Wooden Boat Building
Boat supplies for your boat building and restoration
marine chandlery is unlikely to have what you need in stock.
Their customer base will be predominantly
best products to use
will be entitled 'marine' but unfortunately that often means expensive.
The 'latest', 'hi tec' boat supplies products often
come with high advertising mark-up.
Traditional boat building products which have been
generations are usually the cheapest option.
we now have the
internet where you can find boat supplies.
Before deciding on the timber
you intend to use it
is worth checking what supplies are available in you area.
Any lumber of sufficient widths, lengths and quality that you
locally will incur the extra expense of ordering, delivery and
For most boat building you will want good quality seasoned and
It will need to be free of heartwood and sapwood and as clear
Air dried wood is rare these days but kiln dried is just as
kiln dried, because the drying process is controlled can be better.
However it is a good idea to allow kiln dried wood to acclimatise
Stack it and allow it to stand as it can be rather dry initially.
Most timber yards quote their prices for cut timber.
Unless you are very lucky, few yards will allow you to pick and choose
the pieces you want but it is still worth knowing a little about the
properties of timber.
Machining will be an extra, so decide if this is necessary for you.
And remember that machining will reduce the finished size.
The reduction will be somewhere in the region of 6mm depending on the
machining and the skill of the machine operator.
Strip planking timber because it is machined is probably best ordered
specialist boat supplies vendor.
Your local yard will charge you extra for having to specially set up
Back to Top
For most wooden boat
building applications Marine
are varying grades within the term 'marine
And naturally enough they vary in price. It is possible to use
of plywood in marine construction as long as it is completely sealed
However epoxies aren't cheap, the extra you spend on epoxy might negate
any savings you make on wood. And remember that old saying about the
lost for the sake of a nail.
Think about finish as well. It's difficult to get a smooth non grainy
finish of softwood ply.
used properly is a
wonderful material for the
However, despite the veneers that are available, I personally, prefer
any exposed ply.
Varnished or oiled plywood never quite has the same beauty of solid
Back to Top
There is a bewildering
array of glues
the boat supplies market today.
When choosing a glue you need to decide;
Where it is going to be used.
What degree of exposure will it receive?
Will it be easy to repair?
What are the health risks?
are superb glues, however, they are not always the most appropriate
glue to use in a
situation and there is an increasing unease
health and environmental risks involved (see
On traditionally built boats, epoxies' high strength can be a
Traditional building methods allow for, and sometimes rely on, movement
Carvel planking for instance will need to swell (take up) to create a
My own preference for below the waterline is the resorcinol type,
two part glue.
However it does leave a dark gluing line.
So, for above the waterline I have found a good quality water resistant
Polyurethane glue an excellent choice.
Back to Top
corrosion of metal
fastenings is complex. It can vary depending on the type of wood it is
contact with and the amount it is exposed to water.
the available fastenings
silicon bronze is the most suitable to use below the waterline.
steel is stronger
harder and a little cheaper than silicon bronze.
the usual 304 type
of stainless is not suitable for underwater fittings except perhaps for
boats which do not spend much time in the water.
fastenings are fine for large boats.
they will bleed and
corrode, besides they are not easily obtained these days in supplies of
must be taken not to
damage the galvanizing for the surface.
screws will not last
long if used below the waterline.
is probably the best
material for fastenings in a marine environment but it is expensive and
supplies are difficult to obtain.
is the material of
choice for rivets roves and clench (clout) nails.
bronze gripfast nails
are the best choice for other nailing applications.
Back to Top
With the increasing popularity of DIY boat building
techniques such as 'stitch and glue' and 'strip planking' supplies of
several epoxy systems are now available to the amateur builder.
embarking on a large
project it is worth making sure that you are not allergic to
read and take notice of
the safety precautions on the packet.
come in differing
viscosities, depending on whether you are using them for a thin, even
epoxy over wood or for a thicker application.
there are many types
of filler available for thickening and for making fillets and general
folk just mix in some
come with differing
hardeners for fast, medium or slow curing.
rate of cure can be
altered by adjusting the amount of hardener.
waxy layer that develops on the surface of the epoxy as it cures will
be washed off and sanded before re-coating.
can be used as a good
degreaser and cleaner but it is very volatile, flammable, and not
is a safer option
especially for cleaning epoxy resin from human skin.
systems can be bought as
a starter pack containing all those essential extras such as mixing
matting, tape and
fabric is available in varying sizes and types of differing
will also need rollers,
brushes, gloves, copper wire, pots for mixing, mixing sticks and
Back to Top
to use and how to get a
good paint job will
transform the appearance of even the tattiest of old boats.
and varnishes contain additives which increase their durability within
is possible to use good
quality exterior house paints.
depending on how much time the boat spends in the water, need to be
secret of a good finish
be it varnish
is in the
a great believer in
using good old cheap creosote to treat bare timber.
when it has dried, can
then be painted with oil based paint.
wood should be primed
and then several coats of a good quality marine undercoat applied,
much you are willing to
spend on the quality of the top coat will depend on how often you are
paint or anti foul
paint is applied to keep algae and barnacles from growing on the boat
is only necessary for
boats which spend much of their time in the water.
supplies of anti-foul
paints available today are designed to be environmentally friendly.
Back to Top
are numerous sealants and caulking compounds available in the boat
there are different
types for different purposes.
of the common Silicone
sealants won't cure under paint or water and they're not intended
or suitable for use below the waterline.
they are perfect for
sealing around edges such as port lights, deck hardware and other
you are planning to use
putty for caulking, you will also need those
unusual substances such
as red led powder and caulking cotton.
is hemp soaked in tar
oil for larger seams normally for work boats.
an alternative there are
several patented Seam Compounds which have been tried and tested.
will remains durable
and flexible, after immersion to absorb expansion and contraction of
must be applied over
properly primed surfaces.
mating surfaces between
bolted wood joints must be bedded, preferably with a compound which
easy removal and is flexible.
Back to Top
I must admit to being cavalier about work safety it is in your own
interests to invest in appropriate protective clothing.
gear for boat building
is easily obtained from any hardware store.
on the water and
especially at sea is something I am keen on.
put a lot of time and
effort into building that boat of yours, the last thing you need is an
when she is launched.
"There is but a plank between a sailor
is about more than
boat supplies such as life jackets and the like which, can be bought in
is also about knowing what you are doing on the
Back to Top
What are Your experiences,
problems or tips regarding wooden boat chandlery?