Stitch & Glue Boatbuilding with John Harris

Location: The WoodenBoat School, Brooklin, Maine
Dates: Sunday, August 8, 2021 - Saturday, August 14, 2021

This Class in Brooklin, Maine, is offered by the WoodenBoat School;

for registration and class inquiries, please call 207-359-4651 or email

Instructor:   John Harris

Tuition & Materials: 

Register through the
WoodenBoat School

Call 207-359-4651 for registration inquiries.

  • Tuition: $825

The “stitch and glue” method is the easiest way to build a boat, as tens of thousands of amateur boatbuilders will testify.  The approach, which emphasizes the use of epoxy adhesives and strategic fiberglass reinforcement combined with marine plywood, is ideal for first-timers.  But like so many things, it’s easy to do but hard to do WELL.  This class is about how to do it well.

The stitch and glue techniques date back to the advent of modern adhesives in the 1960’s.  The basic process involves prefabricated plywood parts, which are stitched together with loops of wire, then glued with epoxy to create rigid and seaworthy hulls.  The process dispenses with lofting, elaborate molds, and much of the complex joinery of traditional wooden boatbuilding.  

Boatbuilding Instructor John Harris
John Harris

While the method is beloved of amateurs, in recent decades professionals have seized on the method as a way to create beautiful free-form hull shapes with amazing strength and light weight.  While still benefiting from the speed and ease of stitch and glue boatbuilding, pros deploy sophisticated techniques that result in optimized structures and glittering finishes.

CLC Gislinge
CLC Gislinge
Northeaster Dory - Build Your Own Boat
CLC Gislinge

This year's stitch-and-glue class will assemble a replica of the Gislinge Boat, a 7.7-meter rowing and sailing craft. The original was probably built for a Danish chieftain around the year 1130, and excavated from a farm field in Denmark in 1993. It's not a Viking ship, but a recent descendant. Designer, boatbuilder, and instructor John Harris chose this project because the construction techniques of these elegant Scandinavian vessels share remarkable similarities with stitch-and-glue boats of the 21st century. Then, as now, the monocoque hulls are assembled from pre-shaped planks, without a mold. Instead of oak planking and bog-iron rivets, our Gislinge Boat will be assembled from computer-cut marine plywood with wire stitches  and epoxy.

Whether you’re building your first boat or looking to learn the professional tricks used to get “showboat” finishes, this one-week class will advance your abilities to work with wood, epoxy, and fiberglass.  In addition to building the Gislinge Boat, this class features lots of individualized bench-top practice and tutorials.