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Learn how to frame a boat

Three smiling men and leaning on boat

MAST ran a successful Framing Workshop at Lees Boat Builders, Sandspit Harbour. Facilitator – Mike Birdsall, MAST Academy Training Adviser.

One of the best ways to enhance your learning while you are completing a MAST Academy boat building apprenticeship - is to build your own boat. Vinnie Terzieff, Gavin Tucker and Simon van der Zeyden from Lees Boat Builders in Sandspit are doing just that.

Throughout September, the three young boatbuilders were busy completing a four metre ‘Whitehall’ type multi-purpose dinghy, gaining valuable experience while building the framework, laminating, joining timber and planking the boat. The project was completed in phases under the guidance of Mike Birdsall, Greg Lees and his team and supported by other industry specialists including Roger Rhodes who completed the lofting.

wooden boat shell flipped over on top of frame

The project kicked off with the building of a laser-leveled raised stock, then temporary frames were cut out in two halves to allow easy removal once completed. These were then joined and accurately fastened in place. The stem was laminated on the loft floor and the full-length kelson and gunwhales machined to size. The transom was edge joined using custom-built ‘biscuits’.

The permanent components of the framework were then glued in place. The kelson/stem was a 12:1 scarf, the gunwhales notched into the stem and transom and the aft end of the kelson butt joined to the transom with a doubler.

Epoxy was used for all gluing and fastenings were kept to a minimum. The framework was built, faired and readied for planking within a week. Planking is currently underway and the guys are now looking forward to using the boat on the beautiful Sandspit Harbour and Kawau Bay.

The project has proved interesting for many local boaties that visit Greg Lees yard regularly and one boatbuilder with seventy years’ experience was even heard to mutter “It’s looking good”. For these three MAST apprentices, they know that’s about the highest praise you can get!!

MAST Academy can deliver in-house workshops as required by your apprentices on request.


Talk to your MAST Academy training adviser about the possibility of an in-house workshop for your apprentices. Note: There may be an extra cost depending on the programme and not all topics can be delivered in-house.


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