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Fundamentals of Boatbuilding: Focus on Backbone and Planking

The theory and practice of classical boatbuilding.

July 14 – July 27
Brooklin, Maine
Warren Barker
Experience Level
Activity Level

This is a two-week course ending Friday

Other Sessions: June 2-15, June 16-29, & September 15-28

Fundamentals of Boatbuilding is the core curriculum of our boatbuilding courses and one of our most popular offerings. This series generally deals with the whole craft of boatbuilding, specifically with wooden boats, and most specifically with plank-on-frame small craft.

We tend to build challenging boats in these classes—round-bilged, carvel, and lapstrake-planked types—because if you can build one of these, you can build almost anything. Ideally, each class will start one boat, work at planking another, and finish a third. The emphasis is always more on learning than on pushing through a project. Each session combines daily discussion periods with an abundance of practical work. You’ll start out discussing boat plans and design, and how to develop a project plan.

Lofting will follow (see Lofting for a complete treatment of this subject). From there, it will be a steady stream of boatbuilding lessons—tools, body plans, types of construction, planking methods, steam-bending, lamination, woods, fastenings, and much, much more.

*This course will also continue the work of last year’s “taking the lines” class Warren taught.  You will start work on a replica of LOUISE, a pulling boat in the WoodenBoat School fleet*

  • Who is this course best suited for?

    Fundamentals of Boatbuilding is open to everyone, although woodworking skills and familiarity with tools and with the language of boatbuilding really help students to get the most out of it.

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