The PM 38 Club

The PM 38 Club is for all those Boats (and their Owners),which were built using the Free Boat Plans that were published in magazines such as Popular Mechanics, Popular Science and the Boat Builder Handbook.

The Publications

By the end of the nineteenth, beginning of the twentieth century long before the advent of television and before the internet was even thought of, news was principally promulgated via newspapers.

Popular Mechanics

Most newspapers however still only catered to local audiences.

An increase in printing and distribution efficiency as well as a growing demand for more national information led to the emergence of mass appeal magazines, particularly those which catered to the readers increased leisure time.

And publishers who were able to capture and keep the public's interest also gained from increased advertising revenue.

Two of America's most popular magazines, both of which are still being published today were Popular Science founded in 1872 and Popular Mechanics first issued in 1902.

Popular Science

Their popularity sprang from their formula of straightforward reporting on scientific and mechanical developments, prescient journalism and DIY how to articles.

Initially Popular Science was a pure science magazine but in 1916 it moved with the times to add full-color covers extended the focus of its coverage and began including advertising.

Both Magazines are still being published today and both, naturally enough, have their own websites where you can subscribe and where the entire run of back issues can be viewed.

You can visit the "Popular Mechanics" website here.

And the "Popsci" as it now calls itself here.

Or you can view all the back issues on line at Google Books.

Google Books is currently hosting "Popular Science" magazine and "Popular Mechanics" back issues in their archives which you can browse through online.

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Boat Plans

boat plans

As well as telling their readers about all the momentous inventions of the era, they also gave them plans on how to create some of them.

Popular Science for instance included an article on how to build a Laser..(and I don't mean the sailing boat).

While some of the plans might seem a trifle off beat to us today, they did publish several timeless plans and instructions for the handyman.

For instance, Popular Science in February 1972 published pans on how to build a wood strip Trail Boat, a stripper canoe in two parts for car topping.

PM 38 cover

One of the most enduring set of plans appeared in the August 1962 issue of Popular Mechanics.

It was the PM 38 13ft runabout. .

The appetite for Build It Yourself Boat plans was such that books of plans were also published containing plans for everything from Hydroplanes to Sailboats, Runabouts to Canoes and a few 'wacky' ones in-between.

I have put together a collection of the best of these plans here, which can be downloaded for free.

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The PM 38 Club

Plans for the PM-38 first appeared in the August 1962 issue of the Popular Mechanics magazine.

It was named the PM 38 because the magazine claimed that it could, not only be built in 38 hours, for a materials cost of a mere $38 but would, when launched, do 38 mph.

pm 38

Mark, in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia has built a Popular Mechanics PM-38 just like the one his father built back in the early sixties.

Read his superb account here.

As he says the Popular Mechanics magazine gives you just enough information that you can build the boat directly from the magazine without any of the larger plans.

DIY Wood Boat Books
pm 38
Step by step instructions for building the PM 38 using modern plywood building techniques and materials.
Yours to download (pdf) for
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pm 38

And despite the fact that he "had never built a boat of any kind before" have a look at what a wonderful job he has done on her.

Then scroll down to the comments.

  • Read how Carl and his "oldest son (ten at the time) and I built the PM38 1n 1963.
    No particular problems that I remember".
  • How Greg and his Dad and built a PM38 around 1962.
  • And then there is Robert who is building one now.

Or scroll through the slide show of Mark (and his Dad) building his PM38

PM 38 Club

pm 38 damn yankee

Russell built his first PM 38 in 1962 when he was 19 years old.

Nearly 50 years later "Damm Yankee", is his second PM-38, built in 2009.

PM 38 Damn Yankee

"It is still fun and the memories continue to grow."

Carl Mouton from Durban in South Africa built a PM38 in 1962 when he was working in Aden.

Now that he has retired and has found the plans again he may just build another one.

my pm 38
And this is Robert's version of the pm 38.

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60s Sea Hawk

Sea Hawk

Eddie Gregory in Ireland has built a 60's Sea Hawk.

boat builders handbook

This is one of many designs published in the Boat Builder's Handbook.

Although not a PM plan she still deserves a mention in the PM 38 Club.

You can download a FREE version of the plans here.

Science and Mechanics

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The "Mustang"

"Little Sanity" built from the free "Mustang" plans in the Boat Builders Handbook

"Little Sanity" is Matt's first boat build.

She is being built using the free "Mustang" plans from the Boat Builders Handbook and is another boat that deserves a mention in the PM 38 Club.

"Although she is not 100% finished, my youngest son and I just had to get it on the local lake while the fishing was still good.

This little boat performs really well for what it was intended, and I had lots of fun building it."

He has now built "Bill Collector" a 12 foot duck boat from the "Sneakbox" plans found on the Svenson's Website.

Li'l Tipsy

"Li'l Tipsy" is a superb version of 12' Mustang built and now being restored by Dean in Jacksonville, Fl.

home made row boat

And Bryon thinks that his 1956 12', homemade, row boat may also have been made using the Mustang DIY plans.

You can download a FREE version of the plans here

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16' Crescent Sailboat

16' Crescent Sailboat

"Jewel" is a 16' Crescent Sailboat being built by Mike Allen from the plans by C.T .Allen in the 1958 "Boat Builders Handbook".

And what a superb job Mike is doing check out his photos here.

Another that deserves to be in the PM 38 Club.


You can .
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When Ron was 14 year old, in 1953, his dad helped him build this 12 foot sail boat using plans from Mechanics Illustrated.

She looks very much like “Breeze-Baby”, see and download her Plans here.

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Pintail a 10ft Duck Boat


Pintail drawn from plans by Wm D Jackson is another from the Boat Builder's Handbook.

This one is being built by Greg Allore using the downloaded plans from that deserve to be in the PM 38 Club.

You can download a FREE version of the plans here.

PM 38 Club

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"Saucy Shingle" / "Tiny Titan"

Saucy Shingle / Tiny TitanThis "Saucy Shingle" / "Tiny Titan" was built by Ken in just 52 hours for a cost of under £100 GB.

(“Tiny Titan” was the original name of this design but when Glen-L published the plans in 'Popular Mechanics', the magazine changed the name because they thought that “Saucy Shingle” sounded better.)

The plans can still be obtained from Glen-L.

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We all love to see what other Wooden Boat Builders and Restorers are up to.

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12 foot sail boat from Mechinix Illustrated 
When I was 14 year old, in 1953, my dad helped me build a 12 foot sail boat that I bought plans from Mechanics Illustrated. I would like to find the …

Saucy Shingle / Tiny Titan 
I built this boat in 2013 in Kent, England, while my wife was at a health resort in India. I lofted the plans full size from the tiny magazine drawings …

Balmy Beach PM 38 
My father, brother, grandfather and I built a PM 38 in 1963. Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. Powered by a 28 HP Johnson that thing liberated all the …

"Damm Yankee" PM-38 
I'm probably the one and only to build this boat twice. My first build was when I was 19 years old in 1962 and then again in 2009. The first …

Info on the Popular Mechanics PM 38 13ft runabout 
Hello all, Does anyone know about the PM 38? Its plans were posted in a 1962 Popular Mechanics. Back then they bragged about it costing $38 …

60s Sea Hawk 
Hi, What a great site you have, a treasure to any budding boatbuilder, thanks. I have just started building a 21-foot Sea Hawk cabin cruiser from …

William Osborne, Kestrel,  
September 2016 Now based on the South Coast in Dorset the project is moving on - four years in. With the new construction fully bedded in, the first …

Li'l Tipsy 
I built my version of the 12' Mustang from the PM plans in 2008 during my senior year of high school. I used the boat a few times with a trolling …

PM 38 
I retired in 1990 as a South African Architect. In 1962 I was working in Aden in what is now part of Yemen. Woodwork has always been a passion of …

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I am perfectly aware that the majority of Wooden Boat aficionados are sensible folk.
However, I need to point out that I am an amateur wooden boat enthusiast simply writing in order to try to help other amateur wooden boat enthusiasts.
And while I take every care to ensure that the information in DIY Wood is correct, anyone acting on the information on this website does so at their own risk.