Established in 1793, Lowell’s Boat Shop is the oldest operating boat shop in America.

“A National Historic Landmark and working museum, Lowell’s is dedicated to preserving and perpetuating the art and craft of wooden boat building.”

Class Spotlight:

Winter Boatbuilding Workshop: the Nordic Pram – Only Two Spaces Left!


Building the Nordic Pram with Matt Billey

WHEN: January 7 – February 6, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-9PM

Lowell’s Boat Shop Members: $715

Nonmembers: $795

Non-Refundable $200 deposit required at time of registration


A minimum of four students is required to run this class; we reserve the right to cancel due to under-enrollment.

The Norse pram is a utility dinghy with a transom bow rather than a pointed bow. This type makes more efficient use of space than does a traditional skiff of the same size. It is simply built, with overlapping softwood planks, U-shaped cross sections, and grown ribs “joggled” to fit type over the planks —  and has lots of fore and aft rocker.

In this class, we’ll have fun learning about boat building with minimal use of plans or drawings. We will form the shape of the boat, as has been done for countless generations in the northland of Scandinavia, with our eyes and hands alone. We’ll hone our skills in the usage of battens, fitting plank-lap bevels, fastening with Norse copper rivets, and fitting grown “crook” ribs. In keeping with the old-world working heritage of the type, our pram will have rustic structural detailing and will be finished with linseed oil and pine tar.

The class will build one boat that will be raffled off for the cost of materials on the last day.

Instructor: Matt Billey has been building traditional wooden boats for the better part of 25 years. He got his feet wet at the Apprenticeshop of Rockland from 1996-98. His experience spans from small dory skiffs up to large wooden ship restoration projects such as the schooner Adventure and many, many other mid-sized boats in between. Having Swedish and Finnish ancestry, he has a strong affinity for traditional Scandinavian watercraft. In addition to boat building, Matt also designs and builds bespoke wooden furniture, art sculptures and one-of-a-kind wooden boat baby cradles. He lives aboard his self-built 27-foot Danish double-ender, Jette, around the Northshore of Massachusetts.


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Lowell’s is proud to offer a variety of classes for all levels of experience – from the beginner to the experienced builder. Our class offerings can be found here.

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