Boat building

Boat building

Learn a truely traditional craft. Here you will learn to fell a tree, mill it into boards, then shape those boards into a boat using the techniques taught by one generation to another. And afterwards go sailing!

Come and build a clinker-built boat with us, a thousand year old tradition. Would you like to help us carry on this tradition?

It takes time to learn a new craft from scratch. You won't learn everything after just one year, but you will lay a foundation that you can build on in the future.You will get to participate in the whole process, from felling trees in the woods to sailing in a freshly built boat! Most years you can also learn to sew a sail, forge metal rigging, and make rope as elective courses.

We'll be starting by going out into the woods and choosing the right stock for all the parts of the boat. Should our spruce grow on the northern or the southern side? Should it grow on sand or marsh, with hanging branches or "nail" branches? Should the bark be smooth or mottled? You'll be learning about all these things while we're camping in the woods, drinking coffee around the fire, and telling stories about the worst places we've gotten ticks. We'll fell the trees, then drag them home to be milled into boards.

Then we start building the boats! The keel, stem, and stern get put in position, then we'll bend the first boards in place. We'll be fitting the ribs, flooring, oarlocks, oars, and the rudder. In the process you will be learning to use tools, shape curves, and work with wood. You'll recieve training in the use of machines, axes, planes, and other handtools. Much of what we do can be done with either handtools or machines. To master boat building one must be patient, but the fun will never stop!

Much of what you learn here can be transfered to other handcrafts. We emphasize good technique, and developing a sense for form and shaping by eye - practical skills that you are guarenteed to use later in life, whereever you go.

In the spring we'll be having three weeks where we focus on work exclusively within our course. We'll work on the boats morning and night, finishing off the last touches before taking it sailing and plugging all the holes we forgot to plug before.

Who does this course fit?

Anyone who enjoys working with wood, or wants to learn more about it. While prior experience with wood is not required it may be an advantage.

What do we expect of you?

We expect you to be interested, patient, and can work work independently.

For the career oriented pupil

A year at Fosen is more than just boat building. There's also electives, schoolwide classes, week-long courses, trips, and "Dugnad" where we all pitch in at the farm or a neighbor's to get a big job done quickly. We know there will be some extra motivated students who want more boat building than we have time for. Luckily the workshop is open 24/7 even if the teacher isn't there. Some stay two years and build their own boat, or become a teacher's assistant. Nearly every year there is at least one student who goes to work at a boat workshop elsewhere. We hope to see you soon!

What we have:

  • A big, newly built boat building workshop
  • A blacksmithing forge
  • The Woods
  • A lumber mill
  • 24/7 access to workspace


What you'll learn:

  • The use of traditional and modern handtools
  • To find material in the woods suited for specific purposes
  • To fell trees and mill timber
  • Good technique
  • Shaping material by hand
  • The construction of traditional clicker-built boats


What you should bring:

  • Clothes you are comfortable working in
  • Knife, for shaping wood, or opening a coffee bag, or fileting a fish, or one for each

Anything you don't have can be loaned from the school, or bought at nearby stores once you get to Rissa.

Meet the Teacher

Malte is a jolly Dane who moved to Norway to build boats in old way.

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