Boat school students wrap up projects

Posted 8/6/13

Amid growing piles of wood chips and the sweet smell of sawdust, a number of large projects have recently been completed at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Lower Hadlock.

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Boat school students wrap up projects

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Amid growing piles of wood chips and the sweet smell of sawdust, a number of large projects have recently been completed at the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Lower Hadlock.

After more than two years of construction, the Bob Perry–designed yacht Sliver is on its way to Seattle.

Led by instructor Bruce Blatchley, students in the school’s Contemporary Wood Composites program started Sliver, a 62-foot daysailer, in April 2011. The strip-planked hull of western red cedar sheathed in fiberglass was built on molds cut by Turn Point Design of Port Townsend.

“I’ve been lucky to work for two years on this project. Now I can use my skills in a lot of composite construction industries – rocket construction being one of them – not just boatbuilding,” said student Cooper Parish. Other students involved in the project were Fred Shwiller, Jordan Primus, Kai Lorenz, Troy Craig and Amos Howe.

Instructors Ben Kahn and Jeff Hammond guided about 20 students in the design and construction of three rowboats that are to play key roles in a documentary for the BBC and the Discovery Channel.

One 16-foot and two 21-foot Whitehall rowboats, as well as Kahn himself, are going to be in a reality-television documentary replicating the journey that John Wesley Powell took down the Colorado River in his epic 99-day expedition in 1869. The boats left Hadlock on July 25, bound for the Arizona Raft Adventures (AZRA) outfitting company in Flagstaff, Ariz., to be transported to the river. Kahn is to participate in the reenacted river run both as rower and onsite wooden-boat repairman.

In the boatbuilding school’s Traditional Large Craft program, students led by instructor Tim Lee are currently working on a Hanson-designed U.S. Forest Service scaler’s boat, a design that historically was used in work around Puget Sound logjams.

Lee extended the boat to 28 feet, making it fit for use as a cruising vessel. Students began the project this spring and completed the boat’s keel, stem, transom, steam-bent oak frames and planking. Next year’s class will continue the construction and also begin another boat, in order to gain experience with the entire process of boatbuilding.

The boat school has a capacity of 55 full-time students each year. Graduates work in boat repair and restoration, maritime museums, boatbuilding, education, musical instrument building, fine furniture making and even rocket construction.

Classes begin on Oct. 1. Visit nwboatschool.org for scholarship information. For tours, contact Pamela Roberts, 385-4948, ext. 307, or info@nwboatschool.org.

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