Monday, August 15, 2011


Well, my learning journey at The WoodenBoat School has come to an end.  Saturday morning we had a ½ day schedule. The only thing we could really do was to fiberglass the inside of the boat and say goodbye.

The RAPTOR staples and finish nails were well received as they performed as advertised! They held the cedar strips in place to allow the wood joints to cure and the F/15 finish nails joined the ends together even though they were under extreme stress from the curvature of the hull design. No problem! We eliminated the need to remove any of the staples or nails as the staples were sanded off and the nails remained as a part of the structure.

After spending 7 days with 7 wood boat building enthusiasts I am slightly wiser, a bit in awe of their talents and I have a greater appreciation and respect for a wonderful passion. It is truly an art and a religion.

To my blog readers, thank you for allowing me to share this amazing experience with you.


Some additional photos...

Friday, August 12, 2011


It’s Friday, Day 6 of my experience here at The WoodenBoat School. We have fiber glassed the shell of the hull and are excited to pop it off the strongback and then start working on the inside of the boat. I can already predict a lot of sanding. We did much the same as yesterday; faired the hull, filled holes and voids, sanded with 80-grit sandpaper, fit the fiberglass cloth and did a final fill on the fiberglass.

There were several learning experiences regarding fairing which many perfectionists would appreciate (me being one of them!). It’s not perfect until it's perfect. 38 strips of cedar need to feel as one by line of sight, touch and experience. You know when you know it’s right. I cannot explain it any other way. After we all agreed that we will be here all summer if we did not stop, we all agreed that enough was enough and the hull was smooth enough to be done.  We dry-fitted the inside with fiberglass and did the final fill and sanding. We will glass the inside tomorrow morning and close up our week by noon.  There will be a few more hours (about 50 man hours) to finish a boat of this size.  I’ll finish up tomorrow with the closing details.

It has been a wonderful experience. We held the traditional Friday night Lobster Boil at the boathouse for the students and staff. We had approximately 80 friends show up that were not friends on Sunday night. It’s a special place with wonderful people.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Good evening fellow wooden boat enthusiasts!

We started out the day with a 1 hour row in the Eggemoggin Reach with our course instructor Clint Chase and 5 classmates. I had the pleasure to row a 14' Whitehall which is similar to the 21' St. Lawerence skiff that we are building in class.
While some of us were on the water, the others were sanding the composite staples off of the planking with an orbitable sander. We posted a video earlier in the day. It was great to hear the comments from the guys as to how easy and simple it was. The benefits far outweighed the alternative of using steel staples; hours of staple removal with a staple remover. I cannot imagine removing 1,300 staples by hand. It took us 10 minutes with the sander. And we didn't have to fill any holes!
Today was all about fairing the hull. It requires patience, a good feel, a great eye and a lot of sandpaper. We planed the uneven surfaces, used flexible sanding battens, handmade foam shaped form blocks to shape the curves. It took us about 3 hours to sand the hull to a point were we all were happy. After a quick lunch, we filled voids and holes with wood filler and we continued to trim the palnking and round the edges. After some final details and a thorough clean up of sawdust, shavings and materials we finally fit the hull with e-glass fiberglass fabric for the fiberglassing.

Tomorrow, I think we get to take the hull off of the strongback and the molds.



You can't do this with metal. 

Check out the video. Today we sanded the hull with 80-grit sandpaper on an orbital sander.

You can see that the S/05 RAPTOR staples smooth away like butter.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Our morning row was cancelled due to poor weather. Rain and 60 degrees. Oh well! Back to work.

Today was all about strip planking. 36 strips of ¾” cedar 21 feet long. We used approximately 1,300 S/05-25 staples and 250 F/15-100 finish nails in addition to ½ gallon of Titebond III Ultimate Wood Glue for every joint. We joined the scarf’s with West Systems G/5 Five Minute Adhesive. The adhesive is so strong we used it to fill some small voids and worked it into some weak areas, too. We finished the build late this afternoon and look forward to sanding, fairing, and sealing the hull tomorrow. This will be a great example of how we can sand off the S/05 staples with 80-grit sandpaper and an orbital sander. I’ll post a video tomorrow night.

The boat is taking shape.


Patrick's WoodenBoat School Blog - Day 3

65 degrees and sunny this morning! Great day to strip plank a boat. We had our 8 AM pre-production meeting with Cliff and we received today’s orders:

Bevel Backbone
-Check for Fair
 Glue Strips
-Cut scarfs

The first strip we will sheer with square edge after we find the fair. This set the tone for the rest of the day as that first strip creates the “flow” of the strips. Most of it is done with your eyes and what “looks right”. Of course 16 eyes have different opinions yet we all agreed what looked right was correct. I spent about 2 hours planning the keelson flush with the molds to allow the strip planks to finish flush at the bottom of the boat which, by the way, is actually the top of our work piece. Sometimes it gets confusing when you refer to a part of the boat when it is upside down and have to flip your thinking. I’m slowly getting it.

The first photo today is the setting of the first strip. Every strip location on this side of the boat will be based on this critical strip. Let’s hope we did it correctly. Once we started stripping, we glued the strips together and then used an S/05-25 staple to keep the strips tight against one another. We did not staple the strips into the mold. At each end of the boat, we nailed the strips into the stems with the OMER 17.55P and F/15-100CP finish nails. Everyone loved the pneumatic nailer. The staples were driven with two CT6000P compression staplers and an OMER 81P stapler. We could have used a few more once we all started getting into it.

Day Three will start with a 7:30 rowing clinic by Clint Chase at the WoodenBoat docks.

Time for bed!

That's me!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Patrick's WoodenBoat School Blog - Day 2

Greetings wooden boat enthusiasts!
Class today started promptly at 8 AM in the boat shop. We had a quick morning meeting and we were given our orders for the day:

Prep the strongback 
Rough bevel the stems.
Lay out and cut the Keelson.
Trace the stem posts and set up to laminate
Erect molds and check
Set up and fair molds & bevels.
Prep strips (scarfs)
Start stripping by 3PM

We accomplished 7 out of 8 items and the strip planking starts in the morning. It helps to have 7 carpenters and a helper (me!) plus a professional boat builder to guide us. I cannot imagine doing this alone.

We will start using the RAPTOR S/05 staples in the planking process so stay tuned.

It started out cold and rainy in the morning and turned into a beautiful day for the afternoon and early evening. I took some pictures at the dock after dinner and caught our instructor Cliff enjoying a quick row before calling it a day.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Patrick's WoodenBoat School Blog - Day 1

Patrick's WoodenBoat School Blog
Sunday 8/7/11 

Greetings wooden boat enthusiast!

It's my first day at the the WoodenBoat school. I met my instructor, Clint Chase this afternoon at the boat shop. Great guy; professional boat builder from Portland, ME. 

 We are going to build a 21’ St. Lawrence River Skiff. Doing a little homework. I found out that the St. Lawrence River Skiff was developed in the Thousand Islands, at the turn of the century by guides who took wealthy patrons fishing.  It was built with an eye toward maneuverability, stability, seaworthiness, and speed. Often compared to the Adirondack Guide Boats, the St. Lawrence River Skiffs were not required to be so portage-friendly, and so could be heavier and beamier, more comfortable and better able to handle rough water.

I have 8 other classmates who are all rowing enthusiasts and wooden boat builders. I hope that I can keep up. 

Stayed at the shop until 9:30 tonight getting everything all set up so we can start production in the morning. I’m going to sleep well tonight.
All of these pictures will somehow come together by week’s end to make a beautiful boat.


Day 1 - MOLD

Monday, July 11, 2011


Next month our VP of Sales and Marketing, Patrick Mooney, will travel to the beautiful coastal community of Brooklin, Maine, where he will attend the world renowned WoodenBoat School.

The WoodenBoat school offers students a hands on learning experience near a spectacular waterfront in a truly inspiring environment.  It is a Mecca of sorts for the novice or the experienced boat construction enthusiast.

Patrick is excitedly looking forward to constructing his very first boat in the "Strip Composite Construction" course taught by Maine boat builder, Clint Chase.

Take the journey with Patrick!  During his 6-day course, Patrick will upload daily blog videos, photos and posts to journal  his experiences at the school. Would you like to follow Patrick on his learning journey?  Just send an email to raptornails@gmail.com and you will receive email notifications when Patrick uploads new photos, videos or blog posts.  If you are on Twitter or Facebook you can also follow his posts at twitter.com/RAPTORnails or Facebook