Peter McKenna

New England Traditional Nautical Arts Expert

Carve a Sign for Your House 

or a Personalised Traditional

Maine Quarterboard  (Your choice)

    Plus:  An Intro to Gold Leafing

          All skill levels welcome!

            June 29- July 2, 2020       $750




Visit any coastal village and you will see numerous hand carved sign boards identifying a business, a home’s owner, or a street address. These handsomely carved and gilded “nameboards” were originally made to identify sailing vessels and have specific names according to where they are placed on a ship. Trail boards, as the name indicates, trail aft from the figurehead on either side of the bow. Quarter boards are alongside the ship’s quarters. A stern board goes across the stern, sometimes being cut by the ship’s rudder post. Years after the American Revolution, most sailing ships only had trail boards. With the expansion of the merchant trade along the east coast of the United States in the early nineteenth century, congress passed a law in 1812, that the vessels name should be displayed on both the bow of the ship and the stern. This requirement resulted in the making of beautiful boards, examples of which have been an inspiration to generations of woodcarvers. 

​This class is designed for those wishing to carve a nameboard for their home or boat. You will learn how to carve incised letters and numbers. We will also show you ways to finish off the ends of your nameboard. Once you have the hang of it, you will be able to layout and carve a nameboard of your choice and design. 

Click for Tool List









Biographical information:

Peter grew up in Setauket, New York, on the north shore of Long Island. The days he spent boating on the bays and harbors of Long Island Sound led to his fascination with the seafaring arts. After earning a B.S. in Industrial Arts Education, and a M.A. in Liberal Studies, Peter has spent the last thirty years teaching woodworking to students of all ages in both public and private schools. Peter also volunteers his time to organize and run woodworking activities for the Boy Scouts and he helps teach family boatbuilding workshops at the Connecticut River Museum in Essex, Connecticut. When he is not teaching or in his workshop, Peter enjoys doing carpentry and construction projects on his property in Deep River, Connecticut. Projects have included: restoring the Buckingham House, building the country barn workshop, framing and finishing a post and beam carriage shed/garage and, most recently, completing a colonial reproduction gambrel roof Cape Cod-style home. Peter lives with his wife, Pamela, two Chesapeake Bay Retrievers and a rescue cat.

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