Fine Strip-Planked Boat Construction at WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine

Event Date

A guide to building canoes and kayaks with wood strips and epoxy.

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 25 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 stripplanked method.

In this six-day course, students will explore this method of construction while building two very different boat designs created by Nick. Nymph is a small, extremely lightweight, easy-to-handle double- paddle canoe in the J. Henry Rushton tradition, but with a modern take. Night Heron is an elegant, high-performance sea kayak design that has found a place in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art. These two boats will provide an excellent overview of the strip-planking process.

Students will get experience in a wide variety of techniques involved in this modern boatbuilding process. The Nymph canoe uses thin cedar strips reinforced on the inside with exotic carbon-Kevlar hybrid fabric. The outside is covered with a transparent layer of fiberglass fabric that allows the wood to shine through. Students will learn how to work with thin strips and modern fabrics. The Night Heron kayak has a full deck with a recessed cockpit and coaming, as well as hatches. Combined with shaping and fitting the strips, there will be a lot to learn.

Day One will have students fairing up the forms, shaping the inner stems, fabricating the kayak coaming and backrest, and getting a start on the planking. Tuesday will have us continuing with planking, installing stems, and working on hatches and gunwales. Before you know it, we will start sanding the hull and deck and applying fiberglass on Wednesday.

On Thursday, the kayak and canoe will come off the forms. Nick has pioneered the use of modern fabrics for reinforcing strip-planked boats. After fairing the insides of the hulls, carbon-Kevlar hybrid fabric will be laid-up on the interiors. Come Friday, students will start finishing up the canoe while the hull and deck of the kayak are joined together. The class wraps up mid-day on Saturday with final fiberglass work and completion of details on both boats.

Throughout this course, Nick will take time to discuss the many variations on the strip-building process that students can use on their own boatbuilding projects. After a week of fine craftsmanship and fun, we’ll step back to admire two stunning boats that will raffled off to two lucky students.

WoodenBoat School waterfront

About The WoodenBoat School

Started by the folks at WoodenBoat Magazine, the school campus is on the grounds of a 60 acre saltwater farm. Set on a deep water anchorage with a fleet of small boats moored in the harbor, the school is a little slice of paradise. It is truly like a summer camp for adults. The workshops are located in a beautiful old cow barn. With other classes in each section of the barn students have a wonderful opportunity to learn about a wide variety of techniques beyond the particular class they are attending. Accomadations are available through the school and they will also supply wonderful homestyle meals to students and other guests. After class students are free to use the small boats in the harbor to explore a beautiful section of the Maine coast.

Tuition: $750 - Registration is handled by WoodenBoat School

Note: This is a six-day course ending Saturday afternoon.