Bruce Blatchley<< back to instructors


Bruce graduated from the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in 1996 and has subsequently worked in various boat yards in both Bellingham and Port Townsend, Washington. His experience covers a broad spectrum including, shop foreman at Seaview North Boatyard, repair and restoration, the building of a variety of contemporary vessels, as well as his experience as a teacher, giving Bruce a well rounded background for instructing at the School.

Bruce has a gentle way about his teaching, but his demand for high-quality work and attention to detail are unparalleled. His students leave with a full experience and understanding of contemporary wood composite construction that makes them immensely employable, not only in wooden boatbuilding, but also in other areas such as rocket construction!

In Bruce's former life, he was a mountain guide on Denali in Alaska teaching climbing skills, crevasse rescue, and extreme weather survival skills. He was also a sea kayak guide in Ketchikan where he led eco-tourism trips for people from all around the world.

Bruce's interest in contemporary boatbuilding began when he was a student at the Boat School. After hours, he built his first glued-lapĀ  sailing dinghy and learned that wood epoxy boats have some structural advantages in that they are lighter and stiffer than their traditional counterparts, as well as having a wood hull that is well protected by epoxy.

Bruce has built boats in a variety of styles, including traditional plank-on-frame vessels, as well as wood epoxy styles of strip-plank canoes, glued-lap prams, and surfboards.

Outside of the Boat School, Bruce has distinguished himself as a master instructor, consultant, and boatbuilder. In 2011, he was recruited by the Boat Building Facility in Taichang, China to enhance their boatbuilding skills and planning around cold-molded boat construction. He has also taught epoxy use and fiberglassing techniques at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival and Everett Community College.

In 2011, Bruce started with his students the construction of a Robert Perry-designed 62-foot double-ended day sailor. This boat brought a new level of challenge to the School and has offered him the opportunity to work closely with area professionals in design, engineering, CNC, and lamination. Because of Bruce's outstanding management of this project, the School is now viewed as a hub of activity in the realm of Contemporary Wood Composite construction.

Bruce employs a deliberate and thoughtful approach to teaching that reinforces high standards of performance. He provides students a clear and concise overview, breaking things down into steps, demonstrating specific techniques, and then providing opportunities for practice. As a result, his students master skills that make them highly employable and sought after by boatbuilding companies.

He loves living in Jefferson County, surrounded by ocean and mountains, friendly people, and the peacefulĀ  nature of the Olympic Peninsula.

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