In this one-week workshop, students will work together under the direction of author, boatbuilder, and educator Douglas Brooks to build one boat, based on a traditional 21-foot Japanese river boat design.

The course will provide a thorough introduction to traditional Japanese boatbuilding, introducing students to unique techniques, including fitting planks with handsaws, and edge-fastening planks using both nails and wooden dovetail keys. Other topics include design, sharpening with waterstones, and the adjustment and tuning of Japanese wooden planes.

The boat design is from the Shinano River, Niigata and is a hard chine, canoe-like craft used in the lagoons and estuaries of the river mouth. They are called honryousen, which means “typical fishing boat.” The course concludes with a traditional Shinto launching ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 7.

All the necessary materials and Japanese tools will be provided, but if students own hand tools they may bring a selection to class, particularly chisels. The instructor will also discuss the tenets of Japanese apprenticeship. No prior woodworking experience is necessary. Preregistration is required.

This program is supported by the Upper Shore Regional Folklife Center under the Maryland Traditions program of the Maryland State Arts Council.


Traditional Japanese Boat Building
Monday-Saturday, Oct. 2-7, 9am-4pm during the week and 9am-noon on Saturday
Location: Shipyard
Cost: $850, with a 20% discount for CBMM Members