Shenandoah Project Updates

Keep up-to-date with the Shenandoah Restoration Project

This page will be for updates on the Shenandoah Restoration Project. Please check back regularly as updates will be made weekly.

To read about the history of the Shenandoah, CLICK HERE

If you want to volunteer on the project, please contact Nate Slater at

Do you have Facebook? "Like" the Shenandoah Restoration Project's page at

November 7, 2011
This weekend we worked on Milling -- click here for pictures from this weekend!
Also, if you are unfamiliar with Shipwright Nate Slater, here is a great article by the Gateway

October 17, 2011:
"We had a good weekend! Thanks to all who volunteered. Highlights include an informational tour of the vessel, some training on the corking dummy, and construction of the planking bench. Special kudos goes to Dave Harrington for bringing cookies! Looking forward to the next weekend." - Nate Slater

November 2011 - April 11, 2012:
Shipwright Nate Slater and his volunteer crew have been busy setting up the Boatshop in preparation for beginning work on the hull itself. It took awhile, but the crew has begun to build the framework for the ramp that will lead up to the deck to provide safe access onboard. New supports for the stern have been positioned, alleviating stress on the hull. Scaffolding is in place along the outside of the stern and a safety railing was fabricated and installed around the deck. Nate continues to teach the volunteer crew how to use hand tools -- the same kind that built the Shenandoah back in 1926.

August 27, 2012:
Experience Gig Harbor's rich maritime history in hands-on classes taught by shipwright Nate Slater. Be part of The Shenandoah Restoration in a planking class, build a stand-up paddle board to take home, or create your own half-model of the Shenandoah. Dates and costs to be announced. Check back for updates!

September 25, 2012
Master shipwright Nate Slater and his crew will begin restoration of the horseshoe (stern) of the Shenandoah this Saturday, September 29th from 10am-1pm. Restoration began last October and focused on providing access points and safety features, and removal and assessment of rotted and damaged timbers. Now we begin structural restoration. If you are interested in volunteering with Nate, contact Ted Smith at

Fall Workshop! Nate will be teaching a planking class on December 1st and 2nd from 2-5pm. This workshop will focus on wooden boat restoration. Students will remove a derelict plank from the Shenandoah and learn traditional repair techniques, including making a pattern, grading and cutting plank materials, installation, and corking and paying of seams. $30 for HHM members, $40 for non-members. Space is limited. For more information, or to sign up, contact

October 1, 2012

Restoration of the the horseshoe began last Saturday with timber planing and preparation. Nate and his team will be working on the boat again this Saturday, October 6th, from 10am-1pm. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact:

October 22, 2012

Work on the horseshoe is coming along great! The team placed the timber the weekend of October 13th and worked on planing it last weekend. If you are interested in volunteering with Nate, please contact 

To watch the restoration crew in action last Saturday, Click Here

October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! Last weekend the team began removing the decking to assess the extent of the rot. The damage is more severe than we had anticipated, but Nate and his volunteers will be hard at work every Saturday to restore the boat to her original glory. Come by the museum on Saturdays from 10am-1pm to interact with the restoration crew, or volunteer with Nate by contacting Ted Smith at No ship building or woodworking experience is necessary to be part of this unique community project. If you are unable to visit for Saturday restoration work, the Shenandoah is on display for museum visitors in the Jim and Carolyn Milgard Maritime Gallery during museum open hours.

Also, we have locked in the dates for workshops! Any of these would make a great gift for that hard-to-shop-for loved one for the holidays.

There is still space available in our Fall planking class on December 1st and 2nd from 2-5pm. Cost per student is $30 HHM member, $40 non-member.

½ Model Shenandoah construction: Build your own half-model of the Shenandoah to
display in your home, office, or shop.
Dates: Feb. 23, March 2, 9, & 16
Times: 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm (possibly to 5 pm)
Cost per student: $150 HHM member, $200 non HHM museum member.

Sam Devlin 5x10 Skiff class: Build a skiff that is small and light enough to fit in the back of your truck.
Dates: April 6 & 7, 13 & 14, 20 & 21, 27 & 28
Times: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Cost per student: $400 HHM member, $450 non HHM museum member.

Spring Planking Class: Remove a derelict plank from the Shenandoah and replace it using traditional methods.
Dates: May 18 & May 19
Times: 2:00 – 5:00 pm
Cost per student: $30 HHM member, $40 non HHM museum member.

For more information, or to sign up, contact

Check us out on facebook!

November 21, 2012

The restoration crew has been working hard these past few weeks! So far, they have begun tearing up the decking and have removed three deck beams. On Saturday, Nov. 17, Nate glued up the big timbers for the horseshoe. He traveled to Forks to get marine-grade air-dried structural Douglas Fir. He now has enough material to rebuild the horseshoe, which consists of 5 pieces of chunk or log-built timbers. Restoration of the Captain's stateroom has begun as well. Soon the team will begin working on the deck up to the break beam
/cabin and begin restoring the frames below the deck.
If you are interested in volunteering on the horseshoe crew or the stateroom crew, please Ted Smith at  Our needs vary from woodworking crew to painting and puttying to clean-up. Volunteers of all backgrounds and experiences are welcome!

Click here to view video of volunteers removing deck beam # 3 on November 10th.
Click here to view a video of Nate discussing the construction of the horseshoe (stern).

November 28, 2012

On Saturday, November 24, the restoration team worked on one of the timbers for the horseshoe. They cut and prepared it and removed the one that it will be replacing. Come in this Saturday from 11am-1pm to see the crew in action, or contact Ted Smith at if you would like to volunteer to be part of this unique community project. 

Also, we are very excited about our upcoming workshops in our Maritime Workshop Series! Just in time for the holidays, we have a half-model Shenandoah workshop starting at the end of February and a stitch and glue 5x10 skiff workshop starting in April.

workshops large

December 3, 2012

Restoration update for December 1, 2012: Nate and the restoration crew continued to work on the stern of the boat. They finished installing the second piece of the horseshoe and began prepping the timber for the third piece.  

To view video of the team finishing the second piece of the stern, click here.

To view video of Nate explaining what's happening in the restoration right now, click here.

To view video of the team prepping the next piece of the horseshoe, click here.

We also had our first Maritime Series workshop this past weekend. The fall planking class was a success! Our participants had great things to say about Nate and what they learned and accomplished. Thank you to all who participated!

If you missed the fall planking workshop, we will be offering a spring planking workshop next May.

View this short video of some of our workshop participants removing part of a plank.

December 10, 2012

Restoration update:
Nate and the crew finished prepping the third piece of the horseshoe and placed it on the boat on December 8th. 

Looking for a unique gift idea? Check out our upcoming maritime workshops! 

Half-Model Shenandoah
Create a half-model of our fishing vessel Shenandoah. Shipwright Nate Slater will teach the basics of lines drawings, tool use, and carving techniques while you create a beautiful 30" model in Alaskan cedar. Cost includes materials. 

Feb. 23rd, March 2, 9, & 16th
2-4 pm (possibly 5pm if necessary)
Maximum 6 work stations (1-2 participants per station)
Cost per station: $150 HHM members, $200 non-members 

Stitch and Glue 5x10 Skiff
In this workshop, Nate will guide participants through the construction of their own Sam Devlin 5x10 skiff. Using stitch & glue construction, we are able to create this traditional-looking skiff using modern methods in reduced time. The finished skiff is small and light enough to fit in the back of a pickup truck. Cost includes materials. 

April 6&7, 13&14, 20&21, 27&28
Maximum of 4 work stations (1-2 participants per station)
Cost per station: $400 HHM members, $450 non-members

To sign up for workshops, contact us at

January 2, 2013

Happy New Year! The past two weekends have been busy! The horseshoe is almost done, and we have lots of great videos and photos to share over the next few days. Restoration days have changed to Friday and Saturday from 10am- 1pm. Come by and watch the crew's progress, or volunteer to work on this unique community project! If you are interested or want to learn more about volunteer opportunities on the Shenandoah, email Ted Smith at

January 30, 2013

Shipwright term of the week- Ceiling:

Inside wood covering or skin of a boat That portion of the inside skin of a boat between the deck-beams and the limber strakes on each side of the keelson. It is also sometimes called the foot-waling.

January Restoration Overview:

Restoration update Jan. 2013: Nate and his amazing volunteer crew have been working hard this month! The horseshoe is done, deck beams are going in, and we've been clearing out the ceiling for butt blocks. Stay tuned to see what February brings for the Shenandoah. Or come join us on Friday or Saturday and be part of this unique project. Contact Ted for details at

Bonus shipwright term of the week- Butt Block: A block used to back up the butt joint between two planks, where the joint comes between frames.

April 19 2013

Feb-April Restoration Overview:

Restoration for the major part of these months addressed the rotted deck support framing. Working forward from the horseshoe (stern ), we removed several more beams and began removing the damaged frames. Due to the "s" shape of the hull near the stern, steam bent frames would fail so the original shipbuilders built the frames by sawing two fir timbers into curves and, while staggering the joints, bolted them together. This is called a double sawn frame. The individual pieces are called futtocks. These are complicated pieces, requiring cutting the timber with running bevels. The crew were instructed in the proper milling techniques to create the futtocks according to the original hull design. The volunteers find it quite satisfying when the futtocks fit, due to the complicated process. We continued this process throughout February, March, and April. Crew members also continued restoring the interior of the galley area of the cabin, primarily sanding and painting.

Shipwright Nate Slater is hopeful that work on restoring the steam bent framing will begin by June.

Call For Volunteers!!

We got a few new volunteers on the restoration crew! Doyle and Sawyer, a father and son team, signed on in February, Kent came to us in March, and Aaron joined us in April. We are very excited with the growth of our crew and the enthusiasm all the volunteers bring to the project each weekend. Thank you!

We welcome volunteers of all skill levels and occupational backgrounds! You won't be on shop sweep duty unless you want to on the Shenandoah! Learn how to make patterns, mill timbers, read lines drawings, and more! Stop by on Friday or Saturday from 10am-1pm and visit the shop for a bit, or e-mail us at You don't have to make a time commitment, just hang out with the crew and see if there's anything you'd like to help with.


Restoration Update Spring 2013

Over the past few months, restoration of double-sawn frames has continued. This has been a long and detailed process, and our restoration crew members are now experts on fabricating futtocks! The crew made the pattern for the final set of futtocks today. Next up will be steam-bent frames.

Meanwhile, work has continued in the cabin. Volunteers John and Craig are making new drawer-fronts out of mahogany plywood. The old plywood bunk board on the captain’s bunk was removed and will be replaced with a solid mahogany piece in the future.

If you would like to join our volunteer restoration crew, stop by and talk to Nate and the team on Fridays and Saturdays from 10-1 or e-mail for more information. We would love to have you!



September 29, 2012: Nate and crew working on restoration.

Planing Timber     On Deck    
 On Deck 2

Pattern     Pattern2

October 13th, 2012: Nate and crew placing the horseshoe.


October 20, 2012


Saturday restoration work October 27, 2012

November 3rd 2012- work begins on pulling up the decking.

November 10th, 2012- Crew pulls out deck beams 2 and 3


November 24: The crew preps a timber for the horseshoe. Photos courtesy of Pete Perkins.


December 1, 2012


December 8, 2012


Shop work 12/28/2012