Clark Poston, VP for Industry Development, shows off the steam box
A couple weeks ago, I paid a visit to IYRS, a trade and technology school only 27 minutes (as the GPS flies) from where I live. They are located right on historic Thames Street, and I’ve passed IYRS many times in my life wondering what kind of making goes on behind their doors.
My expectations were a little off: I expected a boatbuilding school. And while I did find plenty of boat restoration going on, especially on their main Newport campus, I found a lot more.
Here’s the steam box in action. This helps the students bend the wood to their will.
This might be the oldest tool in the shop: a vintage Paddock Tool bandsaw.
We took a side trip to check out the restoration of the Coronet, one of the largest and oldest schooner yachts.
After checking out the Newport campus, we took a trip up to the composites program in Bristol. Here, Henry Elliot shows off a chopper gun, which is used for laying down fiberglass.
The IYRS composites program is where it becomes clear they aren’t just a boatbuilding school: here’s a set of skis drying in the walk-in kiln. Yes, a walk-in kiln.
That’s not to say that the Bristol campus is yacht-free. Here, my guide for the day, IYRS Admissions Associate Brent Morin, shows off one of the projects students are required to build: the electrical, sensor, and plumbing (there’s a toilet on the other side) systems for a boat.
IYRS students spend their first year restoring a Beetle Cat boat. The school relies on donations of unseaworthy boats that are eventually sold at fair market value.
That’s just a small sampling of the interesting things I saw on my tour. I’ve got a bunch more photos up in a Flickr set. Check them out for more wood, tools, boats, and composites!