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The WoodenBoat School

Traditional Lapstrake Construction

Building Rushton’s #109 Pleasure Boat.

Tuition: $1,200 (two-week course)

Note: Previous woodworking or boatbuilding experience is required.

Lapstrake construction

John Henry Rushton is well known among wooden boat aficionados as one of the finest builders of wooden small craft to have ever plied the trade. In 1883, he received a request from a diminutive cobbler for the “lightest boat possible” and produced SAIRY GAMP, which at 9′ in length and 10-1/2 lbs is the lightest all-wood boat ever made for practical use. The cobbler, George Washington Sears, aka Nessmuk, took it on a 300-mile canoe trip and wrote an account that was published in Forest and Stream, the sporting journal of the day. Overnight, canoeing and lightweight camping gear allowing people to go it alone became the rage in America.

For this two-week course, we have chosen Rushton’s model #109 double-ended pleasure boat. The hull, 14′ long with a 36″ beam and approximate weight of 70 lbs without fittings, has proven ability, capacity, and speed. She will be planked with clear 1/4″ northern white cedar and framed out with 1/2″ half-round red elm ribs, closely spaced.

Rushton double-ended pleasure boat

Geoff will offer an in-depth experience of classic lapstrake hull construction, with an emphasis on the Rushton building techniques and developing fine hand tool skills. Students will progress through all the steps of traditional boatbuilding: lofting, getting out the backbone, planking, steam-bending ribs, etc. You’ll also have access to a copy of Rushton’s personal workshop manual, which contains a unique system of plank shape offsets, as well as all the measurement and accounting information to build any of Rushton’s many models of boats.

This class promises to be a full two weeks of challenging and interesting work building two of Rushton’s fine boats to be taken home by two lucky raffle winners.


WoodenBoat School, 41 WoodenBoat Lane, PO Box 78, Brooklin, Maine 04616 USA
Tel: 207-359-4651, Fax: 207-359-8920

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