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Japanese boatbuilding workshop at the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend Washington

Japanese River Boatbuilding

August 24-28 | 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM | $950 | Member $855
Taught by Douglas Brooks. Please note date change from printed Program Guide.

In this workshop students will work together build one or more boats, based on a traditional Japanese river boat design. The course will provide a thorough introduction to traditional Japanese boatbuilding, introducing students to the unique techniques of Japanese boatbuilding including fitting planks with handsaws, and fastening using both edge-nails and wooden dovetail keys. Other topics include sharpening with waterstones and the adjustment and tuning of Japanese wooden planes.

The boat design is from the Agano River and is a hard chine, canoe-like craft used in the lagoons and estuaries of the river mouth. They are called, locally, itaawase (ita=plank; awase=to put together). Workshop boats will be about sixteen feet long and suitable for paddling by one or two people.

If time permits, students will work on making paddles and/or half models. All the necessary materials and Japanese tools will be provided, but if students own hand tools they may bring a selection to class. The instructor will also discuss the tenets of Japanese apprenticeship. No prior woodworking experience is necessary.

About the Instructor:
Douglas Brooks is a boat builder, writer and researcher. He specializes in small boats built to traditional designs and he has taught boatbuilding across the United States and Japan. He has also studied traditional Japanese boat building since 1996, having apprenticed with seven boatbuilders throughout the country. He has written for WoodenBoat magazine, Maritime Life and Traditions, and Classic Boat among other publications. His fourth book, Japanese Wooden Boatbuilding, is the first comprehensive survey of the craft published in any language. His work can be seen at his website,

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Aug 24 2019 - Aug 28 2019


9:00 am - 5:00 pm



More Info

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431 Water Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368
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Contact Us

431 Water Street
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Phone: 360.385.3628 x104
Fax: 360.385.4742


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The mission of the Northwest Maritime Center is to engage and educate people of all generations in traditional and contemporary maritime life, in a spirit of adventure and discovery.

Northwest Maritime Center (FEIN # 91-1931643) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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