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Boat Building Course


Pygmy Kayak Building Classes


New Mexico | Oregon | Washington | Class Details | Videos


We have partnered with boat shops across the country to offer these kayak building classes for people who want to learn how to build a beautiful Pygmy craft from experienced builders. Our courses are set in a fun group setting and provide a great, hands-on opportunity to learn how to assemble a wooden kayak from trained professional boat builders. The classes we have currently scheduled are listed below, alphabetically by state. Please note that tuition varies depending on the shop. In addition to the tuition, students will need to purchase the kayak kit they will be constructing during the class and pay shipping for locations other than Port Townsend.  For questions regarding which model is appropriate for you, please contact Pygmy Boats: 360-385-6143.


Kayak Classes: Over the six day course students will complete major assembly of their kayaks. At the conclusion of the class your kayak will be ready to be car-topped home, where the final construction steps and varnish application will be completed (see class details for more information, including a photographic blog of day to day steps).


NEW! New Mexico

You can build a Pygmy kayak in a class with experienced instructors in the historic Spanish town of Mesilla, New Mexico. Kayak building classes are held in the instructor's personal shop which offers natural light and stunning views of the Organ Mountains. To register contact Pygmy Boats at (360) 385-6143, 10am-5pm (Pacific Time) Monday-Saturday. Class size is a maximum of 2 boats.. Class Length is 7 days; students leave on the 8th day. Tuition: $800 for primary student, No student helper fee. Meet the Instructors/ Learn More About These Classes For those who do not have time to enroll in a class, arrangements may also be made for Dan and Teresa to custom build a kayak for you.

Class dates are currently being arranged on an individual basis. Contact Pygmy to Learn More.

Where to Stay: Mesilla is a quaint town with a traditional plaza, lots of shops, and a great selection of restaurants, all within a short walk from the shop. Mesilla adjoins to Las Cruces and is only a short 10 minute drive to downtown. There are over 40 motels to choose from, plus a plethora of Bed & Breakfasts and Airbnbs, in addition to RV Parks. A reasonable number of these accommodations are right next to Mesilla. Tourism is a vital part of the local economy with lots of interesting things to do and see, but you would need to extend your stay here, as you won’t have much time to be a tourist during the week of classes. However, if you bring a spouse or a friend, he or she will not have any trouble keeping busy seeing the sights and shopping.



Oregon: 2020 Dates

The Columbia River Maritime Museum is located on the water in the historical, waterfront town of Astoria, OR. Class size is 4 builders. To Register, call the Columbia River Maritime Center: (503) 325-2323. Tuition: $800 for primary student, $200 for student helpers
Meet the Instructor

August 24th-30th: Any Solo Kayak Model, Space Available
November 2nd-8th: Any Solo Kayak Model, Space Available


Where to Stay: Poised at the mouth of the Columbia River, Astoria is rich in maritime history. For more information on the town, including visitor maps, restaurants and places to stay, visit:



Washington Classes:


Port Townsend, WA

These courses take place at the Northwest Maritime Center, located on the water in Port Townsend, Washington just across the marina from Pygmy's showroom. To register call us at (360) 385-6143, 10am-5pm (Pacific Time) Monday-Saturday. Class size is 6 builders. Tuition: $800 for primary student, $200 for student helpers.



Where to Stay: Port Townsend, WA is a beautiful, historic seaport town. There are several hotel and bed & breakfast options to choose from for accommodations. For a listing of hotels and dining please visit:




NEW! Edmonds, WA

These courses take place at the Facility Makerspace, located in Edmonds, Washington (just north of Seattle). To register (and learn more about the Facility Makerspace) click here. Class size is 4-6 builders. Tuition: $800 for primary student, $200 for student helpers


March 23rd-29th: This class has been cancelled due to Covid-19. Read our Covid-19 updates here.


Where to Stay: The Facility Makerspace is a public outreach of Edmonds Community College located just up the hill from the picturesque beachside town of Edmonds, WA. If you are looking for a place to stay locally there are plenty of options. Check the website of the local travel guru at ( ) for options ranging from about $80 on up. Wherever you stay make sure to make some time to walk the historic Main Street down to the waterfront and enjoy a cornucopia of shops and cafés with stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound along the way.



Canoe and Kayak Magazine covered one of our classes in both their print edition and online, complete with some fantastic videos and interviews:

  • WoodenBoat Workshop Day 1 WoodenBoat Workshop Day 1
  • WoodenBoat Workshop Day 2 WoodenBoat Workshop Day 2
  • WoodenBoat Workshop Day 3 WoodenBoat Workshop Day 3
  • WoodenBoat Workshop Day 4 WoodenBoat Workshop Day 4
  • WoodenBoat Workshop Day 5 WoodenBoat Workshop Day 5
  • WoodenBoat Workshop Day 6 WoodenBoat Workshop Day 6
  • WoodenBoat Workshop Day 7 WoodenBoat Workshop Day 7



Class Details


Daily Schedule
Classes are given over a six-seven day period, with each day beginning at 9 am and running until about 5 pm. The first couple of days can sometimes take longer and can run until 6:30-7:00 pm. The seventh day is reserved for pick-up of the kayak in the morning so it is really only a half day. Students will enjoy expert instruction and the use of an equipped shop space. Click here to see a photo blog of each day of the kayak building classes.


Tuition cost varies depending on the boat shop and is noted in the schedule above. For all classes a $200 deposit is required up front to reserve a place in the class and is non-refundable and non-transferable to other class dates and locations. In addition to the tuition students need to purchase the kit they will be constructing during the class.  For kit pricing click here: Price list.  If the class is taking place outside of Port Townsend, WA, students will also be responsible for the shipping costs. Please note, each student's kit will be prepped in advance for each class. The prep work required precludes students from bringing their own previously purchased kit with them to a class.  


Having trouble deciding which kayak to build? Call us: (360) 385-6143. We train our staff to listen to your boating needs and help determine which craft will best suit your body size, skill and outdoor adventure desires.


Tools to bring
It is best for students to work with their own tools during class. Tools you should bring with you include the following (to see an image of the tool click on the tool name):

If you have any questions about the required tools please give us a call: (360) 385-6143


Getting Your Boat/SUP Home:
Your kayak/SUP will be ready to car-top back to your home shop at the conclusion of the class.  Be sure your vehicle is capable of securely transporting a kayak, and that you have straps, padding and line available (NRS kayak blocks work well for padding). Pygmy Boats and the boat shop you are building your kayak/SUP in will not be able to store it for you, or provide shop space for you to complete construction. Some boat shops do rent space but such arrangements would need to be made with them in advance.


Completing Your Kayak:
At the conclusion of class you will have completed several of the major construction steps required to assemble your Pygmy kayak, but you will still have some work to do before you can start paddling.  It is suggested that you have an indoor or covered work space available to complete the final steps of construction. You will likely have gained all the skill and confidence you will need to complete construction of your boat without further assistance. However, if you do have questions while working at home our expert construction advisers are available to assist you by phone or e-mail. Please do not hesitate to call us with questions. (360) 385-6143. We encourage it.


Payment Schedule:
At the time of registration, a deposit of $200 will be charged (unless otherwise noted). This deposit is non-refundable and non-transferrable. Approximately 8 weeks prior to the class start date, the remainder of the tuition and boat kit fees, plus shipping if applicable will be charged. For classes outside of Port Townsend, kits will need to be shipped well in advance so they can be prepped for the class.


If You Need to Cancel:
Please notify us right away if you need to cancel. If you cancel, your class tuition will be refunded minus the $200 deposit. We will also refund the price of your kit purchase at any time before we have started gluing your panels together (usually about two to four weeks prior to the class, depending on the location of the class). After we have started gluing your kit together we will not refund your kit price. You are, of course, welcome to come and pick up your kit and the full-length panels. If we have shipped your kit to another location for a class you may either pick up the kit there or, if they have not yet started gluing the kit together, you can pay the return shipping fee plus a $75 re-box fee.


If We Need to Cancel:
Pygmy Boats Inc. reserves the right to cancel a class in the event of emergency or low registration. If we cancel a course you will be refunded all of your tuition and boat kit money including the deposit.


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