I've always been interested in learning more about boat building and for my last birthday my wife gave me four weekend days worth of attendance at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's "Apprentice for a Day" program. The museum runs the program every year and this year is building a replica of a circa 1918 Chesapeake sailing skiff.
I attended my first class before the holidays when we "lofted" the boat - basically meaning that we created full-size drawings on a board to be used for reference during the process. This was really informative as far as understanding the translation between a 2-D line drawing and a complex shaped object.
This past weekend I attended another session and we worked on setting up wooden molds that will eventually be used to bend the hull planking into shape. We also milled a huge piece of douglass fir and did a dry fit on shaping it to form the keel that sweeps up at the bow.
So far I've had a lot of fun and I've really appreciated that the museum staff and volunteers who run the program have let me dive right into getting my hands dirty pretty much from the get-go. I was a little afraid going in that it might be more observation than participation - but that hasn't been the case at all and I've already had plenty of boat shop large power tool time.
I get the sense that if I was the type who didn't know a drill from a table saw the staff would be just as patient and enthusiastic about educating me.
I keep meaning to take some pictures, but time flies every time I go to "class". I'll have to make a point to next time. Two more classes left - I hope to go back again a couple of times in February. The build will continue into spring but I was really more interested in being there for building the hull more than fitting it out though I'll definitely have to get back to St. Mike's to see her launched in the spring.