My review of The Landing School

Discussion in 'Education' started by eathena, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member



    I never know what to make of boatbuilding schools. Arts and crafts school or job training ?
    If you're interested in using the boatbuilding school education as a way to gain employment you would be wise to inquire about the schools job placement record .
    Also, Its very unusual for a shipyard to hire a young boatbuilder. The shipyard Im associated with has 270 employees and ONE BOATBUILDER. Shipyards do hire apprentice welders, fitters, painters, electricians, carpenters......... Its these skills that must be acquired if you are to be employable in the marine industry
     
  2. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    No association with The Landing School but I understand their graduates have a high success rate of getting jobs in the boatbuilding and related industries, not shipbuilding. The marine industry is broad, and a shipyard is a different place than a shop building sailboats and powerboats.

    The Landing School started offering programs in composite construction and marine systems (propulsion, electrical, plumbing, etc) a few years ago. IYRS recently started offering similar courses. These courses are clearly aimed at providing an entry into the pleasure and small commercial part of the marine industry. I doubt either gets many "arts and crafts" type folks.

    Wood boat building is somewhat different. All the schools I'm aware of tend to have many olders students who are career-changers or amateurs, probably more than young students under 25 years old.
     
  3. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

    I had a quick scan at the The Landing School web site


    "The Landing School, Creating Leaders in the Marine Industry."


    I like it..." MARINE INDUSTRY " not the " BOATBUILDING SCHOOL " fluff. It would be interesting to learn exacty what the "Systems" curriculum includes.

    In yachtbuilding, systems workmen are commonly called fitters. These fitters plus the best practise skills and knowledge they posses creates the reputation of a shipyard. A very good career.
     
  4. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Here in Port Townsend we have many grads of the local BB school working around the yards. We see a steady parade of fish boats, tugs and big older yachts being overhauled here.
    When they start a real BB or repair job, they are beginners who happen to know how to plank, slowly. They know how to caulk, slowly.
    They vaguely know how a repair job is organized and what materials are needed. They are generally clueless to economic pressures and how that affects the decisions on the job and the speed of production.
    After a few years, if they keep at it, they are productive (that's all the boss cares about) yard workers who have a very firm grounding in the trades and know the quality of work required for various jobs.
    Some of our best shipwrights here never went to school, but learned on the job as apprentices trying to get the job done for the budget instead of the ideal and perfect way something can be repaired or built.
    The boat school grads are generally well-trained in the basics and the best of them are hard workers who want to get dirty and make a buck for the company so they can all survive together and do it again tomorrow.
     
  5. DerCribben
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    DerCribben Junior Member

    There are three boatbuilding courses, wood, composites, and wood composites none of which would really be applicable to a shipyard per se as much as a mfg of smaller pleasure craft or maybe up to commercial fishing boats. The wood and wood composites classes focus on carpentry as it applies to wooden boats and the class builds 2 or so boats during their year from beginning to end. The systems class grads end up coming out as fair to middlin marine diesel mechanics, electricians, plumbers, and cooling/refrigeration techs (all of the above not one or the other) and from what I hear usually end up walking out of school with most of the applicable certifications rather than just being made ready to go get certified.

    I figure I may as well come in and relay what we are going over every day or so as the school year progresses. Yesterday was orientation, tools check, safety breifings (they run the school like a 110% OSHA compliant working shop) it looks like we will be going over safety procedure daily at least for the next few weeks so I'll omit those from the list of things we do each day.

    Today we spent the first part of the day going over the different types of chisels and their uses and techniques for using them. Then we moved on to how to remove shipping varnish from new planes and chisels and rust and pitting from older used ones. Then we went over how to grind and sharpen them properly to keep the best edges on our tools that will last the longest. After that they sent us out to work some pine, oak and another hard red wood to get the gist of the way the chisel reacts and moves through different grains and hardnesses of wood. These first few weeks look like they are going to be basic wood working tools and techniques familiarity and various boat systems and parts familiarity (and a heaping helping of safety).

    The book list for our year is:
    "How to build a wooden boat" by Bud McIntosh
    "The Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction" by West Marine
    "How Boat Things Work" by Charlie Wing
    "Mastering Woodworking Machines" by Mark Duginske
    "Hand Tools (Their Ways and Working)" by Aldren A. Watson


    Most of which I have reading assignments out of as we speak and apparently will be getting a daily quiz on as school progresses. We are learning the lay of the land now but as we get started doing some real building we will be building boats that already belong to someone and the economics of the build are absolutely going to come into it. They already mentioned that mistakes are expected to happen but theat they will be keeping us all up to date on what each screw, oz of epoxy, and foot of wood or fiberglass costs and how it effects the cost to build vs the selling price of the boat. The bottom line is paramount to prospective employers so they are absolutely planning to educate us on time and cost as it applies to the build and the end product.
     
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  6. DCockey
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    DCockey Senior Member

    DerCribben, thanks for the summary.
     
  7. BPGougeon
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    BPGougeon Junior Member

    The Landing School is widely regarded as the best in the business. I would have no reservations about sending one of my sons there.
     
  8. Doug Lord
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    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    ====================
    That is a great idea-look forward to reading your reports-and thanks!
     
  9. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    I was on the advisory board of the Design Program for seven years before moving down here to Florida. I know the school intimately and am a good friend of the founder, John Burgess. The Landing School is a great school, and your education there will be worth every penny. It will last you your whole life.

    Eric
     
  10. PresBob
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    PresBob New Member

    Please always know I'm available to discuss any concerns about The Landing School with any current or former student. Good feedback helps us make it a better school. I can be reached at 207-985-7976.

    Bob DeColfmacker, President
    The Landing School
     
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  11. DerCribben
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    DerCribben Junior Member

    I suppose it's time to post again, I know I said I'd give a day by day but theres so much going on that I realized that just isn't going to be a reality. Over the past month we learned lofting, and fully lofted and built station molds for the flyfisher 22' just to learn the process. We actually use cnc milled lumber for the boat but they felt that knowing how to traditionally loft a boat and create the station molds is important even though the industry is leaning towards cnc machined parts. we built strongbacks for the hull molds, laminated a stem (stem and keel are student milled not cnc), laminated it to the keel and I am currently one of the two people on our team that is planing the bevels into the keel.

    If you want to see pics here's a link to a photobucket album with all of the pictures I am taking throughout the year. Haven't had time to add a description to them all yet.

    http://photobucket.com/dercribbenlandingschool2012

    As you can see theres a lot more going on than what I mentioned in this post, I've got to head out to school now though so I'll write more later.
     
  12. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    It's nice to see a student with a good attitude. During my long career in a different and unrelated industry that aspect of a colleague made a great difference to both the output and culture of a workplace. Life is - to a great extent - what you make of it.

    I heard this in different words many times but I admit had to learn it the hard way, but many of the senior and junior people I worked with seemed to have it in their DNA. It spread from them to others and everyone around them seemed to benefit, myself included. I look back to my time with them with pleasure, and some astonishment at what they (and I while I was with them) were able to accomplish.

    You’re off to a good start IMHO.
     
  13. PresBob
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    PresBob New Member

    Thanks, ancient kayaker. A good attitude is contagious and we're blessed with students who take their work seriously, make the school a better place, yet keep life in perspective. It's what I've always loved about working with students - I learn a little more each day, no matter how old I get!
     
  14. DerCribben
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    DerCribben Junior Member

    Well thanks Terry, I guess I have always found that it's no use fooling yourself by thinking the world was going to be handed to you on a platter. I think that way the only surprises you tend to get are pleasant ones. :D I also figure anything you get through hard work and attention to detail is also likely to stick around a bit longer than things gotten the other way.

    Well again, it's been a little while since I've posted an update. Go ahead and take a look at that photo album again if you'd like, I just posted new pictures of the progress up to now.

    We got all of the stringers, the chine, chine cleat, sole clamp, etc glued up a week ago. We did the sheer clamps also but those aren't going to go on until we get these ladies underbellies planked. We built scaffolding around the perimeter and have begun planking.

    So I've noted over the past month or so that powerplanes scare the heck out of me. I've gotten fairly used to them and definitely find a lighter makita machine we have in the shop to be a bit more nimble and easy to use than the larger Bosch and Festool rigs we have. I just feel like every time I start to use it I am just a hair away from destroying the work that I'm applying it to. Doesn't really help much that everything I've used them on up till now I've personally made out of strips I milled from 17+ foot Doug Fir beams, glued up and either vacuum bagged or clamped the heck out of and waited a day for cure to chip all the epoxy off of and clean up to get started on. BUT, I did try something the other day for the first time ever that didn't scare me one bit! A drawknife. What a cool tool, I bet I could take off more material, quicker than I ever could with that powerplane and I know every movement I do it in is as precise and controlled as I care to be. (mind you I did actually get used to that Makita jobby and found a way to get almost as clean and precise a cut as I do with my hand planes) I think the thing I love the most about all this is I had never, ever used a hand plane before I came to the Landing School, let alone a drawknife. And to be truthful those tools looked hard to use and like the powerplane (which I also had never used before) made me feel like I would do more damage than anything with them. Now they are becoming extensions of my arm that I truly enjoy using every opportunity that I can get.

    But I digress...

    So yesterday we began planking these two great wooden boats, we're using Alaskan yellow cedar which everyone says stinks but I actually like the smell of it (I tell you some of the Douglas Fir we've worked smelled like cheese, feet, or something I'd more likely find in the stable on the horse farm my wife and I live on). I believe Rick said we will be doing four layers total of the cedar for an end bottom thickness of 15/16th's. We've marked a line along the chine where the first and last layer will meet up, laid battens along them and made them fair and even on each side. Every board needs to be brought to the boat, marked, then sawed to the proper angle to lay correctly along the line we marked, and then a feathered bevel is planed into them so they will meet up perfectly and gradually into the chine. We then take the board back up to the boat, mark the keel center on them, cut them off there and staple them down for initial fitting of the first layer and do it again. once we get them all fitted we will fair it up again. Rick, the king of fairing, is very adamant that the fairing process is much, much better done if it's done properly the entire time. It makes sense that fixing an unfair boat in the end is much much less efficient and more labor intensive than fine tuning the fairness you've brought with you each step of they way. (I figure there are far worse habits to pick up than doing things right the first time too).

    In closing, I wish I could show you guys what they are doing in the small boats/wooden boats class. They are doing these beautiful little acorn skiffs right now that i wish I could have one of. One of the best things I've noted to date is that every time they do something cool in one of the other boatbuilding courses (composites, wood construction) they bring us over and show us what they are doing and explain it. That way we are all sort of getting the benefit of a bit of the other courses knowledge even though we are in the class that we are. Yesterday I enrolled in the marine systems class for 2012-2013.

    The Landing School is one hell of a place...
     

  15. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    It was nice to hear from you, it sounds like everything is progressing well and you are clearly enjoying yourself. Good - and sharp - hand tools are a pleasure to use and a drawknife is something I would like to have!


    I share your suspicions about certain power tools - in my case belt sanders - which always seem to want to attack something and cut slowly and precisely only when you need to remove material in a hurry. I recently bought a bench mounted sander, which is much more precise but seems to have an appetite for finger nails; it’s quite amazing how far it can throw a piece of wood.


    The Acorn skiff is an elegant little glued lapstrake boat. I am hoping to start a canoe sometime using similar construction, it will be my first lapstrake. It is a stretched version of the well-known Wee Lassie by J. Henry Rushton. Currently I am completing the build of a hybrid ply and cedar strip canoe and I have a very small (single ply sheet) canoe that needs to be varnished, then there’s a small sailboat that needs some maintenance work and a new (I think) construction method I plan to experiment with, so the lapstrake boat will have to wait its turn. Soon I will be surrounded by boats . . . this state of things is entirely normal for boatbuilders, amateur or professional, I suspect.
     
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