Eric Blake

Boatbuilder, Designer & Instructor

Eric Blake Eric Blake was born into a long line of dairy farmers and wood cutters in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. He started building canoes in his father’s shop when old enough to run a table saw. After graduating from high school he enrolled in the Landing School's small boat design program in Kennebunkport, Maine. Upon completion of this program he headed overseas and completed the City and Guilds Diploma Program in Traditional Boat Construction at Lowestoft. Since then he has worked in boatyards on both the East and West Coasts and is at present a project manager at the Brooklin Boat Yard in Brooklin, Maine where he has supervised the construction of a series of yachts. Eric also teaches boatbuilding courses at the WoodenBoat School each summer.

Cyrus Blake, Our Instructor

Cyrus Blake Photo We like hanging out with Cyrus Blake. He's Eric and Molly's son, so you may see him in our videos. He's into boats, music, deer hunting, and Santa Claus -- not necessarily in that order. It was Cyrus that coined the term "Oh-my-God-ya!" that you'll hear us use to describe something that's way cool. Cyrus plays an important role in helping us understand what our members' kids and grandkids will want in our videos. Check out Cyrus' debut role in Quick Wooden Boat Repair of a Stem and Plank Ends.

Videos

Title
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard, 91-Foot Cutter SONNY: Sure, yachts are beautiful when the crowd gathers for launching day. But we wanted to see what it's like four days befor...
Boat Shop Visit – Bertram Levy: One of life's fine pleasures is simply hanging out in the boatshop talking shop. And so we stopped by to visit retired d...
STITCH, A Ted Geary U.S. Forest Ranger Boat: Take a cruise on a Ted Geary designed powerboat built for the U.S. Forest Service in 1930 and now converted into a live-...
How to Vacuum Bag, Part 1 – Making a Wood & Epoxy Laminate: Eric takes all the mystery out of what otherwise might seem like a daunting operation: Vacuum bagging. Step by step we s...
How to Vacuum Bag, Part 2 – Watching it Happen: Vacuum bagging with over 4000 pounds of pressure, and then opening the bag to see how it went is impressive enough- but...
Shortcuts for Shaping Complex Wooden Boat Pieces – Part 4, Using Hand Tools For Final Shaping: This week Eric Blake demonstrates using hand tools for the final shaping of complex curves and tapers of wooden boat pie...
Building Momentum, Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding: Eric Blake joins Head instructor Sean Koomen for a tour of the Northwest School of Wooden Boatbuilding in Port Hadlock,...
How to Build the Off Center Skiff, Part 20 – Launch Day!: In the final part of our series, Eric Blake and Havilah Hawkins' work comes to a completion as the kids gather to launch...
How to Use Epoxy, Part 5 – Practical Applications: In the final part of this series, Eric Blake walks us through a few practical applications of using epoxy on wooden boat...
How to Build the Off Center Skiff, Part 19 – Oil, Plugs & Paint: This week Eric Blake, Havilah Hawkins and the kids are finishing up the Off Center Skiff with oil, plugs and paint....
How to Build the Off Center Skiff, Part 18 – Seat-Risers & Seats: Eric Blake, Havilah Hawkins and the kids build and install the seat-risers & seats on the Off Center Skiff....
Shortcuts Shaping Complex Wooden Boat Pieces, Part 3 – Routing & Sanding the Curves & Tapers: This week Eric Blake demonstrates routing and sanding shortcuts to the shape complex curves and tapers of wooden boat pi...
How to Build The Off Center Skiff, Part 17 – Inwales & Outwales: This week Eric Blake and the Brooklin Skiff Club kids are hand-riveting the inwales and outwales into place on the Off C...
GLORYBE The Pure Simple Pleasure Boat: When a pleasure boat as sweet as GLORYBE chugs into view, even the most die-hard of sailors start thinking that maybe a...
How to Build The Off Center Skiff, Part 16 – Outer Stem + Sanding and Priming the Hull: The kids put in some elbow grease with sandpaper and paintbrushes....
Gougeon 32 – A Fast Trailerable Catamaran: Jump aboard the Gougeon 32, a fast, trailerable, retro catamaran, as Russell Brown and Alan Gurski give us the inside sc...
How to Build The Off Center Skiff, Part 15 – Finishing the Bottom & Flipping the Boat: The kids are hard at work finishing up the puttying, taking the boat off the molds, screwing down the bottom stringers,...
Shortcuts Shaping Complex Wooden Boat Pieces – Part 2, Cutting the Tapers: We return to the Brooklin Boat Yard with Eric Blake as he walks us through cutting the tapers in shaping complex wooden...
How to Build the Off Center Skiff, Part 14 – Caulking Cotton: As the series continues, Havilah Hawkins demonstrates how to traditionally caulk the skiff with caulking cotton....
Shortcuts for Shaping Complex Wooden Boat Pieces, Part 1 – Making the Blank: We join Eric Blake at the Brooklin Boat Yard where he breaks down how to recreate compound tapered shapes for wooden boa...
How to Build the Off Center Skiff, Part 13 – Planking the Bottom: The Brooklin Skiff Club makes quick work of planking the bottom of their skiff....
How to Build the Off Center Skiff, Part 12 – Planing the Chine Log/Garboard: Our Off Center skiff build continues this week with planing the chine log and garboard....
How to Build the Off Center Skiff, Part 11 – The Frames: Eric, Havilah and the rest of Brooklin Skiff Club are installing the frames as the Off Center Skiff continues to come to...
How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 10 – Planking the Sides: This week, Brian Larkin joins the Brooklin Skiff Club as planking the sides begins on the Beautiful Skiff....
How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 9 – Shaping the Inner Stem: As the skiff series continues, Eric Blake demonstrates how to plane a twisting bevel into the skiff's inner stem....
Fasteners & Fastening, Part 5 – Drilling and Tapping Stainless Steel: We finish our trip into the shop with a look at tricks on drilling and tapping stainless steel....
How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 8 – The Transom: Gluing-up and fairing the cedar boards that comprise the transom, and then mounting it, is the task at hand as the Beaut...
How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 7 – Setting Up The Molds: With measuring sticks and pencils, the kids join Eric Blake and Havilah Hawkins to set-up the molds for the skiff....
How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 6 – Layout and Building Molds: Before the kids arrive, Eric Blake and Havilah Hawkins walk us through the process for laying out and building the molds...
How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 5 – The Strongback: A strong and precisely constructed strongback is a critical element in getting the skiff building project off to a good...
How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 4 – Cutting & Planing Planks: In the fourth video in our series, Eric Blake takes us to the Brooklin Boat Yard to begin work on cutting and planing pl...
How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 3 – The Local Wood Option: In the third video in our series, Eric Blake visits David Gray, an owner of a local sawmill, to have Eastern White Ceda...
How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 2 – Getting Screws and Lumber: In the second video in our skiff series, Eric visits our local hardware store and lumberyard to purchase screws and rev...
How to Build a Beautiful Skiff, Part 1 – An Idea is Born With Eric Blake: In this first video, Eric introduces the skiff building project for local Brooklin kids that he and Havilah Hawkins are...
Fasteners & Fastening, Part 4 – Drilling & Tapping Bronze: Head into the metal shop to learn the order of events of how to drill and tap bronze pieces together....
Fasteners & Fastening, Part 3 – Machine, Pan & Hex Head Screws with Wood: See more fasteners in action with tips on using machine, pan and hex head screws in woodworking projects....
How to Use Epoxy, Part 3 – Sheathing Wood with Fiberglass and Dynel: As Eric Blake demonstrates how to use epoxy for sheathing wood with fiberglass and dynel, we see how many techniques and...
How to Use Epoxy, Part 4 – Prepping & Painting Over Fiberglass and Dynel: After the epoxy cures overnight on the demonstration panels, we see the results Eric has been shooting for as he shows u...
How to Use Epoxy, Part 2 – Getting a Smooth Finish for Paint or Varnish: Eric Blake continues his walkthrough on how to use epoxy to get a smooth finish for paint or varnish at the Brooklin Bo...
How to Use Epoxy, Part 1 – Coating Plywood for Paint or Varnish: For your next project, let Eric Blake walk you through using an epoxy buildup coat before painting or varnishing bare...
Fasteners & Fastening, Part 2 – Countersinking Screws & Setting Bungs in Wood: Fasteners in action: Proper techniques for putting stuff together using a variety of fasteners....
Fasteners & Fastening, Part 1 – Naming of the Screw: Get up to date on today's fasteners and their specific uses....
Celebrate Everything: Remembering Peter Chase: Boatbuilder Peter Chase was an friend to all of us at Off Center Harbor. He represented the best of what we admire (or a...
Best Boat Building Tools, Part 3 – Industrial Handheld: In this video on boat building tools, master builder Eric Blake takes us inside the Brooklin Boat Yard again to look at...
Laminating Wooden Boat Frames on the 68′ Sloop ISOBEL: Strong, light weight epoxy laminations are surely the wave of the future for many boat building projects. Even though yo...
Quick Wooden Boat Repair of a Stem and Plank Ends: So you've got a soft, rotting stem and plank ends? No problem! Eric Blake shows us that sometimes a load of common sense...
Best Boat Building Tools, Part 2 – Stationary Tools: Inside the Brooklin Boat Yard, master builder Eric Blake goes through what he considers the “standard” boat building...
Best Boat Building Tools, Part 1 – Small Handheld Power Tools: Inside the Brooklin Boat Yard, master builder Eric Blake talks boat building tools and what he considers to be the woode...

 

Guide Posts

Title
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard – Winter 2016: It has been a while since my last walkabout, so I thought it was time to get everyone back through the doors of the Broo...
My Houseboat Dream, by Eric Blake: Here's the "Why?" behind my own houseboat design...
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard — Foam Core Hull on the Frers 74′ Sloop: With the Blake family's addition (named Asa) to the OCH "Junior Guide" list, and after a generous paternity leave from m...
Good reads, recommendations by Eric Blake: OffCenterHarbor.com asked our guides to share their favorite books that should be in every boater’s library… From My...
Re-skinning a Boothbay Harbor One-Design Sloop with Veneers and Epoxy, by Eric Blake:   Racing these keelboats hit the Boothbay region of Maine in the early 1930’s. Many wonderful boats, all of them...
My Favorite OCH Videos (and Why), by Co-Founder Eric Blake: NOTE: As we count down to the release of OCH's 100th video, the Off Center Crew is passing along our own sentimental fav...
Walk About Brooklin Boat Yard, Part 12 – 4/23/13: Here is your first look at the new audio blog format we are trying out here at Off Center Harbor. Check out the progress...
Walkabout Brooklin Boat Yard, Part 10 – 3/24/13: The end of scallop season brings our good friend and local fisherman Cecil Holdens boat out of the water to get rerigged...
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard, Part 9 – 2/28/13: I smile every morning when I walk through the door. I have never, in the ten years I’ve worked here, seen the shop as...
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard, Part 8 – 2/13/13: How many clamps does it take to build a 70-foot cold-molded hull? All of them. There must be close to 300 clamps of vari...
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard, Part 7 — 2/1/13: The month of January was a bit of a blur for me. Lola, the newest addition in my life, has had enough of laying on the f...
Walkabout Costa Rica and Bangor, Maine: Christmas this year was a little different at my house. For the first time ever my family and I got away from it all. We...
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard, Part 6 – 12/1/12: For those of you just tuning in to Eric Blake’s weekly walkabouts, the boats he describes being built new in Brooklin...
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard, Part 5 – 11/11/12: What a beautiful fall we have had in Center Harbor! These chilly fall mornings bring with them sea smoke. The harbor is...
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard, Part 4 – 10/22/12:   One of the most frequently asked questions at the yard goes something like this: " How do you boys get those boats so...
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard, Part 3 – 10/14/12: Here is a great reason why I am having so much fun with this walkabout post. Midweek I says to myself,  "Hey self, why...
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard, Part 2 – 10/5/12: I can't help but feel that I threw you all off a cliff last week, freefalling into construction details of an unknown cr...
Walkabout at Brooklin Boat Yard, Part 1 – 9/27/12: Fall is in the air in Center Harbor and the fleet is slowly making its way into winter storage at Brooklin Boat Yard. It...
Learning From Experience; My Biggest Disaster and What It Taught Me: Bill Porter changed my life. It was through a series of letters that  I got to know him and take over the beloved ketch...
Walkabout in Port Townsend, Washington: I had the good fortune this spring to travel to another incredible mecca for wooden boats, Port Townsend, Washington. I...
The Sterns of Brooklin Boat Yard: , It was this very stern that did it to me. About 16 years ago as I walked down the dock of Falmouth Harbor in Antigua,...
Installing a Teak Boat Deck on the 47′ Sloop Lark:   With the deck frame and plywood subdeck nearly laid on the 47' sloop Lark, it's time to start marking out the pieces...
The First of Three Sailing Yawlboats Takes Shape: There were a few things responsible for getting this project underway. Two of my closest friends needed a small boat to...
How to Install A Teak Boat Deck: Laying It Out and Laying It Down: Here we are at the stern of a 26' center-console  jetdrive launch that's under construction at Brooklin Boat Yard. The...
My Winter Boatbuilding Projects: It's the beginning of March and spring is on its way! The view from the design office at the Brooklin Boat Yard is inspi...
Building Wooden Boat Steering Wheels at Brooklin Boatyard: The steering wheels that come from most boats at the Brooklin Boat Yard are some of the coolest I’ve seen up close. My...
Restoring an Old Iceboat: I freely admit, I am drawn to old stuff. To me it is the way that it brings people together in modern times, to tell sto...

 

Flotsam

Title
Be Inspired, by Steve Van Dam: This short little ad says a lot about one of the finest custom boat builders — Steve Van Dam. For more inspiration, se...
Four Season Off-Grid Tent: I have a crush on this four season off-grid tent, as a houseboat idea.  I have a new crush every day. None of them are...
Modern Tiny House on Wheels: Check out how cozy and cool a tiny home can be. This 227 square foot house was built by Yestermorrow design students in...
Canoe Tricks Anyone Can Do on the First Go: This video reminded me a little of Maynard in our Rowing and Sculling videos. After watching it, perhaps Maynard will wa...
Dock Like a Boss: Dock Like a Boss: A Guide Love this......
Restoring the Herreshoff 12.5 REMORA: Louis Sauzedde of Tips from a Shipwright is at it again, restoring another classic Herreshoff 12.5 (here are some videos...
A Legacy of Boating: I sure like the message of this video from Discover Boating......
A Shipyard Comes Alive at Mystic Seaport, with Walt Ansel: Here's Off Center Guide Walt Ansel talking about his life at Mystic Seaport....
CHRONOS & The Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta 2014: Since y'all seemed to enjoy the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta video I put up recently, here's a longer one from the same...
Antigua Classic Yacht Race 2014: 2.5 minutes of big, beautiful, classic yacht slo mo action for ya:...
The Comanche Story with Ken Read: Take a look at the 100ft carbon sloop Comanche built for Jim and Kristy Clark. From the first layers of carbon being lay...
Expedition to the End of the World: If the trailer's any indication, this could make for quite an entertaining viewing. Anyone seen the full film? It's $5 t...
Simple Living by the Sea in Northern Norway: This short film will put a smile on your face. Traditional boat building and simple living at its best in Northern Norw...
Why We Sail – A Volvo Ocean Race Film: "Along with being the foremost offshore sailing competition, the Volvo Ocean Race reminds us about the vastness of our O...
Sail, Row, Paddle Race to Alaska – 1st Prize $10k, 2nd Steak Knives: Feeling crazy and over-confident? Got nothing going on next summer? Why not race from Port Townsend, Washington to Ketch...
The Foot Powered (Treadle) Lathe: How's this for off center craftsmanship? Here's Chris' "about" info on his YouTube Channel: I have a passion for traditi...
Allspice by Coire Williams: Very cool slideshow by our friend Coire Williams as he constructs a traditional dinghy from a half model a carved under...