Fine Strip-Planked Boat Construction
A guide to building small boats with wood strips and epoxy.
- Nick Schade—July 1–7, September 16–22
If you want to build a lightweight, rugged, and beautiful small boat, combining thin strips of wood with epoxy and fiberglass will make a cartoppable, low-maintenance, and gorgeous vessel. Nick Schade has been building strip-built boats for over 30 years. He has written two of the standard texts on the subject, Building Strip-Planked Boats and The Strip-Built Sea Kayak, and his efforts have guided thousands of people through building their own boats using the popular strip-planked method.
In this six-day course, students will explore this method of construction while building two very different boat designs created by Nick. In the September course students will build an Adirondack Guide Boat and the microBootlegger Sport sea kayak. The July course will be building the Mystic River tandem canoe and the microBootlegger tandem kayak. The Mystic River 17′ tandem canoe is a wonderful example of a classic wood-strip canoe with graceful lines and a beautiful recurved stem. The microBootlegger Sport is a 15′5″ x 23″ sea kayak with beautiful lines suitable for exploring lakes or heading out to sea. The tandem version is an elegant open-cockpit design suitable for relaxed paddling on a quiet lake or sheltered harbor. The Guide Boat is Nick’s own design based on the H. Dwight Grant guideboat VIRGINIA documented by John Gardner in 1963. Nick’s interpretation incorporates the older recurved stem pattern into a boat that rows easily and can carry a good load. You’ll be using standard strip-planking methods that do not include ribs, so the interior will be clean and smooth. All four of these boats will provide an excellent overview of the strip-planking process.
Students will gain experience in a wide variety of techniques involved in this modern boatbuilding process. We will be putting emphasis on the “fine” aspect of the class title, striving to create a beautiful boat with matched strips and careful craftsmanship.
We’ll begin by fairing up the forms, shaping the inner stems, fabricating the kayak coaming and canoe backrest, and getting a start on the planking. Tuesday we’ll be planking, installing stems, and working on hatches and gunwales. Before you know it, we will start sanding the hull and deck and applying fiberglass sheathing. On Thursday, we’ll take the boats off the forms, then fair the insides of the hulls and sheathe the interiors. Come Friday, students will begin finishing the canoe while the hull and deck of the kayak are joined together. The class wraps up midday on Saturday with final fiberglass work and completion of details on both boats.