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Techniques of Pram Boat Building: Old World Boatbuilding Traditions

Course Overview

An old Norse saying goes, “A man without his boat is a mere prisoner.” This class is a one-of-a-kind study and hands-on look into the techniques of traditional Norwegian and Swedish boat builders. We'll explore the developments and skills required to build wooden lapstrake boats that have plied the fjords and fishing villages for centuries--stemming as far back as the Viking era and into today across Scandinavia and the Baltic. In a group setting, you will build a 10' to 16' wooden rowing pram. Along the way, you will learn how to "loft by eye," design and build a full-size rowing pram, use lapstrake techniques, bevel watertight planking, and cut compound bevels for framing and riveting, while working on a full sized boat. After this course you’ll be capable of returning to your own backyard and building a pram at minimal cost. Simplicity of boatbuilding, use of readily available lumber (from your own lumberyard!), no-mold construction, minimum number of tools including simple carving knives, and versatility of creating different shapes or customizing the boat to your needs (which may include sailing, iceboating and a variety of rowing positions, depending on how many people wish to use the boat), make this approach to boatbuilding a valuable investment of time and energy.

Students will also learn how to set up their own mold in the garage or in the backyard under a tarp for ease of construction space. Rigging this particular watercraft for sail is also covered in this course. Tools used for this project are easily constructed including wooden clamps (patterns available), backing irons and rove sets. Discussions about how to make a set of oars and spars will also be included.  Students are welcome to extend their stay beyond 5 days to continue working on the project, with an additional tuition cost of $75 per day. Please call for more information about this option.


Fri, Jan 4th, 2019  –  Tue, Jan 8th, 2019

Course Details

Length: 5 Days
Skill Levels: Beginner to Advanced
Hours: 9am-5pm
Registration Cost: $455.00

Required Tools

You will need the following tools for this class:

North House Folk School is outfitted with tools to make your boat building project successful. However, if you have favorite tools, you can bring them. Here is a list of tools used to build the Norwegian pram:

Combination square
Small straight edge
Long straight edge
Thin awls
Low angle block plane
Safety glasses
White eraser
Small machinist square
Small peen hammer
Cordless drill
Flush cut pull saw
Japanese pull saw
Traditional hand saw
Adjustable sliding angle t-bevel
Leather work gloves (the planed wood edge can be very sharp)
Work Apron

More Information

Once registered, students will receive a confirmation email with further class information. Please call us if you haven't received it within 24 hours.