Four Generations of Wheel Building, Wooden Boat Restoration, and Craftsmanship
Bob Fuller, his daughter Christina, and their team of highly trained craftspeople are the custodians of a century-old tradition of precision woodworking that produces hand-crafted wooden boat steering wheels for vessels of all sizes.
Located in Carver, Massachusetts, South Shore Boatworks’ services include custom boat design, wooden boat restoration, designing and installing custom interiors in both wooden and fiberglass boats and, of course, the creation of our world-renowned wooden steering wheels.
Among our marine carpentry services, we also provide planning, management & consultation services on larger projects, custom teak accessories and hand-made children’s rocking boats.
The South Shore Boatworks shop is located in Carver, Massachusetts. It’s filled with modern, industrial machinery, and has the aroma of teak, mahogany, and cedar that is being worked by hand.
This is where Bob Fuller carries on the traditions he learned from his father and grandfather, and where he passes along that accumulated wisdom to his apprentices and his own daughter, Christina, a fourth generation of Fuller wheel craftspeople.
South Shore Boatworks' methods preserve the techniques and materials that have been part of our maritime traditions for hundreds of years.
“I can go to almost any harbor anywhere and see something my family has done. I can tell by the turnings whether my grandfather made it, or if I did it.”
Fuller proudly continues the traditions of his family. He’d always been a part of it, and will occasionally see a wheel out in a harbor that he built 40 or more years ago. A fine wooden wheel is passed down from generation to generation, just like a finely crafted boat.
Fuller worked with his father and grandfather, starting at age 14. “A teenager working around that machinery — you couldn’t do that today. There’s no place else I could have learned that except working with my family.” He learned the art of pattern making, of selecting just the right woods for a given project, and of working with wood for wheels and other marine applications. Restorations, refits and the construction of small wooden craft are all in his wheelhouse.
In keeping with the family traditions, Fuller has established a world-wide reputation for precision and attention to detail. Building on these traditions, he has also cultivated his craft as an art, unafraid to introduce new and exciting elements to established processes.
Fuller estimates that in the past 45 years he has constructed over 1,000 wheels – and refurbished hundreds more. He is also an instructor and has taught numerous classes in traditional wooden boat building, pattern making, and wheel building for the WoodenBoat School, Lowell's Boat Shop, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Upper Cape Voch Tech, the National Park Service, and the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. Bob is an avid boater, and can often be found rowing pilot gigs out of Plymouth harbor.
Bob’s daughter, Christina, represents a fourth generation woodworker, is Vice President of South Shore Boatworks. She grew up helping her father in the shop, assisting with painting, gluing, and other shop duties. She would also accompany her father on trips, hunting for fittings, mountings, and other treasures of the trade. She worked her way up to woodcarving, and gained experience with power tools.
Christina was awarded an apprenticeship through the Massachusetts Cultural Council and National Endowment of the Arts to learn the craft of wheel building and preserve this maritime tradition. This makes Christina a fourth generation wheel builder.
Christina also has a particular focus on South Shore Boatworks' Plymouth Rock’rs. This dory-shaped rocking boat is built in a manner similar to a full-scale dory, but meant for the enjoyment of the young boater. She offers a course, alongside her father, Bob Fuller, on how to build a Plymouth Rock'r.
Christina loves being a part of the family business, working with her father, and carrying on the family traditions.
We believe that craftsmanship is the basis for preserving our time-honored maritime traditions. We take pride in working with our hands to safeguard the timelessness of a bygone era, while also innovating a future that elevates our customer's on-water boating experience. Through four generations we have built and restored wooden boats, traditional steering wheels, and marine equipment, blending aesthetics with engineered strength, to withstand the harshest conditions. We accomplish that through putting in the extra work, and never taking a short cut. At South Shore Boatworks, we want to earn your trust through our dedication and passion, and let our products speak for themselves.
We are also stewards of precision marine carpentry, wooden boatbuilding, and traditional wheel building. It is our responsibility to pass this knowledge to our community and the next generation. We make our expertise available through all of our classes, seminars, and consulting services, and welcome you to these learning opportunities. We are constantly advancing our techniques and grow our passion with each student that joins us.
Our Industry Partners
Bob Fuller and his team at South Shore Boatworks have built an international reputation with their high-quality, time-tested marine carpentry and classic wheels. Here are some of the press citations and news stories about South Shore or about projects we participated in, including stories about boat restoration and wooden boat building. If you like a wooden boat, read on!
Just Launched: Gurnet Point 25 by South Shore Boatworks, Maine Boats, Homes & Harbors, 2010