Colin Henwood is a boatbuilder with 40 years experience of building, restoring and caring for wooden boats on the Thames.

Concentrating on high quality craftsmanship the workshop can take boats up to 25ft in length.

In addition to boat building Colin is a fully insured marine surveyor and consultant specialising in wooden boats. As well as pre-purchase and insurance surveys, he is frequently commissioned to provide advice on all aspects of wooden boat ownership.

When time permits Colin writes for WaterCraft Magazine, runs practical courses at The Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis and at the Sylva Foundation Wood Centre where his workshop is based.

TWO WORKSHOPS: Make a Canoe Paddle at Sylva Foundation

During this two-day course with award-winning boat builder Colin Henwood, you will learn how to shape a single canoe paddle from Ash using hand tools

  • Working with ash – our superior native hardwood.
  • Using traditional skills and tools you will produce a complex shape with hand and eye.
  • Learn how to finish your smooth and elegant design.
  • Take home a unique and usable canoe paddle ready for a varnish or an oil finish.
  • Tools and materials included (if you wish to bring your own tools please discuss this with the tutor).

Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th June, 2021
9.00am to 5.00pm

Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th june, 2021
9.00am to 5.00pm

Venue: Our new purpose-built Education Barn at the Sylva Wood Centre, Oxfordshire, OX14 4QT

What people are saying about this course

“I can’t think of anything that could have improved a perfect couple of days – I will signing up for another one soon.” Student on Paddle making course, January 2018.

Colin was fantastic; his attention to detail and support ensured we all left with a paddle I think even he was happy with! Student on Paddle making course, January 2018.

Renovation and Finishing Course at the Boat Bulding Academy

Master the techniques for producing a high-grade paint or varnish finish; removing old coatings, preparing surfaces and applying the new finish.

Course Date:
This course has been postponed becasue of the COVID19 pandemic. Hopefully, it will be re-arranged as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.

Colin Henwood makes a paddle

A film made and edited by Sam English

As well as restoring and rebuilding traditional wooden boats, master boatbuilder Colin Henwood also makes handmade ash paddles – for canoeists and boat owners who appreciate craftsmanship and treasure owning and using a paddle made by hand and eye.

A film made by Beth Staley

At the start of December last year, I had a visit from a film crew for a day. Beth Staley is a young film maker studying for a masters in wildlife film making at Bristol University and she was completing an assignment. Beth comes from a family I know well, her ability to make imaginative video surfaced as part of a local annual youth festival where Beth would collate her video footage from the events that had taken place over the festival week. Now she is starting out on a career as a wildlife film maker and I find it inspiring when someone follows their passion that was nurtured at an early age by her family and others. Look out for Beth Staley in the future!.

Shipwrights' Lecture - University of Southampton

I was privelged to be asked to take part in the Shipwrights' Lectures 2019. The lectures aim to inspire young people working in, or studying for, the UK leisure marine industry and to highlight our unique international position as leaders in design and technology.

There were a number of speakers; here is a video of my part in the event.

Lady Emma video

Here is the Thames motor canoe “Lady Emma” in her element. She was built 92 years ago by Andrews of Maidenhead and I finished re-building her in June this year. The hull is planked in Mahogany copper fastened to steam bent Oak frames, the decks and fit-out are also in Mahogany with an Alaskan Yellow Cedar floor. Instead of the little petrol engine she had when she was built in 1926 she now has a silent 2Kw electric motor and a battery pack so she can cruise all day, peacefully.

“Lady Emma” is probably one of the most beautiful, elegant motor canoes I have ever come across. The hull has been completely re-built with only the original planking above the waterline and some of the keel remaining. I have interpreted the 1920’s style to accommodate the modern propulsion system and given some subtle detail to the layout and style of the seating and controls.

The video is the work of Michael English, helped by my good friend Peter Jones who provided the “aircraft carrier” for Mikes drone operations. The special music has been composed and played by my daughter Megan Henwood, it was recorded at Henwood Studios.

Mike English's website
Megan Henwood's website
Henwood Studios Website

A book about the story of re-building “Lady Emma”, called “Lady Emma’s Diary” by Martin Preston, will be published soon.