Hello. My name is Walter Baron. I run the one-man boat shop you see on these web pages. I build boats using wood as the main structural material, one at a time, in my shop in Wellfleet, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. 

Using techniques ranging from Traditional Lapstrake to Plywood on Frame to modern Plywood/Epoxy/Fabric composite construction, I can build a boat suited to your particular needs.

Most of my boats are based on traditional designs that have stood the test of time and sea. They are not the fastest or glossiest boats on the waterfront. They are comfortable and efficient, gaining character and patina with use, age, and care.In this age of rising fuel costs I would like to emphasize the advantages of wood boats. Most wood boats, especially those built with modern composite wood-epoxy-fiberglass construction, are much lighter than GRP (Glass-Reinforced Plastic) boats. This means that a boat of a given size can be powered with a smaller motor to produce the same performance. There are many designs, both traditional and modern, that fall into this category.

Another advantage of wood boats is that the main structural material, wood, is a renewable resource. Trees still grow, unlike oil, which is a finite resource . The use of nonrenewable materials, such as epoxy adhesives and coatings add to the longevity of a boat and reduce maintenance. Added benefits include the beauty of wood, and the increased comfort due to wood's ability to absorb vibration.I will be researching advanced methods of wood construction as they become available.

Recent boats built include a custom Nauset Marsh Skiff set up for fly fishing, a Swampscott Dory for the son of the owner of the first Swampscott that I built in 1978, Norrpa, a Savo 650D   Finnish racing row boat designed by Ruud Van Veelen, a Cotuit Skiff, and a 19' Drake expedition rowing boat, designed by Clint Chase. Since this original post I have built a Sinne 610 and a Savo 575, both designed by Ruud Van Veelan, an 18' work skiff designed by me 30 years ago or so,, and a 20' LYS, and am working on another Nauset Marsh Skiff , as of October 2017. After the 2017 NMS, I built another Nauset Marsh Skiff, #4. Next is a 16’ LYS research vessels for Woods Hole.

 Row, sail, or power, custom design or stock plan, contact me to discuss and build a boat suited to your particular needs. I can also build a kit boat for your if you don’t have the time or space to build something from Chesapeake Light Craft, Clint Chase, Hewes & Co, Puuvenepiste (Savo Boats),a skiff from PT Watercraft, or others.

Lots of new info is posted on Old Wharf's Facebook page, so click on the little f's you may see on these pages.

10/17/19- Richie Rowing Compass back in stock- New Hats coming very soon- maybe today!


I have added a short slide show to the Portfolio Page of the LYS I built last winter for a researcher at WoodsHole. It shows some construction photos, and some of the boat in the water. They did a nice job of finishing the boat out.


Price reduced on the 20’ Brockway Skiff - $600/best offer. I want it out of my yard!!


The 7th Annual Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous was held on 9/21/19, and it was a great success! It was a beautiful day, with about 80-100 people, and 21 boats. Here’s a link to a photo album on my facebook page.

People and boats at WRR #7…

People and boats at WRR #7…


End of Summer Boat Sale-10% off all boats on the Boats for Sale Page ! Check it out!!


Price reduced- Adirondack Guide Boat now $4,000.00!


New in the Shop Store-The Spyderco Salt 2 . This knife is one of the best folding knives for use on small boats in salt water. The blade is made from H1 non rusting steel, and is available in plain or serrated edge . More info on the Boat Store page.

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They Did It !!

Team Backwards AF finished the R2AK yesterday afternoon, the only human powered vessel left in the race. Hearty Congratulations to Leigh and Dameon for this amazing feat. Here is the link to the latest post. Lots of posts on the Facebook page

6/21/19 - I have been posting updates on the R2AK on the facebook page. Their latest position, as of 21 June, 05:46 Alaska time, has them about 112 miles from Ketchikan, about 80% of the race completed. I think they are doing great! Check out this post of them rowing

Here’s a link to their latest post

And here’s a link to the build album

And a couple of photos of Mursu leaving the shop….

6/5/19- The rowers in Mursu have completed the first leg in the required time, and are in Victoria , BC, getting ready for the next big leg! Here is a link to the latest post. Stage 2 of the Race starts June 6, at 12 noon.


Update on the Race To Alaska. The Savo 650 that I built for the race has been named Mursu, which is Finnish for walrus. The owners have finished the boat, including decking the compartments fore and aft, fitting hatches, adding the sliding seat rig, making oars, paint, etc, etc. They have planned, bought and packed their food and gear. The boat is well on its way to Port Townsend, the start of the race. They have been updating their web site, here is a link to the most recent post.

Here’s to wishing them the best of luck in the race! Follow on the tracker on the Race web site . The Race starts in less than 3 days, June 3 at 5 AM!


Here are a couple of photos of the Spring Rendezvous held this past week-end. The weather was great, we had about 10-12 boats, and a lot of good people rowing them.

Well, the Savo 650D/R2AK is done, my part anyway, and is in Maine being finished up for the race. Final photos are up on the Facebook page. Here is a link to their web page, Rowing to Wild. A couple of photos are below. Next project is assembling a Northeaster Dory kit from Chesapeake Light Craft, for a lady from Provincetown. The Northeaster is a great rowing boat, tried one out at last year’s Wooden Boat Show.


Some new stuff on the “OnRowing” page


Just received this comment from an LYS builder- Dale, from Indiana:

Walter, Thank you for such I wonderfull set of skiff plans. I grew up fishing Jersey lobster and have commercially fished both east and west coasts. Along with 8 years in Alaska. Having retired from commercial fishing 11 years ago and moving to the Midwest, I still always wanted to build a skiff from scratch . Well that’s done and I thank you . I get many compliments on what nice lines this simple skiff has!!! It was a wonderfull and fulfilling project! I’ve fished a lot of boats and there is just something classy about a boat with lines. So many boats built today just don’t have any. Your skiff is simple but when properly built you can sit back and truly enjoy “ the lines” 

Thanks, Dale!


Next project is another Savo 650D, for the same people who own the first one. This boat will be a little different, the plan is to use it for long distance expedition style rowing. So it will be reinforced in several ways - exert frames, abrasion protection, decks bow and stern for storage and flotation, etc. They have already rowed the Maine Island Trail in the original Norrpa, here is a link to a story about the row. The title is “A Feast of Adventure”, by Leigh Dorsey. Also, she did an online presentation called “Rowing to Wild”, both very interesting. So they have some experience rowing distances, this should be an interesting boat.

The original Savo 650D, Norrpa, ready to row…

The original Savo 650D, Norrpa, ready to row…

1/29/19- Progress on the 16’ LYS-The boat is finished, and has been loaded onto the owner’s trailer and taken to her new home.


Next Project - a 16’ LYS , to be used as a research vessel at Woods Hole…

I have started a build album on Facebook

Those 11 sheets of 1/2” Meranti Marine ply on the left will become a boat…

Those 11 sheets of 1/2” Meranti Marine ply on the left will become a boat…

11/21/18- Check out the ash coffee table I have for sale on the Boats For Sale page ! Scroll down to the bottom.


Check out the photo album of the recently completed Nauset Marsh Skiff. This is the 4th NMS that I have built, looks pretty good. Options on this boat include a casting deck with storage under, console with gas tank storage under the seat, floorboards/cable chase, and hinged aft seat. Power is a 30 HP Evinrude E-tec motor.

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Thanks to all who made the Rendezvous a great success ! We had beautiful weather, about 15 boats including a 6 oared gig, 2 traditional Banks dories, a CLC Northeaster dory rowed in from Orleans (and back later in the afternoon!), and many more interesting boats. Here’s a link to a short video on YouTube, and here‘s a link to some photos on facebook.

10/11/18 - Just posted another video from the Rendezvous, aboard the Cornish Pilot Gig. It’s in several places including here on the On Rowing page, the Old Wharf facebook page, and youtube!


Another new item in the Boatshop Store!

I have added a 3 Fathom utility/dock line to the inventory. It is made of 3/8" Hempex synthetic 3-strand line, and is 18' long, with a 12" hand worked eye splice on one end, and a needle and palm whipping on the other. A nice addition to any small boat's gear.

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Just got in a new batch of Oarsman Marine Tallow  Kits, for your oar leathers, and anything else that squeaks while you  row...



New Item added to the Boatshop Store!

I have added the Mora Clipper Companion F, one of the best inexpensive knives for small boat use. Read more about it, and order one here.

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The next project is another Nauset Marsh Skiff. I will not be documenting the build, since I just did that on the Old Wharf Facebook page . This one will be very similar, same hull , side decks, console, but with a casting platform forward and one aft of the console. The aft one will fold up for access underneath. I will try to post some stuff from the archives, including Lumber yard Skiffs built from plans. Meanwhile, don't forget the Adirondack Guide Boat I have for sale . There will be a spring price reduction- check  it out!

A great looking, and great rowing boat...

A great looking, and great rowing boat...

10/2/17 - Next Project-

...Is building another Nauset Marsh Skiff like the one in the slideshow above. This one will stay on the Cape, the owner is from Chatham. I will be posting photos of the build on the Facebook page, and some here also. Here's a recent photo...

10/25/17- I started the build album on Facebook...

3/27/18- The boat is finished, and out the shop door. I brought it to a local marina for motor installation and rigging. The owner has seen the boat and is very pleased.

Headed out the door...

Headed out the door...

Old Wharf Dory Co. is the Official US Builder of Puuvenepiste rowing boats, including the race-winning Savo 650 and 575.

The Savo 575 ready to row...

The Savo 575 ready to row...


Don't forget that I have a great Pat Brown Adirondack Guide Boat for sale on the Boats for Sale page...

A beautiful boat...

A beautiful boat...

This year, 2017, is the 40th Anniversary of Old Wharf Dory Co. 

I started building boats in 1977, in my yard in South Wellfleet. I still have the second boat I ever built, an 8' Pram designed by John Gardner, from the pages of the old National Fisherman. I just refinished it, a photo is below. I have built over 165 boats, ranging from 6'6" to 35'. During that time I was also a carpenter, commercial fisherman, and timber framer. Be on the lookout for some special goodies to celebrate 40 years of boat building including T-shirts, hats, etc. Thanks to all my customers over the years, you all have excellent taste in boats!

Here's the refinished pram- exterior paint Kirby Green-Gray, interior Swedish pine tar -linseed oil.


My Next Build - 

               is an 18' Work skiff I designed around 1984 or so. It is wide and low sided, so it sits nicely on the flats at low tide, and is easy to get in and out of. The low sides also make it easy to load and unload gear, bags of shellfish, etc. This boat will replace a 30 year old boat I built in 1986. Here's a link to the photo album.

LOA - 18'0", Beam to inside planking, 7'1", Beam inside at chines, 6'0", Depth amidships, 1'8".

1/16/17 - The 18' Work Skiff is finished. Here's a link to the Facebook album, and a photo of the finished boat-

18' Work Skiff, on the rollers and ready to go out the door.





Next project is building a Savo 575 race boat. Photos soon.


The Savo 575 is finished, photo album here.

Savo 575 on the beach at the 2016 Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous.

Savo 575 on the beach at the 2016 Wellfleet Rowing Rendezvous.

The Sinne 610 is finished and on the trailer. I will cover her up until the owner comes to pick her up. But first, as soon as we get some good weather- SEA TRIALS! 

5/27/16 - Sea trials have been done, and are posted on the On Rowing page.

Now, on to the next project- repair of a 17' Gardner/Herreshoff  style rowing boat that got damaged in a recent storm. 

17' Herreshoff/Gardner showing some damage...

More photos in the Facebook album...

The 17' Herreshoff/Gardner row boat repaired, repainted, and ready to go...