We can’t think of a better way to spend a midwinter’s school day than building small boats…




if you’re going to make some octagonal stool legs, you’re going to be doing some planing…


Lots of work going on in the boatshop this morning-lofting, planing, sanding, wiring, cutting… 


The Discovery Boatbuilding program is a hands on, comprehensive, experiential learning environment, but sometimes sitting and looking at the board is necessary. We try to limit using the whiteboard to a few minutes in the morning, or as long as we can hold the crowd’s attention.

Only a couple more planks need to be made on the two Yankee Tender skiffs built by our Woolwich middle school students.  We anticipate having the boats right side up by the open house (please join us!) on Wednesday, April 15 at 10:30am. 



Work on the Galbraith launch continues as we moved the engine in to position.  The day was spent aligning the engine with the propeller shaft, not an easy task!


  Putting the boat on a moveable cradle really helps with this step.

Using a chain fall allows one person to easily lift the more than 700lb engine.


Lowering the engine into place doesn’t need to be difficult, as long as you do it slowly.  


7th & 8th graders making boats.






Getting into all the nooks and crannies to paint a lapstrake boat can be tricky with just a paintbrush, so we decided to employ the services of a volunteer’s spray gun. Because the boatshop is now so well insulated and airtight, we needed to use an outside air supply for breathing. Luckily we decided to paint a similar color as the original, so the paint went on nicely with two thin coats.

Lots of folks doing lots of work!




Before we can begin sanding and preparing for the new paint job, all the dirt, grease and grime need to be removed.  A gentle cleaning solution works well with a garden spray jug.  It’s amazing what a bit of scrubbing can do.  Once the interior is free of dirt each frame bay will be sanded to prepare the surface for enamel paint.

We’ve been working on this donated powerboat for most of the winter, and the varnishing of its mahogany is underway.  Once the wood is sealed we’ll begin painting the interior and putting all the parts and pieces back inside.  From the scant information available we know she was built in the 1950’s in Keyport, New Jersey by the C.C Galbraith and Son company.  Her power is a Gray Marine 106hp six cylinder gas engine, which we are rebuilding.  

Our 24″ planer has sat idle for the past 4 weeks. It’s a great tool to have and we definitely miss it when it’s on vacation. Luckily the part came in and we are back in business!! Thanks to the engineering crew that put everything back together.

Working on the hull of the circa 1950s launch donated to the museum in the fall.  A complete restoration is scheduled to finish early summer 2015.

Finishing the hood ends on a John Gardner peapod.  

Adding oak plugs to the stem bolts of the launch.

Bunging cedar planks

Plank spiling

clamping chines

In between blizzards, the sun does occasionally find its way into the shop. The new insulation is about a year old and the results, from a quality of life perspective, are amazing. Now when the sun shines in through our storm windows it’s almost too warm…







Students work on attaching transom cleats to the boat.


Students cut out the transom cleats on the bandsaw.


Woolwich student drills out bungs to complete the boat’s planks.

Lap strake peapods and skiffs going together on a cold January morning.





For the 2014-2015 school year Woolwich sends 15 7th and 8th graders to the shop each week. It’s a great crew and we’re glad to have them aboard. This year’s group loves to sand – not sure why, but we’re taking advantage of it at every opportunity!

When it’s tough to capture in one picture what’s really going on in the boatshop, a thousand sure can tell a lot more.  This is this current 8th grade class from South Bristol School working on two Yankee Tender Skiffs.

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