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Introduction to Boatbuilding: Traditional Plywood Construction

Learning the basics while building a Shellback dinghy.

August 18 – August 24
Brooklin, Maine
Bill Thomas
Experience Level
Activity Level

This is a six-day course ending Saturday

If you are contemplating building your first boat or would like to move beyond stitch-and-glue boatbuilding, here’s a helpful course designed with you in mind. Instructor Bill Thomas will cover the a, b, c’s of designing a boat and how to read and understand plans. He will also go over hand and power tools and discuss what you’ll need to set up your own building space and get started with your project. Students will learn about fastenings, plywood and solid wood, glues and epoxy, and work with fiberglass cloth. During the week, there will be time to discuss various designs and building techniques and which might be the most practical for the first-time builder.

All this will happen while students build a Joel White–designed Shellback dinghy. It’s a perfect boat for a one-week class and allows each student to learn a broad range of new skills. You’ll begin by setting up a strongback and molds and make patterns and laminated frames. While building the Shellback’s lapstrake hull. Students will use traditional methods of cutting and fitting the planks. If time allows, interior details like quarter knees, seats and outwales will be made and fitted. While offering something for most skill levels, this week is geared toward the budding boatbuilder. So, take the first step and find out what makes boatbuilding so interesting and enjoyable!

  • Who is this course best suited for?

    This course is appropriate for students with some knowledge and experience.  Basic knowledge and use of hand tools is required for most shop courses.

    This course involves a moderate level of activity throughout the week including: standing and working sometimes throughout the day, some hand planing or sanding, working on group projects that require occasional participation.

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