’ll find yourself working on your own and alongside others, on real boats or just for practice. If your class happens to finish a boat, you’ll launch it, and that is some fun! You’ll finish this course with a better understanding in your mind—and in your hands—of the boatbuilding process.
FUNDAMENTALS OF BOATBUILDING with Greg Rossel was one of the most enjoyable and life changing experiences I have gained in my life. It was an amazing two weeks.
Warren Barker is a first-class guy and instructor! Good humored, friendly, patient, extremely knowledgeable, and passionate about wooden boats.Thanks for a great two weeks. I’ll definitely be back!
Warren was outstanding! He’s a very knowledgeable and articulate instructor who could very often relate concepts back to specific examples. Warren’s humor and self-effacing approach made him very easy to work with. Through it all, Warren demonstrated patience and professionalism. Outstanding instruction!