Build a Boat
DIY Wooden Boat Building
you want to build a boat from
wood the first thing to consider are the various construction
consider where you are going
to do the building.
If you are planning to build her inyour back
Will you have enough
room to work on
Will you be able to
get her out when she is
Might your neighbours
object when that that fifty foot
super yacht towers above the fence?
are still a few
boat yards were self builders can rent enough hard standing to build a
they are becoming rare.
These days it
is a sad fact that
most yards and
prefer shiny white plastic
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you plan to build make sure you don’t fall
foul of the dreaded insurance wallahs and the health and safety
Unfortunately you will also have to consider the cost.
Building from scratch while cheaper than having a boat built by
is not a cheap option.
somewhere to work on your own boat, without bureaucratic interference,
is becoming increasingly difficult.
you know of a Marina, Boat Yards or
ther facility that is Wooden Boat Friendly please let us know.
You might be able to reduce the
cost by using reclaimed timber.
However, it is false economy to build a boat from substandard
Apart from the hassle of having to replace stuff later, you might be
your life and the life of your crews in danger.
the up side you will be able
spread much of the cost out over the
of the project.
But buying in bulk will save money,
If you can afford it
and have somewhere suitable to store the materials.
Unless you are a naval
have suitable plans.
Don’t even start to build a boat without, you can however use the
to copy dimentions from
a photograph or
There are innumerable
designers willing to sell you plans and many free
be found online.
But before buying try to have a look at a finished version.
You may find that what looks pretty in a line drawing looks hideous in
and vice versa.
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method where planks are affixed edge to edge on to an Carvel
The frame determines the
It consists of the keel
and the stem and
stern posts, with a ‘ribcage’ of vertical frames.
Horizontal ribbands are
used to hold the
frames in place until planks are fitted. Planks, butting up against
are fastened to the frames, using
The hull is then
usually with cotton, or
oakum and a caulking compound
which seals the seams. It is easier to repair than some of the other
construction methods. caulked,
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is the method of wooden
boat building where
the planks overlap rather than butting each other.
underlying back bone is needed,
can be done after the
planking and ribbands may not be
The planks are
where they overlap,
resulting in a hull of considerable strength. rivets,
The tight fit
between planks is
traditionally sufficient to keep it watertight however, sealants and
can be used to build a
is increasingly being
used to create beautifully strong
lapstrake hulls. Plywood
method is to use epoxy to bond
the plywood planks.
This can result
in a superb low
maintenance wooden boat.
Repairs are not
as simple as on carvel
hulls due to the planks overlapping and because the fit of the planks
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is basically carvel but using narrow
strips of wood instead
of planks. Strip
are normally glued together with
though they can be
The backbone and frames can be built up from laminations with
outer stems to simplify construction.
The strips are usually bought ready machined with a
concave grove on
the top and convex on the bottom or with a tongue and groove.
Not easy to repair due to the strips being fastened
New patches may have to be scarfed into or laminated on to the
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Build a Boat by Stitching
Builders of wooden boats
together since time immemorial. stitching
But it is since the
that the method has become so epoxy
The usual practice
was to stitch the panels together using
wire but many builders now use plastic cable ties.
A word of warning on
Make sure you are not
Many years ago I was
considering a large
stitch and glue/epoxy project.
Fortunately, I decided to
try a small version
first, that was when I discovered that I was allergic to extended
Everything from simple pram
dinghies to sea
going cruisers have been successfully built this way.
I did persevere and build
the dinghy because I
had bought the materials.
She turned out extremely
well but if I had
plunged straight into that larger project I would have had problems.
There are a multitude of
designs and plans
available for stitch and glue building.
The advantage for the home
builder is that
lofting, setting up and framing are minimal, making them much faster
It is always best to use
and it does need to be
properly sealed with marine
It is normal for these
boats to be sheathed with
fiberglass cloth and epoxy resin.
Plywood repairs are
areas can be cut back and new plywood scarfed in using epoxy.
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Before stitch and glue
method to build a boat became popular,
boats were often made
by constructing a framework which was then sheathed with plywood. plywood
The plywood would be affixed to the frames using a variety of methods
glue, screws and even nails, nowadays it is normal to use epoxy.
The normal design shape is hard chine, either flat or ‘V’ bottomed.
As with stitch and glue, it is always best to build a boat from good
marine grade plywood and it does need to be properly sealed with epoxy.
Usually these also
are sheathed with fiberglass cloth and epoxy
Repairs are relatively easy
Damaged areas can be cut back and new plywood scarfed or butted in
a look at the
Project Boats being built by Andrew in Tasmania and Eddie in Ireland.
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Cold molding is
fairly uncommon way to
build a boat theses days.
Basically it is a method
where a minimum of
two layers of thin plywood or veneer are laminated on top of each
The layers running in
usually at 45 degrees to each other, the most common being double
This does produce a
strong monoque boat
However this method does
underlying structure on which to lay the strips.
The usual method is to
construct a mold first
or lay the strips on a strip planked former.
The extra work involved
in making the mold
makes it an unattractive self build option.
Repairs are not easy.
"It is easy in the world to live
world's opinion, it is easy in solitude to live after your own; but the
man is he who, in the midst of the world, keeps with perfect sweetness
independence of solitude."
Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882)
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Doing much with little. It has been years since I messed around with boats.
My latest thinking..
I keep seeing pallets laying around FREE for the taking.
I figured with …
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