Bristol Boat Company: A Different Kind of Project


In case you thought master boatbuilder and Proprietor of Bristol Boat Company, Dan Shea, ever got bored with wooden boat building (never… no way, not ever even after 30 years), then you’ll be pleased to see that every once in a while a cool, non buoyant project makes its ways into every great boat shop. Skilled hands and sharp minds like Dan’s are a find and when a family from South Korea came to Dan with drawings for a 40-foot tall Egg shaped chapel.

Built in twelve sections in Dan’s Bristol workshop with familiar tools and materials, O’Shea shipped the pieces to Seoul to be assembled on site.

It’s a fun video to watch because Dan’s excitement about this crazy project is contagious. Here is some more info about this amazing build: And some great photos here.

Handcrafted by old-school shipbuilders and assembled on-site by a local family in Munho-ri, near Seoul, the Egg Chapel is a beautiful example of original architectural work constructed with the support of a local community. The small, non-denominational pilgrimage destination was designed by New York-based architect Andrew MacNair to provide an intimate space for weddings, baptisms and anniversaries in the South Korean town.

The wood parts were handcrafted by boat builders in Rhode Island and New York, and then shipped in 12 vertical sections to Inchon in South Korea. The Chapel is 30 feet high, 14 feet wide at the floor and 22 feet wide at its maximum girth. It is built on top of a concrete crypt — a structural foundation and underground quiet room. Supporting the base ring are 6 round concrete columns, which help anchor the wood chapel to the ground.

Situated high in the mountains of Yangpyeong County, the chapel entrance faces south so that direct afternoon sunlight can illuminate the structure’s center and bathe the altar in daylight. The position of the openings and the sheltering cylindrical shape reinforce the spiritual experience of the space. The intimate atmosphere is enriched by spiritual symbolism within the architectural design itself; the egg as the “seed of life“, a symbol of birth and rebirth which transforms the an apparently lifeless object out of which comes life.

46′ Gar Wood Ensign Bleached Blonde

Why take the time and spend the money bleaching the planking? Compare this clip to the one posted earlier this week for an excellent before and after comparison of the 1946 Gar Wood Ensign. Bleaching makes the coloration infinitely more uniform, while it also raises the grain, thereby delivering the perfect environment for the filler stain that follows bleaching.

Sanding lightly, and I mean lightly, scuff off the “feathers’ left by bleaching by hand and using 200-220 grit paper comes next. Do not get aggressive here as the bleached layer is only 1/32” to 1/16” deep. Sand through it and you will either end up with disfiguring blotches when you stain, or you must bleach anew.

Wood Bleach is available at Jamestown Distributors.

Rather than applying once and allow the surface to dry, and then coming back with a second application that must be neutralized, we keep the planking wet with repeated applications of the equal-part A and B solution over at least 12 hours before allowing the wood to dry.

Our results speak for themselves.

Drying will continue for the rest of today. Yes, the covering boards appear a bit darker than is the rest of the planking at this moment. Why? Because they are original to 1946, and are therefore a bit more porous than is the new planking, they are still quite wet. Once dry, they will match the rest of the planking.

We will stain the planking using Interlux InterStain Wood Filler Stain in brown mahogany tomorrow morning.

Then comes three coats of Penetrating Epoxy, and into the paint booth she will go, where varnishing can begin.

Northwest School of Boatbuilding – Time Lapse

Visit the school for more information: – This is a time-lapse video I created based on photos taken at 60 sec intervals for 4 months while at NWSWB. The large boat is a Cape Cod Catboat and behind it is an Edwin Monk Sunray Lake runabout.

Of course Jamestown Distributors sells everything you need for your boatbuilding project from stem to stern. Come see our newly expanded shop in our Bristol, RI location or visit our online store. Our call center experts are ready to help you with your order.

How to properly caulk tight seams for wooden boatbuilding

Watch Master Shipwright Louis Sauzedde continue repairs on a Herreshoff 12 1/2 and share a few of his techniques for rolling cotton caulking into tight seams. Louis describes the tools used and how to handle caulking seams of different widths. Sauzedde’s years of experience make it look easy, and this video shows how his tried techniques are easy to follow, even for the novice boatbuilder.

Find products used in this video at Jamestown Distributors: Caulking Cotton, Caulking Irons, Mallet, Reefing Hook

Cutting Beads and Coves for Strip Built Boats

How to set up a router table to cut cove and bead strips for boatbuilding.

Steambending Fishing Platforms


This video from Angus Ross shows the steambending process that he used to build custom Wave-like benches. This series of unique sculptural fishing platforms for the city of Canterbury run along the Riverside walk on the river Stour.

Craftsmanship and the wider culture

This is a video EXTRA from the feature length documentary film Wood Sails Dreams. In the process of making a documentary film there is plenty of footage that does not make it to the final cut. Moments like this deserve to be remembered. Terry Nathan, president of the International Yacht Restoration School, in Newport RI, talks about the connection between working with one’s hands and the larger culture.