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Week 21: And Then the Wind Blew In…

Some of you will recall when school was cancelled for “snow days.” That white fluffy stuff that rendered driveways and streets treacherous until a shovel and plow were brought to bear. This is not a common problem here in the great Northwet. Oh, we get plenty of liquid green and lawns that come to life long before expected but…

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WoodenBoat Magazine Highlights Prothero Method

Check out the article written by Chief Instructor Sean Koomen and Instructor Emeritus Jeff Hammond on the Prothero Method in the March/April 2016 WoodenBoat Magazine.   Boatbuilder Bob Prothero, founder of Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding, championed an efficient method of boatbuilding that relied on extreme accuracy in the lofting. One element of this method—and a signature method in…

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Week 20: Looking Out Over the Bow

  Upon attaining what the adult world calls “maturity,” attending any school requires a bit of looking out over the bow. Put more simply, one begins to think about how expended hours in a classroom or shop are to be used in future endeavors. For some of us, the educational experience is a means to acquiring a paycheck. For…

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Week 19: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Wooden boat builders are a philosophical bunch, or at least they come to be so. Constructing watercraft from a medium that has its own mind makes you realize time is fungible and progress often incremental. These are frustrating conclusions for recent generations who are offered the expediency of internet searches and phones smarter than equipment employed to launch NASA’s…

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Week 16: Tourists in Our School

Imagine, instead of boarding a plane, ship or train, one could discover new worlds immediately outside the doorstep of your house. Yes, yes, I know the folks who specialize in infectious diseases understood this for a long time—every sneeze is a new adventure in their world. But, what about boat school? Hey, aren’t we all just working on things…

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Week 15: Pancakes

  Pancakes. Somewhere along the line an editor has politely told me no introductory clause has a single word and certainly should not be a breakfast meal. What a shame, all that lecturing gone to waste and I insist on opening with pancakes. Mind you, that is not all we did during week 15, but the blueberry pancakes for…

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Week 14: One Step at a Time

Maybe it was in second grade (I don’t remember kindergarten or first grade; a real shame), as at least one author has made a fortune by claiming to have learned everything necessary for life during that first year of exposure to a public education. (Think I’m kidding? Ask the local librarian for a copy of Everything I Needed to…

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Week 13: What’s a little rain when you have boats to build?

Never underestimate the powers of human observation.  Just don’t expect immediate leaps to scientific discovery based upon this particular skill. Case in point,  Port Townsend seemingly loses half of its population come late October winter winds. Given the option of staying in place to sit out short days or soak up some guaranteed liquid sunshine, the “snowbirds” head south…

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Week 12: We’re Back!

Memory is a fleeting thing—and very selective. We tend to recall that which appeases the soul, while casting aside unpleasant recollections. Many a school teacher has learned this lesson the hard way. Give your students a two week holiday break and most will have forgotten how to add, subtract, multiply or divide…to say nothing of reading or writing. Now…

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Marking 35 Years of Teaching

  January 2016 marks the 35th year of the Boat School! To commemorate this milestone we journey back to November 1982 when the Boat School campus was located at the Port Townsend Boat Haven and the first student built boat was launched. The Charity Ann was a 28-foot working tug built on commission and was a replica of one…

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2016-2017 Enrollment is Open

2016-2017 Enrollment is Open!! If you (or someone you know) has dreamed of starting a new hands-on career, make sure to apply for one of the three boatbuilding programs we offer! The last two years we’ve had full enrollment and a waiting list. Students are accepted on a rolling basis so applicants are encouraged to submit applications as soon…

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Monk Skiff Launches

The first group’s skiff launched this Friday, bringing a close to the first quarter. Students return January 4th and move into their specific programs in Traditional Small Craft, Traditional Large Craft, and Contemporary Boatbuilding.  

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Week 11: The Close to Our First Quarter

An artist is never finished with his or her masterpiece, but a work done on commission must come to completion. So, it is with the five skiffs and a drift boat that our class of 2016 has been racing to prepare for a first splash in the northern Pacific. We face a pair of daunting masters, the clock, and…

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Week 10: Skiffs and a Drift

  Imagination is a wonderful indulgence, particularly when a project starts to approach fruition. It would be no minor claim to declare imagination has been fully employed here at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding over the last week. In addition to stretching lines and changing structural layouts, the Jedi masters have all opted to build crafts that are…

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Week 9: Let the Games Begin!

An optimist’s cup is always half-full. A pessimist’s is always half-empty. Me? I haven’t been served yet. This is no expression of despair, just a simple recognition there is much more to come in our education as would-be wooden boat builders. To that end, the flood gates opened on the Monday following Thanksgiving indulgences. Thoughts of turkey-induced naps and…

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Week 8: We Get to Start All Over Again…

A wise man once told me: “All progress is incremental—until it isn’t.” I had to think about that observation for a few days. This was not one of those mumblings about “one step forward, two steps back.” No, there was more to the message. To place the philosophy in context, think of great battles or scientific discoveries. Everything inches…

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Week 7: Lofting, Lofting, Lofting…the perils of a 6′ x 18′ canvas

  Painters, at least in the world of fine art, like to refer to their targeted surface as a “canvas.” Not surprising, in the old days canvas was stretched over a frame—normally square or rectangular—and became the surface upon which to design and paint a masterpiece. As you might recall from last week, we’re not working on canvas (its…

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