Girls’ Boat Project: Hands-On Learning & Heartfelt Fun

Over the past 6 weeks, the girls have been getting to know each other, our boat, and many of the tools in the shop. We began with the foundations of shop safety, group intentions, and agreements. Our collective agreements include learning, supporting each other, and having fun!

Last year’s crew made a lot of progress with the construction of our boat, an 11.5’ long Ed-Monk-designed “Small Skiff.” This year, we are completing the build with a stern thwart, sole boards, paint, and other finishing touches. Then, in the spring, we’ll launch the boat!

On their tool tray projects, the girls learned about building with ratios and got comfortable accurately measuring and marking. They laid out and cut the pieces for the sides of their boxes using combination squares, dividers, and Japanese hand saws. Now they are moving on to making grooves for the “floating” bottom with plow planes.

One of our main goals at Girls’ Boat Project is to get the girls practice time with a variety of tools. For Valentine’s Day, we did a special project—cutting out hearts on the bandsaw! They learned about general bandsaw safety, using relief cuts for sharp corners and curves, and planning out their process for multiple cuts. Later, they will use the bandsaw to cut out patterns for our remaining boat projects.

The girls have excellent focus and are excited to learn in the shop, but we have plenty of fun too! When the weather is nice we play games outside, and when it isn’t the girls get creative. One day they decided to measure everyone’s height and “wingspan” to see who’s on “Team Gorilla” and who’s on “Team T-Rex.” A few of us landed in “Team Proportional,” with exactly the same measurements for both height and wingspan.

We’re so excited to continue our learning together, and to spend some time on the water this spring!