The bittersweetness of Autumn here is intensified by the knowledge that this week is the last week of classes at Brooklin’s renowned WoodenBoat School. Some of the most interesting people you could ever meet come to these esoteric classes, only three of which remain in progress.

One of the classes is Fundamentals of Boatbuilding, instructed by Bob Fuller. It’s a two-week course that is in its final week. The students produce works like this scaled down version of a classic Whitehall Rowboat, which the School has put up for sale outside of the classroom (background masked out):


Also for sale is one of the students’ Chaisson Dories, shown below behind the Whitehall. These two provide good examples of Carvel (edge-to-edge, smooth) Planking and Clinker or Lapstrake (overlapped) Planking.


Inside the classroom, some students are working on a Catspaw Dinghy. Here are some of them yesterday making things come together:


The second ongoing WBS class is Making Friends With Your Marine Diesel Engine, instructed by Jon Bardo. This hands-on course covers the care and repair of these motors. It’s not for those who are repelled by greasy hands. Here’s one of the students apparently removing a piston yesterday:


The remaining course is Building Half-Models, with Eric Dow as the instructor. It involves individual students using their woodworking skills to use historic boat design plans and build their own, precise half-hull model(s), layer by layer. It’s not for the impatient or the imprecise. Here’s one student being careful yesterday:


Meanwhile, works are being stored on the campus for possible use next year, including this eclectic collection out back:


If history is prologue, many of this year’s students will be back next year. The WoodenBoat School is that kind of place. (Brooklin, Maine)