Skill-building in the NWMC Boat Shop

taylorAll, Girls' Boat Project, Youth Programs

For week two of the Girls Boat Project program at the Northwest Maritime Center, we spent time in the boat shop. As our group arrived, winds picked up gradually – although it was a sunny day – the wind was getting stronger and white caps were evident across the bay. We observed the weather from the second floor deck of the red campus building, making note of wind direction and strength, temperature, and a steady build in current in front of the harbor. We decided that it was a great opportunity to take to the boat shop and get acquainted with the space we will be working in and the tools we will be using throughout the upcoming weeks.

After a tasty snack of carrots, peanut butter, and goldfish and our icebreaker question, “What would you name a boat if you had one?” we played a name memory game that employed the tossing of a cute Tasmanian Devil stuffed animal to a pal in the circle and a couple rounds of “Where The Wind Blows” that helped us get to know one another’s interests. Then it was back to the classroom for an introduction to some of the basic techniques we will be using and vocabulary common to woodworking.

K cut out and set up a ‘layout’ template that included space to draft and practice: how to measure even spacing with a combination square and divider, a cut for a band-saw and a pull-saw, holes to be drilled with the brace and drill press, and fastening, and we had an example drawn on a white-board for reference that we brought with us down to the boat shop. We did a tour of the shop, a safety review of our PPE (personal protection equipment) and how to use each of the tools in our tool kits. Everyone had their own board and made some headway practicing the techniques. It was really inspiring to see each girl go through the processes and learning curves in their own way, and finding what works for them and their body (we have apple boxes to aid with reaching a functional height for the work benches).

All of the girls were familiar with some degree of the tools we were using, and it was interesting to hear the different ways the tools they recognize have been used at home, school, or in other past Girls Boat Project weeks. Time passes by quickly when we are in the shop, so everyone was looking forward to more time with the tools in the coming weeks!