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Hand-crafted timber boats, using traditional means.For nearly 25 years, the Wooden Boat Centre Tasmania has been producing a range of beautiful timber boats, crafted by hand on the banks of the Huon River, in Franklin, Tasmania.
Designed by Charles E Nicholson, probably the best-known naval architect of the 1930s, it was built in England for Marlene Dietrich's friend Marion Betty 'Joe' Carstairs.
The size of the production hall was determined by the dimensions of the Blue Marlin - self-evidently the first restoration project.
We meet numbers of people who are seeking a boat that they cannot find in the mass-produced area.
The enquiry is usually accompanied by stories of family outing, fishing and river trips that have remained strongly in someone's memory from their childhood. The charm of launches and indeed "Putt-Putts" is the casual and gentle style of boating they engender.
We used one as a work and family boat for many years ourselves- and those conversations with grandchildren which start by them saying, "grandpa, do you remember when we used to go fishing all the time .
Over the years we have also built launches in survey for local governments and other bodies. Presently we have in the workshop a fantail launch developed for a modern diesel engine, and destined to cruise the Noosa river.
We are presently developing a double ended clinker launch, based on Dutch models, intended to have a teak fit-out to suit social cruising. Paul is working towards building a double-ended skiff based on the plans for a double-ended skiff presented in the book Boatbuilding for Amateurs.
If anyone would like to add any comments or information, please do so using the comments link at the end of this post. Have you got news for us?If what you're doing is like the things you read about here - please write and tell us what you're up to. Classic Sailor is a new magazine about traditional and classic boats from ex-Classic Boat editor Dan Houston and colleagues that promises rather more coverage of the traditional craft around our coast.


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Follow me on TwitterLooking for something?This is a busy weblog, and what you're looking for is probably still here - just a little way down the list now. Our Faversham-based friend Alan Thorne can help with boatbuilding projects - constructing to plans in very tidy stitch-and-glue or more traditional techniques.
I think Selway Fisher had some plans but I'd Check with the Association for their rules - MMD has an interest in the topic, might be worth talking to him but he's a busy man. If you have incentive to build I would expect the Australian association would access plans.
Like the dragon boats of a hundred or more years ago, there is more sweep in the sheer than the current competition boats. The bones of a cometitive boat are there - the structural arrangement is better that the current crop of 'glass boats - but an alteration of form and some fussy building practices to shave off weight would be needed to put the boat in serious contention, 'specially 'cause I'm certain the boat can be built to be 25 - 50 kilos lighter than a current 'glass competition boat. Think of this: 20 paddlers averaging 175lbs (3500lbs) a 600lb boat, a drummer and steerer.
Franklin has a proud shipbuilding and maritime heritage, and it offers a first-choice location for the building and refurbishment of wooden boats. This 21 metre classic beauty, even if a little worse for wear, had passed into Finnish hands and was taken to Kotka for restoration. The new premises of the Finnish Wooden Boat Centre were designed by the Architects Lahdelma and Mahlamaki Oy.
The new building was completed on Kotkansaari next to the Maritime Centre Vellamo in May 2008. The most common enquiry we receive is for people seeking an old boat worthy of restoration. Try scrolling down, clicking on the 'older posts' button at the bottom of this page - or try the search gadget!


To get WoodenBoat delivered to your door or computer, mobile device of choice, etc, click WB Subscriptions. It makes for a better looking boat IMHO, but I s'pose that the loss of waterline length might make a difference in serious competition. Design fees and class approval (apparently administered - at least in Canada - by two of the major 'glass boat builders and thereby difficult to attain) would probably make it an expensive proposition for anyone who wanted to build just one boat. The 40-footer that Scott Dagley built to my plans came in at 585 lbs with no effort made to save weight (he put on sixty pounds of paint fer gawd's sakes!). We welcome locals and visitors, individuals and groups, to join one of our many courses to experience the satisfaction, achievement and camaraderie of hand building timber boats. The affectionate title alludes to the sound made by the old style two-stroke motors of an earlier era.
Being able to develop a boat on the computer to fit a client's specific requirements and then from the files, CNC cut frame, planks and templates for other parts is a tremendous saving of time and materials.
However, I'm confident that the scantlings & structure can be tweaked to let her shed a few dozen kilos (like, maybe 100).
The design was lengthened to 40 feet to accomodate 20 paddlers as a competition boat and three hulls have been built so far.
The most distinctive and dominant feature of the boat centre is the parable-shaped open-ended dome clad with patinated copper sheets. The 15 metre high space supported by steel arcs house both the boat building hall, complete with the necessary heating and humidity control systems, and unheated storage rooms on two levels.
The dome and the old engineering workshop are interconnected by a wedge-shaped section housing a cafe, library, a small exhibition room and offices.



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