Season 2

Season Two of Mastering Skills is hosted once again by former WoodenBoat School Director Rich Hilsinger. You'll be guided by a very capable crew of instructors, including Greg Rössel, Clint Chase, Rollin Thurlow, Shawney Dow, and others. They will take you through twelve episodes, one released each month; the runtime of each episode is approximately 30 to 60 minutes.

(February) Episode 1 Carvel Planking - Part 1 - Lining Off a Hull
There are few things that do as much to accentuate the beauty of a wooden hull as well-lined-off planks. Host Rich Hilsinger and boatbuilding instructor Greg Rossel explain the steps one takes to achieve fair curves from bow to stern.

(March) Episode 2 Carvel Planking - Part 2 - Spiling
There are a few different approaches to determine plank shape and every boatbuilder has their favorite. Host Rich Hilsinger and boatbuilding instructor Greg Rossel have chosen the divider/grid spiling method for its high degree of accuracy. They will explain and demonstrate the use of a spiling batten, a bevel board, how to record the length, width, and curvature of each plank, the transfer of this information on to the planking stock, and the shaping of the actual plank.

(April) Episode 3 - Spring Painting Tips
Host Rich Hilsinger heads off across town to visit with Brooklin boatbuilder Eric Dow and his daughter Shawney to discuss things to consider when it's time to paint your own wooden boat. Working on an 18’ outboard launch of Eric’s design, Shawney will demonstrate the safe, efficient steps to doing a first-class job. A lot will be covered in this episode - the removal of paint, surface preparation, tools of the trade, primer coat application, the roll and tip painting technique, keeping a “wet edge”, and cleaning up. It will become obvious that thorough preparation is the key to getting satisfactory results.

(May) Episode 4 Carvel Planking - Part 3 - Hanging Plank
Back in the WoodenBoat School shops, host Rich Hilsinger is joined by boatbuilding instructor Greg Rossel to demonstrate how to efficiently hang planks. We’ll look at commercial and homemade clamps, steam bending plank ends, and fastening procedures. Viewers will also be presented with an in-depth look at suitable woods for boatbuilding.

(June) Episode 5 Carvel Planking - Part 4 - Common Boat Fastenings
Boatbuilding instructor Greg Rossel takes the viewer into the wide world of boatbuilding fastenings. Selecting and determining the correct use of fastenings is much more important than often realized. There’s a lot to consider - types of fasteners, size of the fasteners, what metal should be used, what role will the fasteners be playing, the option of homemade fasteners, the costs, etc. And the subject of galvanic action, also known as electrolysis, will be examined.

(July) Episode 6 - Making a Stem
Boatbuilding instructor Greg Rossel joins host Rich Hilsinger to explain the stages of constructing a traditional built-up stem for a Whitehall pulling boat. We’ll start with reviewing the lofting board and making accurate patterns for the stem assembly. Boring and fastening will be explained as the actual stem goes together and the subject and purpose of stop waters will be reviewed.

(August) Episode 7 - Making a Bird’s Mouth Hollow Spar
Host Rich Hilsinger ventures to southern Maine to visit boatbuilder/designer Clint Chase at his shop in Saco. Clint will show the viewer how to design, build, and assemble a beautiful bird’s mouth hollow spar.

(September) Episode 8 - Tool’s of the Boatbuilding Trade
Boatbuilding instructors will provide an exploration of the wide assortment of hand tools that are commonly found in a boatbuilder’s toolbox and how the role they play in building wooden boats. Also in this episode, Greg will join host Rich Hilsinger on a trip to Jeff Pearson’s Swan Lake Tool Barn in Searsport, ME where Jeff will introduce the viewer to his amazing collection of shipwright’s tools. He will also explain some of the things to look for when searching for quality used hand tools.

(October) Episode 9 - Traditional Cedar-and-Canvas Canoe Construction
Northwoods Canoe Company in Atkinson, ME is where we’ll find master canoe builder/instructor/historian Rollin Thurlow and assistant Elisa Schine demonstrating the fine art of wood-and-canvas canoes and their construction. Host Rich Hilsinger welcomes viewers to a fascinating glimpse at this time-honored tradition of boatbuilding which has its roots with the First Nations people in Maine.

(November) Episode 10 - Do-It-Yourself Boat Projects
Host Rich Hilsinger and boatbuilding instructor demonstrate a handful of woodworking “bits and pieces" you can have fun tackling on your own at home - designing/constructing grab rails and cleats, a simple approach to making graving pieces, figuring out deck beam curvature, and how to safely melt lead for ballast in a centerboard.

(December) Episode 11 - A Visit to the Penobscot Marine Museum
The Mastering Skills crew is on the road again to Searsport, ME for a wonderful “behind the scenes” look at the museum’s extraordinary small boat collection. Viewers will discover the strong connections that exist between the wooden boats that have been built and used on the Maine coast for generations and the pages of WoodenBoat magazine and the boats built at WoodenBoat School.

(January) Episode 12 - Small Boat Designs
One of the biggest decisions facing a first-time boatbuilder is which design to take on. In this episode, host Rich Hilsinger will be joined by a prominent wooden boat designer to look at a handful of practical designs that would prove to be both practical and rewarding. Finding the balance between utility, efficiency, performance, construction technique, materials, and simply what looks good are all vital in the decision.

 And, to whet your appetite, here's a look at what goes on: