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Boatbuiling, Woodworking, Sailing and Related Crafts Training in Brooklin, Maine

woodenboat school

Located on the coast of Maine, in the small community of Brooklin, WoodenBoat School offers courses designed around the arts of boatbuilding, woodworking, seamanship, and related crafts since 1980. The safe well-equipped shops and access to a spectacular waterfront helps students to learn new skills and enjoy their experience at the school. WoodenBoat School is a branch of WoodenBoat Publications, Inc where students learn by doing, each at their own pace, in a truly inspiring environment.

The classes are small and intimate, which allows each student the opportunity to receive plenty of personalized attention from their instructor. From the moment you arrive on campus, the dedicated staff and faculty are more than willing to share their expertise with all who are interested. It’s a unique opportunity to increase your understanding of boats and your ability to build, maintain, use, and enjoy them to the fullest.

woodenboat school campus

Training Programs



Boatbuilding & Woodworking Courses

  • Fundamentals of Boatbuilding and Advanced Fundamentals of Boatbuilding (2 weeks): Fundamentals of Boatbuilding is the core curriculum of our boatbuilding courses and one of our most popular offerings. This series deals generally with the whole craft of boatbuilding, specifically with wooden boats, and most specifically with plank-on-frame small craft.
  • Lofting (1 week): In this week you’ll discuss the written material that Greg has developed, build half models, and in teams loft several small craft. Tables of offsets, diagonals, buttock lines - all will be demystified and will become the wonderful tools they are for understanding, discussing, and building boats.
  • Building Half Models (1 week): In this week of hands-on participation, you’ll explore the tools, techniques, and materials for half-model making from lines plans; the woods; the glues; the tools; the paints and varnishes.
  • Elements of Boat Design (1 week): This is a paper-and-pencil course, working at the drawing board with the traditional tools of curves and battens.
  • Computer Design (1 week): Understanding capabilities and advantages of the computer in your own boat design work.
  • Building a Swampscott Sailing Dory (2 weeks): Students will build a round-sided sailing dory common to 19th-century fishermen using traditional methods.
  • Building the McKenzie River Dory (1 week): During the week you will gain the knowledge and skills to build your own McKenzie River dory, her larger cousin the Grand Canyon Dory, or any number of other similar craft.
  • Building a 15’ Aspøya Faering (2 weeks): The Norwegian faering was well established by the beginning of the Viking era as the finest hull form for exploring, trading, and fishing along the rugged coast of western Norway. This course emphasizes the traditional use of hand tools such as axes, drawknives, and spokeshaves.
  • Introduction to Boatbuilding (1 week): Students will build two skiffs combining marine plywood, white oak, and Northern white cedar. The course will start with understanding boat plans and lofting, and proceed through scarfing, framing, planking, and interior joinerwork.
  • Fine Strip-Planked Boat Construction (1 week): A guide to building small boats with wood strips and epoxy.
  • Stitch-and-Glue Boatbuilding (1 week): Learn introductory and advanced modern plywood boatbuilding techniques suitable for simple or heavy-duty boats.
  • Traditional Woodand-Canvas Canoe Construction (1 week): The art of the canoe with a master builder.
  • Introduction to Cold-Molded Construction (1 week): The object of this course will be to see and learn firsthand exactly how the professionals take on a cold-molded project and how smaller builders can incorporate professional systems into their own styles.
  • Traditional Plywood Boat Construction (1 week): If you are contemplating building your first boat or would like to move beyond stitch-and-glue boatbuilding, here’s a helpful course designed with you in mind.
  • Glued Plywood Lapstrake Construction (2 weeks): The class will explore plans, lofting, and moldmaking, then get right to it, laminating stems and setting up the building frame. In addition to all this classic boatbuilding, the project will expose students to the broad world of epoxy construction techniques as well as the practical uses of modern marine plywood as natural lumber.
  • Wooden Boat Repair and Restoration Methods (2 weeks): Strategies and techniques for common wooden boat repairs.
  • Runabout Repair and Restoration (1 week): Making them beautiful again-keelson to varnish - In this course students will examine obvious deficiencies and more subtle problems.
  • Small-Boat Joinery (1 week): Participants in this course will continue interior work on several cold-molded boats begun by students in previous classes - Bill Garden’s Tom Cat and Joel White’s Catspaw Dinghy.
  • Boatbuilder’s Hand Tools (1 week): Making, restoring, and using traditional tools of the trade.
  • Build Your Own Northeaster Dory (1 week):  The elegance of a traditional workboat in stitch-and-glue construction.
  • Build Your Own Stitch-and-Glue Kayak (1 week):  Versatile, durable, easy-to-build designs for both the recreational and serious kayaker.
  • Build Your Own Annapolis Wherry (1 week):  Experience the ultimate in a recreational, open-water pulling boat.
  • Build Your Own Sassafras Canoe (1 week):  LapStitch™ construction of a 12’ or 16’ lovely, featherlight double-paddle canoe.
  • Sparbuilding (1 week):  Learn the steps to building both solid and hollow spars.
  • Woodcarving (1 week):  Introductory techniques for first-time carvers.
  • Introduction to Woodworking (1 week):  Understanding wood and woodworking techniques with an emphasis on hand tool usage.
  • The Essentials of Fine Woodworking (1 week):  Building a dovetailed utility box with a focus on traditional hand skills.
  • Blockmaking (1 week):  A step-by-step guide to fashioning traditional blocks.
  • Building a Classic Sea Chest (1 week):  A project designed with the woodworker and boatbuilder in mind.
  • Build Your Own Plank-Constructed Pond Yacht (1 week):  A Vintage Marblehead-class pond yacht designed for radio control.
  • Pond Yacht Restoration (1 week):  Restore/complete your own pond yacht and get it ready for sailing or display.

Sailing Courses

  • Elements of Sailing I & II (1 week each): Learn-to-sail courses that emphasize seamanship, instill confidence, and are fun.
  • Coastwise Navigation (1 week): The goal of this course is to give students a really thorough understanding of, and facility with, coastwise navigation - approaching it both academically and on the water.
  • Craft of Sail (1 week):  Craft of sail is for folks who have some experience in big boats but who want to improve their skills on the water, particularly in the context of a cruising-sized vessel.
  • Sailing the ELLEN C. WELLS (1 week): This week is a perfect opportunity to learn anything and everything about handling a small schooner.
  • Sailing GLADIATOR (1 week): Lessons aboard an historic 32’ Friendship sloop - a traditional American sailing craft.
  • Tall-Ship Sailing and Seamanship (1 week): Learn numerous skills and sail handling aboard the schooner MARY DAY.
  • Coastal Cruising Seamanship (1 week): A week’s cruising on the coast of Maine aboard a classic (On board ELSKOV)
  • Open-Boat Cruising (1 week): This course will be based onboard NED LUDD and SWIFTY, two of Iain Oughtred’s versatile Caledonia Yawls.

Related Crafts Courses

  • Patternmaking for Custom Hardware
  • Bronze Casting for Boatbuilders
  • Metalworking for the Boatbuilder and Woodworker
  • Blacksmithing for Boatbuilders
  • Making Friends with Your Marine Diesel Engine
  • Marine Painting and Varnishing
  • Rigging
  • Surveying of Wooden Boats
  • The Art of Woodcuts
  • Bent-Wood Box Making
  • Introduction to Canvaswork
  • The Rope and Canvas Sailor
  • Marine and Seascape Photography
  • Marine Photography
  • Coastal Maine: Plein-Air Watercolor
  • The Maine Coast in Pastels
  • The Maine Coast in Watercolor

Family Week Courses

  • Build Your Own Jimmy Skiff II
  • Build Your Own Wood Duck Kayak
  • Build Your Own 10’ Compass Skiff
  • Learn to Sail

LAST UPDATED ON Jan 5, 2020