Stay tuned, we are currently getting our North Carolina Build a Boat program ship shape. Return often for updates.

Build A Boat.

When I first thought of starting a boatbuilding program one of the first prerequisites was that everybody that attended my course would leave with their own beautiful boat. Allmost all other programs are sponsored by museums or non profit Boatshops. We are a private business run by professional boatbuilders. The non profit format is generally a workshop or team effort format where a group of 4-6 people build the boat and at the end of the session lots are drawn, and the winner, for the price of the material can purchase the boat. In some courses all you end up with is a set of molds to take home with you. In most cases these end up in your cellar or in your garage. If you want to build your own boat, then The Little Boat Shop is the place to go. For some people this is all they are looking for. We want everyone of our students to lrave with their own handcrafted wooden boat built by themselves in our program. Over the last 12 years we have built hundreds with our students and I am proud of all of them. Some take longer than others due to busy schedules but they all get finished and when they leave my shop you would be hard pressed to tell wether a professional builder or a beginner built the boat.

I am quite sure that I have the only program in the country where I work one on one with my students to complete their boats. We have had people from all over the country visit us, spend a good week or so and complete their boat. You will see some of them if you go to the Alumni Page. Some of our builders have sold their boats and come back to build a different design that involves a higher skill level. We call this our Captains Club and wait till you will see some of their work!

About the Boats

We offer several different designs in our program for the first time builder.

  • Joel White's "Shellback" Sailing Dinghy is by far the most popular boat.

  • We also offer the "Nutshell Pram" in both the 7'-7'' and 9'-6'' version. Both of these are sailing prams and make wonderful tenders.

  • The 11'-3" "Susan Skiff" is a pretty boat and will handle a light outboard motor.

  • The 12'-4" "Yankee Tender" is an adaptation of the Asa Thompson Skiff and is an elegant and stable boat that is a joy to row.

  • The 12-14' "Outboard Skiff" is a traditional semi-dory designed by The Little Boat Shop and can also be powered with a small outboard.
Just click on the boat and there is a detailed description including pricing and additional information. We encourage all of our first time builders to choose on of these designs. When you have completed your boat you will have no problem building another of similar construction. We build with both the modern method of boat building and also traditional methods. The tuition cost includes instruction and all the material to build your boat ready for paint and varnish.

Student Mike Harrington planing the chine of his Yankee Tender to receive the garbord plank

Garboard installed and planking is started

Outboard Skiff receiving the rails

Shellbacks getting started

Our Open House in November in our New Bedford Shop

Doc Aliardi and his son rigging their boat

Off they go in their Shellback

Henry Swan from Swansea working on his Nutshell Pram

What Will I Learn?

When you first arrive at the shop you will see that we have done a little work to get you started. All of this will be thoroughly explained to you and is shown in the drawings. Believe me there will be plenty of work left to do. We will start out with the basic method of lofting of drawing certain portions or all of the boat out full size. It is not difficult and is a lot of fun. You will be surprised how few power tools we use in boatbuilding. When your boat has been completed you will be quite comfortable and confident in the use of these hand tools. You will learn how to use the modern adheasives that we use today and their proper applications. Building a boat is not difficult. It really is just repeating a learned technique over and over until your project is completed. So roll up your sleeves and let's get started.


© The Little Boat Shop
Bath, North Carolina