Podcast 011 – John Stuart of Arborvitae Woodworking


About 3 years ago, I was at the boat ramp in West Yarmouth pulling Marsaili out for the season.  I towed the dinghy over and threw it in the back of the truck.  The dinghy is a 10’ Bolger Pointy skiff that I had built 2 years prior.  I have gotten many compliments on it and to be frank, I am pretty proud of how well it has held up over the years.  She is pretty for a 10’ plywood skiff.

As I was packing up, a man approached me and asked me about the skiff.  As usual, I proudly mentioned that I built it and like a proud father, went through some of the finer details of the boat.  As we were speaking, a unique looking boat rolled up on a trailer beside us.



“Wow.  That’s an interesting boat.” I observed out loud.

“That’s a Drascom Coaster.  It one of my customers,” the man said.

I looked at him suspiciously for a moment.  “Your customers?  What do you do for work?” I asked

He stuck out his hand and smiled.  “I’m John Stuart.  I own Arborvitae Woodworking over in South Yarmouth.”

I looked at John, looked at the Drascom, looked at my tired little skiff, and then back at John.  “You mean to tell me that you let me sit here and boast about my little plywood skiff while you are a professional boat builder?!” I sheepishly asked.

We had a great laugh about it and I could see immediately that John and I could easily burn an hour or two gamming about boats, but we eventually parted ways with a handshake and a smile.

Well, I was finally able to make it out to his shop and John and I were able to have our 2 hour gam.  The podcast is only an hour, but John and I had so much fun recording it, that we rolled on for another hour after the recorder was turned off.  John is one of the most pleasant, free spirited folks I have ever met and I conversation glided along like we were old buddies.

On the other side of John’s wonderful demeanor, is an intelligent, well-educated, and extremely talented boat builder. In the shop was a wooden Wianno Senior that John was refitting for a second time.  John has built a reputation of being one of the premiere boat builders on Cape Cod and his customers have a great deal of loyalty to him.

In addition to repairing boats, John offers a handful of fiberglass boats of his own including the newest addition to the fleet, the Correa skiff.  It is a lightweight, perfectly sized (16’) skiff for cruising around inland waters.  Careful attention was paid to the boat when taking the lines off the original wooden design right down to weighing all of the components to be sure the fiberglass model’s weight is as close to the wooden original as possible.  It is a flat-bottomed skiff with plenty of rocker so you can load it up with the whole family and still maintain excellent maneuverability.

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John’s boats are simple and beautiful and can be seen at his shop on Huntington Ave in South Yarmouth.  Visit his website http://www.arborvitaeboatworks.com/ for more details.

Thank you for reading!


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arrow-downListen to the interview below.

Podcast Reviews on iTunes:

"Love listening. Brings me back to years ago listening to similar incredible stories my grandfather would tell me before he passed away. So happy to see someone has the same passion and can share it with us. Brilliant work!! Fabulous story telling and interviews. Keep up the great work."

"This is a great podcast about small boats and their history and construction. I love it! The interviewer has great ease with the people he is interviewing. You feel like you are sitting with them listening to the conversation. This a great way to keep a great part of New England heritage alive. I have wanted to build a small boat and Jed (host)give tons of advice and tells great stories. Highly recommended!"

"Jed Lavoie has put together one of the best sailing podcasts to come along in awhile. He has found real sailors and enthusiastic boatbuilders to entertain and educate his listeners. The passion shown by his interviewees is matched by his own. His website and blog augment the podcast by putting us in touch with Jed's own boatbuilding experiences. I will be standing by to hear more great material in the future."

"It is a pleasure to welcome this kindred spirit who has a passion for sailing and an authentic voice." -from a full review of Heritage Boatworks on the Seaward Adventures website.