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Finishing Out Small Boats

Creating neat woodwork and joinerwork.

Tuition: $875

Note: This is a six-day course ending Saturday afternoon. Previous woodworking experience is a requirement for this course.

Working in the shop

Here’s a week that promises to be a fulfilling and challenging one, with plenty of opportunity to learn—with head and hands—how to build the intricate parts and finish out small open boats. The joinerwork of a small boat is particularly exacting because there is nowhere to hide slipshod work—no burying rough joints under decks or in cabinetry. Boatbuilders Geoff Kerr and Bill Thomas will teach you how to make elegant parts and gorgeous, tight-fitting joints for a boat you’ll be proud to varnish.


The course is designed to be a follow-up to some of our traditional boat construction and plywood/epoxy hull building classes and very useful to anyone completing a small boat. Many of the skills and techniques you acquire can be transferred to big boats as well. Your instructor will start the week describing how to organize a project as complicated as finishing a boat. Students will learn how to work from boat plans and drawings. Your instructor will explain the versatility of various types of patterns and show you how to make them, as well as how to use them.

You’ll learn about making curved parts including laminated outer stem and intricate interior fittings. Instructors will demonstrate methods for measuring and layout in the hull to accurately position interior parts and pieces. They will also explain how to accurately scribe and fit parts such as the breasthook, quarter knees, and bulkheads. And you’ll learn how to use epoxy and other glues and bedding compound; and to become familiar with woodworking in three dimensions with no right angles in sight.

Working both at the bench and in the boat, you’ll refine your skills with a wide array of boatbuilding tools, from planes, spokeshaves, scrapers, and chisels to the tablesaw and bandsaw.

Throughout the week, Geoff and Bill will be showing you many tricks, tips, and jigs that make each job easier and faster as well as better looking, for joinerwork that makes a boat beautiful and truly yours.

Bill Thomas is a top-notch instructor; very kind, thoughtful and made the course most enjoyable.”
A.C., Northampton, Massachusetts
It is very challenging for a business to feel/be both professional and family-like. But WoodenBoat School does just that! I appreciated the camaraderie among the staff and students, as well as the professionalism exhibited by the instructors, the facilities, and the people. I felt at home and, at the same time, in a safe, business-like environment. That’s hard to pull off, so kudos to you!”
L.K., Ivins, Utah