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Traditional Boatbuilders

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Henwood & Dean

Traditional Thames Boatbuilding & Restoration

Situated in the Hambleden Valley downstream from Henley-on-Thames, Henwood and Dean Boatbuilders have been handcrafting, restoring and caring for traditional boats and launches for nearly 40 years. With time honoured links to the River Thames, our uniquely skilled team of craftspeople produce bespoke products combining traditional skillsets with modern techniques and a meticulous attention to detail.

Having worked on numerous award winning craft, we continue to carefully restore, maintain and manage an array of classic, vintage and antique boats. Our understanding of the unique requirments classic boat owners have, means we can offer a fully bespoke service - from complete restoration and year round maintenance to transport and storage services.

Restoration, Maintenance, Storage and Transport

Looking after our customers boats is the priority and our talented team of boatbuilders and craftspeople all share the same idea, that exceptional boats demand care and skill. From construction, to restoration, engineering, to sign-writing, finishing, to trimming, and transport to storage. Our eclectic collection of contacts throughout the marine trade and beyond ensure our customers boats receive the highest level of care and attention.

Beyond the workshop we provide the ongoing care and maintenance needed to keep our customers craft in top condition year round. Specialist, undercover, enclosed storage is available for the winter season and long term if required, as is careful specialist transport.


Specialising in delicate and detailed restorations that stay true to a boats unique history our priority is to preserve originality and make inkeeping improvments. Sourcing the highest quality materials, our team use a vast array of machinery and tools guided by the skilled craftsperson’s hand and eye to create faithful restorations. Almost every project completed will be different, and modern products and methods can be used to upgrade build quality, alongside the same natural timber used for hundreds of years to replicate the correct design and aesthetic from the original era. This way existing design flaws or construction weakness can be improved on.

Our work embraces many different types of boats spanning a timeline from the 1880s up to the present day. In general we work within the Thames tradition but we do branch out into other interesting wooden craft. Our links to the wider classic boat building world means that if a boat requires the work of a specialist craftsman we are more than able to source the required skill set and enable any specific and detailed work to be completed to original specification.


We provide unrivalled ongoing care and maintenance for our customers craft typically on a year round basis in tune with the seasonal boating calendar, ensuring boats are in the very best condition to be enjoyed on the water when requested.

Maintenance will be bespoke to the specific needs of an individual craft but generally would include; Brightwork polishing, anti fouling, paint and varnish repairs, engine servicing (including decommission and recommission prior to and following storage), Insurance repairs, and upgrades and modifications to meet certification. We can arrange Boat Safety Scheme inspections and full out of water surveys for insurance or presale.


We understand to care for classic boats, its vitally important that craft are stored carefully and safely when not on the water. At our yard on the edge of the Chilterns we have created some of the best covered storage available in the Thames Valley. Our facilities are enclosed, ventilated, and secure, with each boat being allocated its own bespoke trolley. Our onsite crane means yard handling can be undertaken year round.

Prior to storage each boat is washed and checked to ascertain if any specific repair or maintenance is required. Bilges are then dried and vented, engines are decommisioned before boats are securely blocked up for the duration of their stay.


Henwood and Dean have extensive experience of safely transporting classic wooden boats by road and water. Our experienced team can ensure your boat is taken both to and from its destination with the upmost care and safety. We use a range of custom built trailers and specialist transport partners to provide logistical solutions for a wide variety of boat shapes and sizes. Our yard crane, bespoke trailers and vehicles combined with extensive knowledge of slipways and marinas means journeys and yard handling are smooth and effortless.

Our Team, Yard and Workshops

To create, restore and care for so many cherished and type significant watercraft Henwood and Dean has built a team of skilled individuals each bringing their own area of expertise to the “yard”, as well as all contributing to the “team”. We are able as a collective to utilise our carefully configured yard and workshop to achieve award winning work.

Our workshop and yard facilities include:

On site lifting

10,000 square feet of covered secure storage

8,000 square feet of workshop space accommodating craft up to 50 feet long

Fully dust extracted woodworking machine shop

Dedicated metal fabrication and polishing tools

12ft. H x 13ft. W x 42ft. L dust free finishing room with heating and ventilation

210 square foot dust free component finishing room with heating and ventilation

6m x 4m Spraybake automotive grade paint booth

Recent Awards


Chin Chin a 25ft 1930’s, Greyhound river launch (Slipper).

TTBF Andrews Trophy “Best Slipper Launch”

TTBF Dean Marine Trophy “Best engine restoration and installation”


Sweet Myrrh a fast open launch circa 1912 by S E Saunders of Cowes

TTBF Thames Heritage Cup “Most traditional appearance”

TTBF Fred and Sheila Bourne Cup “Best in Show”

Classic Boat Magazine Motorboat of the year Nominee


Chaffinch a Broads Authority inspection launch circa 1920 by H Woods of Brundle

TTBF Ellenbrook Trophy “Best Ex Working Boat”

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