Ben Kahn<< back to instructors


Ben learned the value of good tools and a good day’s work growing up on a farm in Ohio. Drawn to study traditional arts and crafts, he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Technology at Berea College in Kentucky under the tutelage of master wood-turner Rude Osolink.

Ben has led his students through the processes of new boat construction on more than 20 boats and the restoration of 18 since he became an instructor in the spring of 2007. He has a passion for teaching and strives to accommodate different learning styles with new ways to challenge and inspire his students.

Ben began teaching boatbuilding in 2002 when he built a Lawton tender with high school students in North Carolina. The experience confirmed his suspicion that he is a natural teacher with the necessary patience. While attending the Boat School in 2000-2001, he stayed as close to Ray Speck as he could and they built a 17' Whitehall with a sailing rig. Being a student at the Boat School changed the course of Ben's life and his obsession with boats is insatiable to this day.

So far, building the classic Herreshoff Buzzards Bay-14 with his students has been his favorite Boat School project. In 2013, Ben and his students built two large Whitehalls for the BBC to be used on a replication of John Wesley Powell's journey down the Colorado River. Ben was the resident boatbuilder on the expedition.

During School breaks, Ben is an enthusiastic watersports adventurer with windsurfing, kayaking, surfing, and swimming on his circuit.

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