Student Testimonials

A few words from our students and alumni

Jeff [referring to Jeff Hammond, Chief Instructor],

I was a student of yours nearly 20 years ago, in the class of 1993. At age 21, I came into your program without ever having held a hand plane, a chisel, or a spokeshave. I had no previous exposure to technical drafting or lofting. I only say this because I want you and the staff there to know that my journey as a craftsman began at your school. My craft has become, over time, the building of guitars rather than that of boats, but it is a craft that I have mastered. I wanted to share with you a video that was shot in my shop a few weeks ago (see below). I hope that it displays the degree to which my life has been affected by your program. I also hope that you can send it to both Ray Speck and Neil, who taught our orientation to woodworking, and to anyone in your community to whom it may apply. I am immensely grateful for all that your school has done and continues to do for the preservation of craftsmanship.

Respect and regards,

Kipp Krusa (class of 1993)

Birth of a Guitar from Christopher Durai on Vimeo.

carey-anderson“Our instructor was great — both enthusiastic and approachable. I learned so much and I love the new campus. Keep up the good work.” — Julie Helling, Bellingham, Washington

“It never occurred to me that by going back in time, metaphorically speaking, I would find my future. The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding opened doors that were previously imperceptible to me thereby opening a new and exciting future, not as a traditional boatbuilder but as a maritime writer. Yes, I learned the traditional boatbuilding and woodworking skills and learned about wood and all the myriad parts and pieces of a traditional wooden boat. But there was more, oh so much more.” — Jerry Farnham, graduate

“I learned not only how to use tools, but how to care for them. Not only how to cut wood, but the inherent properties of different types of wood. And, how boats are made … from the beginning.” — Stephanie Roche, Seattle, Washington

“Not familiar with the Pacific Northwest, my wife and I were unsure what to expect. We were more than pleased with the natural beauty of both the water and mountains and the variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. Port Townsend has a diversity of cultural, musical, and civic activities uncommon in a town of this size.” — Bill Brock, graduate

“Keep up the good work! I could not have been more pleased with the staff … all pleasant and helpful!” — Pete Hammer, Moses Lake, Washington

“I loved coming here! The people were always interesting and personable. I always learned something, whether attending a class or not. All the facilities met my needs and I was very comfortable. I can’t wait to come back!” — Arthur Minnerly, Bow, Washington

“Ray Speck is very knowledgeable about all aspects of boatbuilding … fun to be around … the course material was well prepared.” — Ed Campbell, Salmon Arm, British Columbia, Canada

female-boatbuilder“I’ve never been in the northwest before. I found the people friendly … the views gorgeous. I could not have asked for a better teacher and that I cannot emphasize more.” — Tom White, Jacksonville, Florida

“The workshop taught me the importance of precision in both planning and execution. With care, even a beginner can achieve satisfying results.” (Interior Woodworking) — Rich Klingbiel, Friday Harbor, Washington

“The course was quite extensive, with each day filled with hands-on learning. Nice quiet setting. I was able to anchor just off shore and stay on my boat during the two-week class.” (Herreshoff Pram) — Eric Hopkins, Everett, Washington

“Having never built a boat before, I was impressed with everything I was able to learn. Beautiful setting. Shop had plenty of space to work even with all the other workshops going on at the same time. It was a benefit to be able to talk with the other instructors and students during breaks and off time.” — Harvey Hamilton, Oakville, Washington

“Particularly appreciated the opportunity for hands-on experience caulking. It makes all the difference to do it yourself. Even a video doesn’t let you get the feel of the tools, their weight, their action or reaction.” — Elaine Graham, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada

“Port Hadlock [Heritage Campus] can be a life-changing experience if you let it.” — Annette Ericksen-Sumter, Poulsbo, Washington

“Dan’s tricks of the trade were very helpful, I found that it’s a lot of the little things that help to form the whole work.” — Ed Tierney, Port Hadlock, Washington

I liked the hands-on experience and seeing how things work in a large boatshop.” — Chris Caleen, Tallahassee, Florida

Click here to see where our graduates work!

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding
is accredited by the ACCSC

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). The ACCSC is listed by the U.S. Department of Education as a nationally recognized accrediting agency. The School is also licensed under the Private Vocational Schools Act, Chapter 28C.10RCW of Washington State. Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution.
Any donations made to the School are tax-deductible to the extent provided by law.


The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is located on the Olympic Peninsula in Port Hadlock, Washington. Focusing on traditional small and large, as well as contemporary wooden boats, the Boatbuilding School is nationally accredited and internationally recognized as a fine vocational institution. The Boat School honors the boat building traditions of the Pacific Northwest and Puget Sound with boat shops located due south across the bay from Port Townsend, Washington. Programs, courses and workshops are offered throughout the year and include traditional wooden boat subjects such as lofting, oar making, painting and varnishing, boat building, carvel and lapstrake planking, small, large and contemporary wood composite boat construction. Craftsmanship and woodworking are of the highest caliber within the maritime vocational trades. At the center of our programs is the ability to earn an Associates Degree in one-year, culminating each September in presentations at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival. Serving the Seattle-area woodworking and boat building community for over 34 years with the highest level of craftsmanship and integrity.