Boat Building Classes

Learn to Build a Boat with the Cove Dweller Boat Works team!

Cove Dweller Boat Works has developed a fun, user friendly program of woodstrip/epoxy boat building courses. Have you wanted to get out with your brother, grandfather, mom or friends to build your own boat? Cove Dweller Boat Works is just the place to be able to help you with that. Building an elegant Adirondack Guide Boat or a Liz Pulling Boat (from Newfound Woodworks Inc).

Regardless of your experience previously building boats, handling tools, or reading drawings, our building technique is approachable, deceptively simple as well as strong and beautiful. Most first time builders will find that they are familiar with many of the tools and techniques used in the class. The Cove Dweller Boat Works team will walk you through simple steps while using high quality materials to create a craft that everyone will be proud of. Students will work in small teams building one or two boats during this intensive seven day course (or our optional weekend courses). By the end of course, the boats will be up to the final sanding and varnishing stage, ready for the details that will personalize them.

This course is no small feat but with daily objectives in place, the pace will allow each student time to confidently develop new skills and enjoy the comfortable satisfaction of completing quality work. We will set attainable, yet high standards of workmanship that will have you feeling successful at the end of each day. We understand the importance of different learning styles, so we keep our classes small to allow for individual attention to your specific questions. Throughout the classes we will look at sharpening and maintaining hand tools, steam bending, laminating and a variety of basic woodworking/boatbuilding strategies and techniques.

Who can attend?

Let’s start by saying, basically anyone can attend – as long as you have a desire to learn! Small craft building is a rewarding experience for people of all ages and abilities. Pride and patience are much more important than skill.  We welcome all ages (13-17 must be accompanied by an adult), in combinations of family (child/parent/grandparent) and friends. If you would like a customized course for your group give us a call – we are quite flexible and can consider special requests from schools, clubs, etc.


How long are the courses?

Classes are held at Cove Dweller Boat Works headquarters and are 7 days in duration so that students will experience the building process from start to finish which includes setting up the mold. The extra time will allow students to laminate stems and get familiar with sharpening tools in preparation for a busy week of building. It will be an intense yet satisfying week.

We also offer the option of taking our weekend courses – where you will attend classes 4 weekends in a row.

What kind of boat can I build?

Students in the rowboat building classes are building either the Adirondack Guide Boat or the Liz Pulling Boat.

The Adirondack Guide Boat is a rowboat that was developed in the 1840s for recreational activities in Adirondack Park. It was designed to have a shallow draft, carry three people and their gear, and be light enough to be portaged by one man, the guide. Typical dimensions are 16 feet long, with a 38 inch beam, and weighing 60 pounds. While superficially resembling a canoe in size and profile, its construction methods are very different and are one of its defining features. The stem and ribs are made from spruce, a wood which has a very good strength to weight ratio. The hull is planked up with cedar laps, with seams tacked with copper tacks. The hull has a bottom board, like a dory, typically made of pine. Ribs are traditionally cut from spruce roots which have a grain following the desired curvature of the rib.

The Liz is an elegant pulling boat designed by Ken Bassett of Onion River Boatworks. Coupled with a Piantedosi Row Wing, this design will provide you with all the exercise you want while including a great deal of stability, much more than a typical rowing shell. Under Ken’s direction, New Found Woodworks Inc. lofted his lapstrake plans to a marine CAD program and developed cross sections every 12″ for strip building. The great benefit of the strip built version is that now it has shed about 30 lbs of weight compared to lapstrake. Note that you can carry a passenger in this pulling boat, something you wouldn’t be able to do in a rowing shell.


There are 2 options you may choose from.  Should you wish to take our educational boat building course, the tuition for the seven day workshop at Cove Dweller Boat Works is $1200 (CAD).  The tuition covers the cost for the course, all materials, text book and will provide you all of the knowledge required to build a boat you can call your own!  It is important to note, this tuition price does not include taking home the newly constructed boat.

The second option is an assisted boat build.  You will purchase a boat kit from Cove Dweller Boat Works and work in a private classroom setting to build your boat with the help of an instructor.  The materials are provided to you and you are taking this boat home with you.  Please contact us for details about pricing.

Boat Course Inquiry Form