Welcome to Heritage Boatworks. If you have an interest in boats and boat building, you have come to the right place. My goal is to travel throughout New England interviewing boat builders and chronicling their stories of how they arrived in the art of building boats.
I was lying in bed with my wife one night about 4 years ago. I had just started building my first boat; a 10 foot wooden skiff designed by Phil Bolger. I spoke at length, explaining the finer details of the building process and where I was a little confused by it. I had acquired the plans from Harold “Dynamite” Payson and had looked them over so many times that I had them just about memorized. I was enthralled by the thought of building my own boat for MSC Croisières and I was in need of a dinghy for my mooring since my over-patched, inflatable Zodiac had sprung its last leak.
As I was speaking, my wife slowly started to roll over. I watched her in anticipation as if in slow motion. I figured she was going to roll over to tell me how impressed she was with my multiple talents and maybe ask me if she could help. Maybe she was going to tell me how excited she was for me and that I should go buy some more great tools for my shop. Hell, maybe she was rolling over to tell me that all this boat talk turned her on! Maybe….just maybe! She completed her slow-motion rollover and her pretty hair flopped onto her face. She let out a soft groan and nuzzled her head deeper into the pillow. She was sound asleep and from the looks of it, had been in that state for quite some time.
It was that night that I realized that I was on my own with this boat obsession. I probably should have realized it when a couple years prior she had threatened to leave me if I, “spend one more minute on that old piece of junk boat.” She was referring to my first sailboat, Lyric, a 1972 Kells 22. She was right. Lyric was entirely a piece of junk, but I sure did enjoy getting my hands dirty repairing everything I could. I enjoyed the work more than I enjoyed sailing her, mostly because I felt like she was going to fall apart at any moment. No amount of money and time that I could give to her was going to bring her back from her piece-of-junkiness, but damned if I wouldn’t give it a shot.
The next boat I got was a 1980 Sturdee Catboat. I named her Felix. She was half the size of Lyric and cost 4-times more. She was a beautiful little boat that was an absolute joy to sail and required a much smaller time investment each year. In addition, I was now part of a small group of particular boat owners, the catboat sailor. I joined The Catboat Association and started attending the meetings and contributing to the online forums and the quarterly newsletter. This was an entirely new aspect of boating for me; the boating community. I loved talking to people about boats and the people I spoke to loved talking about their boats with me. It was as if I was at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, but we were all celebrating our alcoholism.
As time went on, I started attending more and more boat shows and meetings. I soon came to realize that I was there 50% to see the boats and 50% just to rub elbows with like-minded folks. These days, I go to every show and meeting I can and whenever I bump into someone that has anything remotely nautical to say, I hop right on the conversation.
heritage boatworksEnter The Hooked on Wooden Boats Podcast. I stumbled across Dan Mattson and his site one day while doing my usual scouring of the Internet for boat building information. I downloaded all of his episodes and listened more and more. I was “hooked.” Soon I discovered that this man out in Port Townsend, Washington had solved one of my biggest dilemmas! How to have an excuse to talk to boat folks ALL THE TIME! Dan interviews boat people all over Washington. The interviews are so informal and unstructured, that you feel as though you are simply listening in on a conversation at a coffee shop. I couldn’t get enough of it. I downloaded episodes and listened to them every day to and from work. They say that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Consider me flattering. Dan’s podcast is brilliant and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this field.
With Dan’s inspiration, I built Heritage Boatworks and am running with a podcast of my own. It is not going to be focused on or limited to the people of wooden boats. The focus is going to be on the people building small boats in New England. Anyone from the backyard builder to the well-established production shop. If they have a story, I want to hear it and share it. New England is full of history and character in the maritime world and I am going on a hunt to find it. Welcome to Heritage Boatworks!
I grew up land-locked (by New England standards) in Massachusetts about an hour northwest of Boston. The ocean was about an hour away, but we spent summers on a lake in New Hampshire. My family always had boats. As far back as I can remember, we started with an old 14’ round-bow Starcraft with a terribly loud, 40hp Evinrude that never seemed to run well. It was all we needed to be out on the water all the time. My father taught me to water ski when I was about 7 and he took me and the neighborhood kids out every chance he got.
As the years passed, so did the boats. We had a handful of v-bottom rowing skiffs including one with an old Elgin 2hp outboard that we had to wrap a rope around the flywheel to start. To most folks, it was an old, loud, week piece of junk. To me, it was freedom. I used to take it out and putt-putt back and forth until the gas ran out and then row back to the house. I just wanted to be on, in, or around the water at all times.
When I was about 10 years old, my father came home from a yard sale with a 10’ fiberglass rowboat that someone had modified to take a sail, rudder, nd centerboard. The joy of being on the water escalated to entirely new level that some would refer to as obsession. I had endless sailing adventures and adopted the boat as my own.
After high school I seldom got back to the lake house. Eventually my parents sold the house and I went off to college and some world travel. When I returned, I met a girl at my high school reunion (now my beautiful wife) and we started to frequent her family’s house on Cape Cod. Soon, my boat obsession snapped back into focus. I went back to school at the University of Massachusetts in Boston and discovered a fleet of the school’s sailing dinghies. Every day I was at school I had to fight the urge to skip a class and go sailing. Every hour that I did not have class, I was sailing.
Since then I have had 3 sail boats and three children. Hopefully, we are at a stopping point with both of them. First, because I cannot handle any more kids. Secondly because I now own a boat that I have always dreamed of owning; a 1973 Marshall Sanderling. Her name is Marsaili which is Gaelic for Margaret (my wife and daughter’s traditional family name).
We still spend all of our summer weekends on the Cape. I sail out of West Yarmouth, MA. I don’t get out as much as I’d like to as is the case with just about every sailor I know. When I do get out, it is usually with the family and I do what I can to give them the adventures and stories that they will share with their kids. I am anxiously looking forward to that age of 9-13 years where they are old enough to know how to relax and not be bored, but young enough to still enjoy some time sailing with their Dad.
I thought it would be helpful to create a resources page that contains links to everything from building a boat, listening to music, or starting your own podcast and website. I have learned a great deal creating Heritage Boatworks and I will update this page as I learn more. I stand by everything on this page 100%. If I have not tried it myself, I do not recommend it. Some of the links are affiliate links and I make a small commission at no additional charge to you. Or if you’re feeling generous, you can simply use the donate button to the right to make a secure donation to Heritage Boatworks. Thank you in advance for your support!!
I created a boat building resource guide a couple months ago with all of the resources I use in selecting and building a boat. You can download it below. It’s free, but I’d appreciate it if you subscribed to my newsletter if you find it useful.
Various music toys I use to listen to my tunes while I sail or work on my boats
Portable Music Players and Speakers
Here are some nautical and otherwise books that I’ve read (or listened to) and loved.
Starting this website almost 2 years ago has been a fun and rewarding experience for me although it has been extremely time consuming. The largest chunk of time has been researching online and listening to other podcasts that offer advice on doing this. Without the help of the folks mentioned below, I would have never started Heritage Boatworks.
An outstanding podcast that gave me my first inspiration to start this journey. Thanks to Dan Mattson and Hooked On Wooden Boats for the inspiration.
PAM LogoDan made mention of taking a class “Podcasting A to Z” by Cliff Ravenscraft. I could not afford the class, but I felt with my tech background, I could manage on my own. The information Cliff shares for free is outstanding. Cliff Ravenscraft is truly The Podcast Answer Man.
Pat Flynn is what the Internet should be all about. Pat’s whole philosophy is sincerely based on helping people. My eventual goal is to make some money to help offset the costs of running this site and for that, Pat Flynn is the authority. My thanks to Pat Flynn and Smart Passive Income.
Now that my friends above have educated you a bit, here’s a couple things on the Internet you need
bluehost-logo.gif-300x243I am all about simplicity when it comes to getting involved in a project like this. You can setup a Bluehost account, install WordPress, and be publishing your first blog for the world to read in about 15 minutes. The interface is excellent and simple to use and their support is outstanding. Bluehost is the way to go for hosting.
If you want to get into podcasting (which I highly recommend), you will need to make a small investment in some gear. You don’t want to use you internal microphone or some phone app. Quality is pretty important and external microphones are short money. Here is what I use and you can give my podcast a listen if you want to hear a sample.
Podcast Host: First you will need a place to store your podcasts. You do not want to store them on your own site host. They simply take up too much space. Libsyn is really the leader for podcast hosting and I find them excellent in all areas.
Desktop Microphone: I did the research and landed on the Blue Microphones Snowball USB. Aside from the fact that it is very cool looking, it also works very well. Plug it in and go!
Portable Recorder: If you are going to do any interviews or if you just need a device to record a show while you’re on vacation, you will want a portable voice recorder. My research brought me to the Zoom H1 Digital Recorder. It is small, fair priced, and very easy to use.
Software: I am a PC guy, so this software will apply to PC. For recording and editing audio, look into Audacity. It is free and very functional.
Camera: Having a good camera to create the images for your website is essential. The camera I am going to recommend is a bit overkill for just the web, but if you ever want to get into video, the quality is amazing. I have the Nikon D7000 with a Nikon 18-200mm lens. Again, this is a pretty pricey rig and you can have a great website with something less. It is an outstanding setup if you are in the market.
Here are some samples:
Phone: I am not sure this fits here, but I wanted to throw in my other critical piece of hardware that I use every day, my phone. I have the Samsung Galaxy S5. It does EVERYTHING I need it to from giving me GPS directions to my next interview to managing my Libsyn statistics. It is big and bright and waterproof. What more could I ask for? The Samsung Galaxy S5 is the best phone on the market right now.
USB Power: I don’t know how I lived without this device for so long. I like to use my phone to track my course and to play music. Given the limited reception on the water, a cell phone can rip through a battery in no time at all. So I bought an EasyAcc External Battery Pack for the phone and I never have to worry about that again. The battery pack I recommend has a whopping 10,000MaH. That will charge a Samsung Galaxy S4 almost 3 times. The charge time is super fast as well. This particular device is about the same size and weight as my phone and had 4 small LED’s to show the remaining battery power. Highly recommended!
Posted on June 11, 2015 by Jed • 2 Comments
I greatly enjoy fishing, but more importantly, I have a boyish desire to explore places I’ve never been. Recently, I have been doing a lot of fly fishing. When I fish with a spinning rod, there is some level of frustration when I don’t catch any fish. When I fly fish, just the act of fishing is satisfying. Catching a fish on a fly rod is just a bonus.
Today, I went to a new pond in Concord, MA. I won’t state the name of it so as not to draw too much attention to it, but it is my new favorite spot for a number of reasons including one not so much related to fishing. Things just seemed to keep getting better as the day wore on.
The pond is set back in the woods which makes it a bit more beautiful. Even the drive there is pretty.
The launch ramp only has parking room for 6 cars. This keeps the number of anglers out on the small pond to a minimum. It worked in my favor today, but I am sure I would think otherwise if there was no spot left for me.
The pond is spring fed and the water is crystal clear. I could see the bass swimming around below the surface.
There are only houses on about half of the pond. It drives me crazy when every square inch of a pond is covered by houses. I feel guilty searching right in front of people’s houses.
Breasts. Sorry, but it was the politest way to say it, but it nonetheless factors into my voting
I backed my truck down as close as I could and dragged the kayak the rest of the way. Two old men strolled up from the beach and noticed the Heritage Boatworks sign on my truck. We proceeded to talk about Heritage Boatworks and a number of old wooden boats they used to own. It was one of those conversations that could have gone on for hours, but there were fish to catch!
Out on the water, I could see the bottom clearly at about 7-8′ deep. My very first cast with the fly rod landed a 3lb large mouth bass with a Deceiver that Lefty Kreh taught me to tie myself.
As I looked over the fish, I couldn’t help but notice how healthy it looked. The colors shined and its body seemed perfect with not a single blemish or scar. Just beautiful.
The wind kicked up a bit and I decided to ride it over to the northwest corner where there were some trees hanging over the water. I paddled softly over letting the wind do most of the work and watching the sunfish play just beneath the surface as their brown bodies contrasted with the crystal blue water. I dropped anchor about 30′ off shore and wielded the fly rod one again. Behind me I could hear voices. I glanced over my shoulder to find 2 young girls on the beach, chatting and giggling. Voices carry on the water and I could hear their every word. Judging by the conversation, I would guess college-aged girls. They were mostly stories of parties, drunk people, and school work with the frequent dramatic phrases “oh…my…god” and “no….way.”
I thought nothing of it and started throwing my line out. A number of casts later and I heard splashing and giggling. The girls were taking a swim. It looked quite refreshing and I considered a jump overboard myself, although it would be a challenge to keep the boat upright and not lose all my gear. Laughing to myself about how ridiculous I would look swimming around my upturned kayak trying to collect all of my fishing gear, I glanced back over at the girls. They were exiting the water and I noticed the bathing suits they were wearing. One had a white string bikini bottom and the other a next-to-nothing thong that really wasn’t doing much in the way of coverage. Yes, that is where the swimsuit description ends, because that was all they were wearing.
Right here on this quaint little pond in Concord, MA. Concord, one of the wealthiest towns in the nation! Right here in my new favorite fishing hole, about twenty feet from my boat, stood two attractive, nearly-naked, college girls! That voluntary yet disastrous swimming idea I had prior just about became involuntary. The girls turned around simultaneously as if they knew I was looking. We all stared at each other for that awkward second as I waived and smiled. I didn’t know what else to do. I don’t have alot of topless beach etiquette experience. They made no gesture of embarrassment or to hide themselves. Clearly they were breast wielding veterans. I quickly turned my head away like an embarrassed adolescent and searched frantically for something to pretend that I was doing in front of me.
Their conversation picked up again as they lounged out in the sun to dry off. I dared not turn my head again both for fear of embarrasment (mine mostly) and because my general, 42-year-old moral compass told me not to. Damn compass.
Did I mention that this is my new favorite fishing spot?
Filed Under: Fishing Tales
Podcast 021 – Heritage Boatworks Update
Posted on May 21, 2015 by Jed • 0 Comments
“I’m so sorry Jed. I’d love to speak with you, but I simply don’t have a minute to spare. This &%#@ winter put us way behind!” “Oh yeah. Heritage Boatworks. I’ve heard of you and have been hoping you’d call. Unfortunately, no. I can’t talk with you. Too busy. %$#@ winter.” “Sorry Jed. Give me…… Continue Reading
Filed Under: Building the CLC Wood Duck 10, Podcasts Episodes
My New Healthy Woodshop Addition
Posted on May 7, 2015 by Jed • 0 Comments
I am in the finishing steps of the Chesapeake Light Craft Wood Duck 10. Finishing does not mean that I am actually finished with the boat, it simply means that I have started sanding and painting (See our blog “Finishing a Boat“). On the deck of the kayak I am using Interlux Schooner Varnish. I…… Continue Reading
Filed Under: Boat Building General, Building the Bolger Bobcat, Building the CLC Wood Duck 10
Finishing a Boat – Paint/Varnish (Part 2 of 2)
Posted on April 20, 2015 by Jed • 1 Comment
Continued from “Finishing a Boat – Prep” Now you are ready. The best thing to do with any paint or varnish is to follow the manufacturers instructions regarding stirring, straining, thinning, temperatures, etc. Otherwise, the application method I use is essentially approved for most single part products. I have always used Interlux Schooner Varnish because…… Continue Reading
Filed Under: Boat Building General, Building the CLC Wood Duck 10
Finishing a Boat – Prep (Part 1 of 2)
Posted on April 18, 2015 by Jed • 1 Comment
I had a conversation with a friend yesterday. It went something like this; Friend: How is the kayak coming? Me: Great. I am just finishing it. Friend: Oh yeah? When do you think it will be done? Me: I dunno. Maybe a month. Friend: I thought you said that you were just finishing it? For…… Continue Reading
Filed Under: Boat Building General, Building the CLC Wood Duck 10, Tool and Supplies Reviews
Podcast 020 – Bob Fuller of South Shore Boatworks
Posted on April 2, 2015 by Jed • 0 Comments
Third Generation boat builder. We throw the term “third generation” around like it doesn’t mean too much, but let’s think about that for a minute. My father passed away over 2 decades ago and I never knew my grandfather on his side, but let’s just say that I did. I’m going to pretend that I own…… Continue Reading
Filed Under: Podcasts Episodes
Tool Review – Stanley Plane 12-247
Posted on March 21, 2015 by Jed • 4 Comments
This is a tool review for a tool that costs very little money and has probably been used more than anything else in the shop. I purchased my Stanley 12-247 at an Ace Hardware in town for I believe $30, but the price ($14) on Amazon is considerably less than what I paid. This…… Continue Reading
Filed Under: Tool and Supplies Reviews
Tool Review – Powertec Belt/Disc Sander
Posted on March 19, 2015 by Jed • 2 Comments
I have always wanted a bench-top sander. Too many time I have used a variety of scrap blocks and clamps to clamp my belt sander to my work bench to use as a bench-top sander. I wanted to make some cleats for the catboat I was building and trying to hand sand all of that…… Continue Reading
Filed Under: Tool and Supplies Reviews
Tool Review – Hitachi Pin Nailer
Posted on March 17, 2015 by Jed • 0 Comments
How many times have you searched for just the right clamp to hold something in place and then had to get that clamp into just the right angle to stay put while the glue sets only to find in the morning that the clamp slipped and the piece fell off leaving behind a mess of…… Continue Reading
Filed Under: Tool and Supplies Reviews
Tool Review – DeWalt Cordless Drill
Posted on March 15, 2015 by Jed • 0 Comments
The cordless drill is my most used power tool. Every time I go into a hardware store I always look at them. I had an older DeWalt XRP NiCad model. I purchased it with the whole kit back in 2006 and it has served me well and been pretty durable over the years. The problems…… Continue Reading
Filed Under: Tool and Supplies Reviews
Home » Boat Pictures
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These are build photos from the 10 ft Phil Bolger Pointy Skiff. I ordered the plans from http://instantboats.com. I needed a dinghy to get out to my mooring and I had the whole winter to come up with one. I decided I’d build one. This is the boat that kicked off my obsession for boat building. She is named “Fingers In” by my kids because that is what I bark at them every time we approach the dock. The boat is on its 4th season and has been refinished just once. It sits outside all summer and gets dragged over rocked and muscle shells whenever I need her. She is built with exterior grade plywood and West Systems epoxy. The paint is Glidden Porch paint and has held up incredibly. If you have any questions about the build, go to my contacts page and shoot me a note.
The Stand-up Paddleboard
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I purchased the plans from http://clcboats.com for the Kaholo 16. I built this board 2 years ago and have used it for 2 seasons. It was built with all of the best materials including Okoume plywood, MAS epoxy, and Interlux varnish. It is a blast and very fast. If you have questions on the build, go to my contacts page and shoot me a note!
Lyric - 1974 22’ Kells Sloop
I bought this boat for $650. I put about $3000 and countless man-hours into her and sold her for $900. If I had to do it all over again…I would in a heartbeat. This is the boat that started it all. She was essentially a worthless piece of junk that was falling apart and didn;t sail well even when she was brand new, but Lyric gave me an education in owning, fixing, maintaining, an sailing a boat. I worked on her every minute I could and learned more than any $3000 class could ever teach. Hopefully with all of the work that I did, she is still alive and making someone out there happy.
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Cape Cod Shipbuilding
My photos from the tour of the grounds at the historic Cape Cod Shipbuilding Company.
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Arey’s Pond Boatyard
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Woodenboat Show 2014
Photographs from the Woodenboat Show in Mystic, CT in 2014
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Pease Boat Works and Marine Railway
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Marsaili - 1973 Marshall Sanderling
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rudder before 5.JPG
Fatty Knees Boat Company
These are some photos of the Fatty Knees dinghy built by Fatty Knees Boat Company
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Ballentine’s Boat Shop
These are photos from my interview with Amy Ballentine-Stevens at Ballentine’s Boat Shop. I took some of the photos, but the others were given to me by the shop.
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