First Time Boat Builder

by Eric
(Richmond, KY)

Hello. I love the look of wooden boats and am looking into building a small wooden boat (7-8 feet) that I and one other person can just take out and use for fishing.

However, I want to build a wooden boat without using plywood.

I love the look of a boat built with wooden planks.

I have been researching plans and websites for hours and cannot find any plans or suggestions for how to start.

I have never built a boat before, so I do not know where to start.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me?


Comments for First Time Boat Builder

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Jan 31, 2013
traditional construction
by: Mark Reuten

In the boat building courses I teach I have often suggested that traditional building is perfectly accessible to the first time builder if they choose a nice simple design.

Take a look at the following:

The Lumberyard Skiff; Wooden Boat Magazine

Ladybug; Harry Bryan Boatbuilding, www.harrybryan.com

Building Heidi,Traditional Boatbuilding Made Easy: By Richard Kolin. (the most challenging of the three suggestions)

Lastly, John Gardener's various books have boat designs in them that would suit and I am a huge fan of Flat bottomed skiffs designed by the Atkins. http://atkinboatplans.com/


Jan 07, 2013
First Time Boat Builder
by: Eric

Thank you very much, Mike! I have found what I am looking for, and I cannot wait to get started.


Jan 06, 2013
First Time Boat Building Plans
by: Mike

Building a traditionally planked boat from scratch can be a bit intimidated for the beginner.

A plywood flat bottomed dory type of construction is about as easy as boatbuilding gets.

However if you don’t wish to use plywood how about a strip planked boat.

The cedar strip/epoxy method of construction is the next easiest way to build a boat and build one that has rounded bilges and that traditional wooden boat look.

Strip planking only requires basic woodworking tools and skills.

But I wouldn’t rule out plywood, marine quality plywood comes in a consistent quality that is becoming more difficult to find in good quality, affordable lumber.

Nor does the boat have to be a slab sided or flat bottomed, there are any number of plans for clinker plywood construction.

These boats are to all intents traditional clinker except that plywood has been used instead of solid timber for the planking.

Try doing a Google search for "strip plank small dinghy plans" there are plenty to choose from.

If you invest in a set of good quality plans they should come with all the relevant instructions.

And for a first timer it is worth looking for a supplier of plans that has an active forum should you need any help or advice.


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