Stitch & Glue Boatbuilding with John Harris

Location: The WoodenBoat School, Brooklin, Maine
Dates: Sunday, August 11, 2024 - Saturday, August 17, 2024

This Class in Brooklin, Maine, is offered by the WoodenBoat School; please register online. Inquiries only to 207-359-4651 or [email protected].

Instructor:   John Harris

Tuition & Materials: 

Register through the
WoodenBoat School

Call 207-359-4651 for inquiries.

  • Tuition: $925

The “stitch and glue” method is the easiest way to build a boat, as tens of thousands of amateur boatbuilders will testify.  The approach, which emphasizes the use of epoxy adhesives and strategic fiberglass reinforcement combined with marine plywood, is ideal for first-timers.  But like so many things, it’s easy to do but hard to do WELL.  This class is about how to do it well.

Stitch and glue techniques date back to the advent of modern adhesives in the 1960’s. The process dispenses with lofting, elaborate molds, and much of the complex joinery of traditional wooden boatbuilding.  Instead, computer-cut plywood parts are “stitched” together with loops of wire, then glued with epoxy to create a rigid and seaworthy hull. 

While this slot-together approach is friendly to amateurs, in recent decades professionals have seized on the method as a way to create beautiful, free-form hull shapes with amazing strength and light weight.  When pros build stitch-and-glue boats, they deploy sophisticated techniques that result in optimized structures and glittering finishes.

Boatbuilding Instructor John Harris
John Harris

 As the owner of Chesapeake Light Craft, John C. Harris has shipped 40,000 stitch-and-glue boat kits and built hundreds of boats in classes and in his own shop.  In this class, we’ll build a an elegant camp-cruising dinghy, rigged for sail and oar, with room to sleep on the floorboards beneath a boom tent. This swift, stable, and ergonomic 15-footer offers many opportunities to focus on the finer points of stitch-and-glue—for example, perfectly hand-drawn fillets that look like they were molded in place, fast and clean fiberglass sheathing and reinforcement, and the use of advanced materials like peel-ply. There will be plenty of boat carpentry, too, including spars, a rudder, and a centerboard trunk..

Whether you’re building your first boat, or looking to learn the advanced tricks that the professionals use to get “showboat” finishes, this one-week class will advance your abilities to work with wood, epoxy, and fiberglass.  The boat we build together will be raffled off at the end of the week to one lucky student!