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Wooden Boat Centre Tasmania works wonders with WEST SYSTEM

Located on the banks of the picturesque Huon River at Franklin, Tasmania, The Wooden Boat Centre is Australia’s only wooden boat building school, creating original masterpieces and restoring heritage vessels while mentoring students from all walks of life.

For the past 30 years, the Wooden Boat Centre has been dedicated to keeping the tradition of hand-made boats alive. Their one-year Shipwright course and a variety of shorter courses give students hands-on experience in both traditional and modern boat building techniques. Locals and visitors are always welcome to visit for a guided tour to explore the age-old craft of wooden boat building.

“The appeal of the wooden boat is universal,” explains Cody Horgan, Head Shipwright and Manager of the Wooden Boat Centre. “They are functional, beautiful and represent the pinnacle of artistic expression in wood. It’s an enduring art form. To build a timber boat is an amazing experience and keeping these skills alive is very satisfying.”

Cody was a student in 1999/2000 and gained a Diploma in Wooden Boatbuilding. He has since worked in various boat yards around Sydney and Bobbin Head on many various projects. For the past eight years prior to joining the boat school, Cody worked at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, carrying out maintenance of the tall ship Endeavour (replica), as well as maintaining the fleet of small vessels that span Australia’s nautical heritage.

In the lead up to the 2023 Australian Wooden Boat Festival, students at The Wooden Boat Centre are working on several unique projects, including the restoration of an historic Tamar Cod Boat from Launceston with the aim of modernising and refreshing her for her next incarnation as a family day boat.

As Cody Horgan, Head Shipwright and Manager of the Wooden Boat Centre explains: “It’s a fishing boat conversion to a Couta-style day boat for her owners to enjoy for day trips.

“It’s made of Huon Pine with a plywood deck with fibreglass on top. The next step is a false-laid deck of Celery Top Pine that looks like a real deck, held down by modern composites.”

The Wooden Boat Centre has relied on WEST SYSTEM for many years.

“On this particular project we used WEST SYSTEM 105 Base and 206 Slow Hardener, plus 413 Adhesive Filler,” says Cody. “The deck will be left uncoated so it will turn silver over time.”

WEST SYSTEM products include a complete line of epoxy materials and supplies developed to meet a wide range of building and maintenance needs. WEST SYSTEM epoxy is easy to use and versatile, and both amateurs and professionals can tailor the epoxy system to meet the specific needs of the project.

WEST SYSTEM is unequaled as a moisture barrier and it’s ability to protect wood structures from water has made modern wooden boats nearly immune to dry rot.

“We use WEST SYSTEM for its consistent quality,” he continues. “It delivers the same results every time, which is important, particularly when you’re instructing students. I’m a stickler for quality and I want products that perform in different conditions and temperatures. ATL also offers technical support and advice which we have found vital.”

The Cod to Couta Boat, called “Iola” is on track to be finished in the next month or so, Cody reports and will head to her owners on the South Coast of NSW.

Cody Horgan – Head Shipwright & Manager of the Wooden Boat Centre

The team at The Wooden Boat Centre is aiming to display a Derwent Class racing boat, a Haven 12 ½ sailing boat and skin-on-frame ultra-light kayaks made at the Centre at the 2023 Australian Wooden Boat Festival, 10 to 13 February in Hobart.