HOWB 047 – Interview: Sean Koomen, Instructor NW School of Wooden Boat Building

by admin on August 9, 2012



This past week I interviewed Sean Koomen, instructor at the NW School of Wooden Boat Building.  Sean grew up in Minnesota.  At the age of 14 he discovered one of Dynamite Payson’s books at the library, and was soon falling trees for lumber to satisfy his boat building curiosity.  Fast forward to college and Sean was in serious study mode to become a concert cellist.   Spending 5 hours a day practicing was getting to be a little much, so Sean applied for a grant to start his own wooden boat building business.  With grant money in hand, Sean launched Red Barn Boats where he built and sold 4 small wooden boats while in college.

Sean knew his boat building skills needed some honing, so in 2003 he attended the NW School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock, WA and graduated 9 months later.  From there it was on to wooden boat gigs in California (Rutherford’s Boatshop) and Maine (Brooklin Boatyard), a couple other stops, and then back to Port Hadlock where he became an instructor this year.  Sean has worked on some fun projects over the years including a wooden 135’ steam yacht built in 1901, a fan tail wooden yacht, a 22’ Shorebird Sloop, and other cool stuff.

Listen to the full interview with Sean by clicking on the green button above.

Here’s some pics to enjoy (click to enlarge):

Sean Koomen aboard the Hanson designed Forest Service Boat recently finished by the school.


A Prothero skiff nearing completion at the School.


My favorite pocket sailor – SCAMP – in action on Port Townsend Bay.


NW School of Wooden Boatbuilding on the shores of Port Hadlock. Attending the school is on my Bucket List!


Thanks Sean for taking time for the interview.  Best to you with your boats!


UPCOMING FUN EVENTS (tell ’em Wooden Boat Dan sent you!)

August 11 – La Conner Classic Boat and Car Show – La Conner, WA

August 25-26 – 2012 Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show – Toledo, OH

August 25-26 – 20th Annual Tacoma Maritime Fest – Tacoma, WA

Aug 31 – Sept 2 – 39th Annual Harbor Days – Olympia, WA

September 1-4 – Small Craft Skills Academy – Port Townsend, WA (see website for other locations)

September 2-4 – 34th Annual Victoria Classic Boat Festival – Victoria, BC, Canada

September 3-5 – 11th Annual Wooden Boat Rendezvous – Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, WA

September 7-9  – 36th Annual Wooden Boat Festival – Port Townsend, WA

Note:  If you have events you would like added to the calendar, please email me at



I want to build a community of people from all over the world who want to connect, learn, share stories and photos, and have fun with wooden boats.  I would REALLY appreciate you sending me wooden boats pics, stories, or projects you are working on.  You can also write comments on this blog, email me at, or call my feedback hotline at 424 261-2360.

Click HERE to subscribe to my email news list for the latest and greatest fun stuff and click on one of the buttons below to subscribe to my show. Keep the bright side up and the barnacled side down –  Wooden Boat Dan “over and out”! Subscribe to the Hooked On Wooden Boats Podcast here: Zune iTunes RSS Feed

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