Understanding Wooden Boat and Ship Construction

Event Date:
Start at 10:00 AM
October 15, 2022 - October 16, 2022
Waterways Museum

Do you know your futtock from your frame? What about your adze from your awl? If you are fascinated by the craftsmanship of wooden vessels but baffled by the terminology and number of parts then come to this course and NAS Senior Tutor, and former shipbuilder Ian Cundy, will explain it clearly.

On this two-day course you will learn about the different materials used in constructing wooden vessels, the methods and tools used in construction and what all the different pieces are called. Through a mixture of presentations and practicals, you’ll get an understanding of how wooden vessels go together, so that when you see them in various states of repair on the beach or underwater, you’ll be able to understand what you’re looking at.

We will be using Britain’s oldest wooden warship still afloat, HMS Trincomalee, as a case study for learning about wooden vessel construction and we’ll have a guided tour of this historic vessel on the 202nd anniversary of her launch on Saturday 12 October.


Anyone with an interest in wooden vessels will find this course fascinating. Divers will find it particularly interesting as their new knowledge will help them interpret wooden wrecks that they see when out diving. Non-divers will also gain useful knowledge for understanding the many wooden boats on beaches or wooden ships in museums.


Ian is a NAS Senior Tutor and runs the Malvern Archaeological Diving Unit. He ran a boat building company for 30 years and will be sharing his first-hand knowledge with participants during the course.

NAS members will earn 5 credits per day towards their Certificate or Award.



NAS members £150
Non-NAS members £230 (although as NAS membership starts at £12, you’re better off becoming a member and getting the discount rate immediately!)

Timetable provisional and subject to change

Saturday 15th October 2021

10:00 Meet in front of the museum entrance

10:15 Orientation (Registration/Health & Safety/Introductions/Course Aims & Objectives)

10:45 Understanding Wooden Ships and Boats (Main Timber Features)

11:30 Break

11:45 Understanding Wooden Ships and Boats (Sails & Rigging/Other Fixtures & Fittings)

12:30 Introduction to the Practical Exercise

12:45 Lunch

13:30 Guided tour of the museum

14:30 Discussions and Q&A

15:15 Why should we be interested in Ships & Boats?

15:30 Introduction to the Diversity of Ships & Boats

16:00 Museum closes & the course ends for the day.

Sunday 16th October

10:00 Meet in front of the museum entrance

10:15 Practical Poster Exercise

11:15 Printing & display of posters

11:45 Break

12:00 Presentation of Posters

12:30 Lunch

13:15 The Transitional Period

13:45 Wooden Artefact Identification

14:15 Wooden Ship & Boat Stories

14:30 General Discussions

16:00 End of course.