Maine Guide


Building Fox Canoes at Penland in NC


Teaching & Class Offerings



(Please note that at this time of year this page and it's links are a work in progress)


Build Your Own Willow or QuickBeam Sea Kayak

Chewonki Boatbuilders Expedition, Building a Willow Kayak

Building Fox

Introduction to Boatbuilding 

Elements of Coastal Kayaking

Building The Mischief Pram

Building a Pygmy Sea Kayak

Introduction to Woodworking.


Scroll down for class descriptions.....


  Chewonki Boat Builders

Willow kayak class at Chewonki

Introduction To Boatbuilding

Introduction to Boat Building

Intro. to boat building


Current Class Offerings

Here are the descriptions for the classes I’ll be teaching in 2017.  It’s a varied offering with close to a dozen building classes plus private guided sea kayaking trips and instruction. A detailed list of dates and the venues can be found at the top of this page.


Bill Thomas's shop  a Fox canoe and a Iain Outhredid SkerrieSkiff 15

Building class in  my shop, Fox and Skerrieskiff 15

Building A Boat In My Shop

This is the third year I’ve offered a build your own boat class in my shop.   We will be building Willows, QuickBeams and Fox Canoes. These are small two boat classes. It’s a lot of fun to work in my shop and explore the local area.


Building the Willow or QuickBeam Sea Kayak:
Build your own sea kayak in a one-week class. Students start with a pre-cut kit containing all the materials needed to build the hard-chined Willow or QuickBeam Sea Kayak design. The construction is stitch-and-glue using Okoume plywood. This is a full-on week with the kayak construction finished at the end of class. Students will still have some work to do when they get home, but the end result will be a lightweight, rugged and beautiful boat.

Chewonki Boatbuilders Expedition

Locate on Montsweag Bay Camp Chewonki has become a true Maine landmark. Chewonki was originally founded as a boy’s camp but over the years the programs offered have expanded to include girl’s camps, coed wilderness trips and winter full semester sessions open to high school students.

One of their most exciting programs, at least to my way of thinking, is their Boatbuilders Expedition.  During this 5 week class young men and women, ages 14-18, will spend about two weeks building their own kayaks. They will then set out to paddle and explore mid-coast Maine in their new boats.

The Willow kayak has been selected as the new ‘Chewonki kayak’ and this will be my 6th year working with the campers to build and outfit the kayaks they will be paddling on their wilderness adventures. I am extremely proud that the Willow was chosen and looking forward to working with the camp staff and the campers again!

Building Fox

Fox is a decked double paddle canoe, a boat intended for protected waters along the coast, for lakes and for all those appealing back waters and creeks you are always driving by and meaning to explore someday.

With an 80” long cockpit,  Fox is a grand boat for hunting, fishing and canoetripping with a dog or young child seated forward of the paddler.

Fox boasts two water-tight compartments for storage and flotation, ample room for a camping kit and a comfortable seatback and caned seat.

She  is 14’7” long with a beam of 30", the finished weight is just over 40 pounds.

We’ll build in the stitch-and-glue method and have the boat assembled at the end of  an enjoyable 6 day class.

Introduction to Boat Building:

No prior boat-building experience is required, simply a desire to learn. If you want to help build a good-looking skiff, explore the theories behind boat construction and learn basic woodworking skills this class is a great way to get started. You will be guided through the step-by-step procedures of taking on and completing a similar project on your own. In this course the students build a Karl Stambaugh Bay Skiff 12. The construction method for this appealing boat is “traditional” wood and plywood. There will also be discussions in small-craft design, selecting suitable building projects, setting up a shop, and the proper use of hand and power tools.


Building The Mischief Pram:

Mischief is a wonderfully versatile little boat for rowers of all age and she’s a perfect first-time boatbuilding project.  At 7′10″ in length and 48”” in width she’s a stable and predictable craft. The construction is a builder friendly hybrid of glue- and- screw construction and more traditional methods. The building process has been carefully choreographed so that families or individual builders can assemble the boat over two weekends.

Mischief is a proven design; I’ve built her with students and used her in on water classes at the WoodenBoat School.  She’s stable enough for kids to play around in; rows well, though pulling into head seas can be wet work. She tows like a feather and I’ve rowed her ashore with 4 adults and a load of camping gear aboard.  In short she’s as good a tender as I’ve ever used and better then many I’ve tried. Best of all you can build her yourself.

The end result of our 5 day class will be a pretty, practical rowboat suitable for younger first-time boaters or old salts.

Introduction To Woodworking

This introductory course offers a place for folks of all skill levels to learn.

Each day we will cover new topics including; hand tool usage and maintenance; tool sharpening; proper layout procedures; shop safety; power tools; and lots of woodworking techniques that will serve you well in future projects. Students will also learn a lot about wood itself, it’s different properties and what to look for in selecting a species for a particular purpose. Glues, epoxy, and fastenings will be covered as well. The focus of the entire week will be introducing students to the tools and techniques common to all types of woodworking and joinery, in addition to a look at boat-related projects.

Whether you have had some type of formal woodworking experience or have never had the opportunity to try your hand with woodworking tools, you will gain much from this course.

Building a Pygmy  Kayak

I’m partnering with Pygmy Kayaks to build their designs with students in my shop.   I limit the class size to two boats so this is a fun week of boat building. Lunch is included! 


Introduction to boatbuilding

Intriduction to Boatbuilding at the WoodenBoat School

Mischief Pram

Mischief Pram


Sea kayaking with The  WoodenBoat School

Kayak camping class on a Maine Island

Building Willow