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The WoodenBoat School

Building A Nordic Pram

The traditional approach to lapstrake construction.

Tuition: $900

Note: This is a special seven-day course that begins on Sunday morning and ends the following Saturday afternoon.

The Norwegian pram was the workhorse between ship and quay along the coast of Norway for centuries. Norwegian designs, in this case the pram, are also well ensconced on the rigorous proving grounds of the North Atlantic. The pram was a source of inspiration for many of this country’s most highly regarded designers, including L. Francis Herreshoff.

Nordic Pram

In this course, students will build the classic “ferry” or pram in the traditional manner of “hand and eye” construction—that is, without a set of molds. No lofting or spiling is required. Building “by eye” has been the cornerstone of Nordic lapstrake construction since the Viking age. You’ll quickly see that the Norwegian tradition for building prams is so simple and elegant that this really makes the pram what it is.

Nordic Pram

Classic construction of the pram is lapstrake using cedar planking, copper rivets, and treenails, and students will rely on a few basic hand tools. Jay will give considerable attention and time to proper choosing, tuning, sharpening, and use of traditional edge tools without a reliance on power tools. Economy and simplicity will be wedded with durability and function.

From beginning to end, students will play a major role in the daily decisions with regards to the construction of the pram. If you’re imagining a week of nonstop, hands-on activity, you have the right idea. Come prepared to work, not watch! Jay Smith will provide the advice and inspiration; you’ll supply the energy, the newfound abilities, and the confidence. So come join us for a delightful week making shavings and building boats in the Norwegian tradition.


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