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Caulking a Davis boat!

Andrew McGilvra caulks a Davis boat.

Davis Boats were developed as inshore fishing boats for use in Southeast Alaska by John Davis, a Tsimshian Indian, in the late 1800’s. He observed the boats used by American and Canadian vessels transiting through the area, and believed he could build better boats more suited to his area. He made his stake working in Seattle as carpenter helping to rebuild the city after a disastrous fire, ran a successful boatshop in Ketchikan, then set up shop on Metlakatla Island and began turning out boats.

His first boats were flat-bottomed skiffs with transoms. Later, he began building double enders, graceful boats that could carry a heavy load of fish or other cargo under sail or oars, the type seen here. Finally, he developed and began building a more rugged, carvel-built transom boat designed to carry the heavy outboard motors of the day.

The Center For Wooden Boats has an excellent information page packed with data and pictures about Davis Boats here:…

The School has built Davis double enders as well as the transom version. Here’s an article about their construction: (part 1) (part 2)

And more articles, here:

And another picture of a double-ender, here, at The Center for Wooden Boats (

Alumni Jason Bledsoe (Traditional Small Craft 2007) discovered the original boat, from which this one is being built, in the weeds in Port Ludlow WA. After several years of trying, he persuaded the owner to let him have the boat so that he could document it for the publically-accessible Historic American Engineering Record (HAER), maintained in the Library of Congress by the National Park Service. He took the lines of the little boat, and donated them to the School so that we could build this boat.

The Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding is located in Port Hadlock WA and is a private, accredited non-profit vocational school.

Our mission is to teach and preserve the fine art of wooden boatbuilding and traditional maritime crafts.

We build both commissioned and speculative boats for sale while teaching students boatbuilding the skills they need to work in the marine trades.

If you are interested in us building a boat for you, please feel free to give us a call.

You can find us on the web at .

You can reach us via e-mail at [email protected] or by calling us at 360-385-4948.