First Time boat builder-need help

Discussion in 'Materials' started by Cole23, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. Cole23
    Joined: Apr 2012
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    Location: Alabama

    Cole23 New Member

    I found a book called The American Boy's Handy Book and inside were plans for a flat boat with a cabin on it. Go to google books and look it up. The ebook's free and the plans are on page 105. It looks relatively easy to make and I had gotten excited about building it until I realized there were three key things I did not know.
    1) What type of wood I should use for this type of boat?
    2) what kind of sealant (as opposed to coal tar) I should use, and where would I get it?
    3) is it feasible to build the boat at all?

    Thank you for your help!
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I didn't look up the book, but typically these types of plans are incomplete (as you've learned), include the use of materials and techniques not available any more or not practiced any more. This is a very common issue and the best advice is to get a modern set of plans, preferably from a designer that's alive, so when you have questions, there's someone you actually can call or email, plus the materials and techniques are understood and available.
  3. The Loftsman
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    The Loftsman The Loftsman

    Would have to agree there with Par, but you could have a go at it just as a practise and learn lesson.
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I wouldn't have a "go" at anything you don't have a strong chance of success with.

    Do yourself a big favor and by a set of plans from a living designer ,that works with home builders.
    1 person likes this.
  5. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Good plan. Even with a living designer it's hard to make out every little detail. Support is a must
  6. Fanie
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Colonial "Sick Africa"

    Fanie Fanie

    Cheeeeese Cole !

    If you young blokes need so much help, imagine what we old folk have to go through eh !

    By the time I shuffeled around the workshop with the walking ring trying to locate the place I cannot remember where the bloody resin is and find it, it's time to shuffel back to make it in time for bed.

    Only reason I can post this here is 'cos it's Sunday and it's my off day. Had an early start too, well it was that or wet the bed (again).

    The good news is I found the resin, it's in the workshop somewhere, but no worries, I'll find it on Monday.
    1 person likes this.
  7. stanleyladkins

    stanleyladkins Previous Member

    Hmm. I think, it's really hard for a first timer. You need to consider a lot of things before building. Nevertheless, good luck buddy!
  8. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member


    welcome to the list! Never mind those guys, they are boat snobs, they build big expensive boats. By your choice I would say you are not only a first time builder, but also a young one as well. Go for a simple project and have fun with it.

    However (unlike these other "experts"), I actually looked up the boat, I would not advise that boat. Although small and simple, it is not very practical and really obsolete as compared to designs that use modern materials (it was designed in the 1800's).

    You could build it out of exterior grade plywood, use galvanized deck screws, and adhesive caulk for sealant, from a hardware store, and it would work. But there are lots of much nicer boats with free plans available of similar size that would only be a bit more work.

    Many here will advise you to use costly marine plywood, marine finishes, etc. but for your first fun boat that is not really necessary. You can likely salvaged good lumber, even paint and some hardware, I do it all the time for simple projects and have fun with it. Buy good screws used for exterior decks, plated, galvanized or even stainless, use waterproof glue like polyurethane or Tightbond 3 (not really necessary to use costly epoxy), and sleect your materials carefully from the lumber yard stack for fairly clear wood. Doug fir is best if you have a choice, but anything and everything has been used to build boats, even bamboo. So do not get caught up in the "correct" wood for your first simple project.

    Go look up the Puddle Duck, or Puddle Duck Racer. There are lots of groups building this nice simple little boat that can help you on-line or even in person. It is a very popular yet simple boat with free plans, and groups that sail them locally all over the country.

    Also, these sites have free plans, but choose something small for your first build, it is easy to get carried away and start something that is too large and costly that you will never finish;

    let us know what you pick, and we are here to help. Have fun with it.
  9. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    bntii Senior Member

    Ditto what Par said.
    Once experienced, one can mine old plans and designs from bygone eras and transpose the scant-lings and materials to suit yourself.
    (and might find advice to figure it out here if you are set on a given design)

    A table of offsets is all that one might need- especially on a small boat.

    Good post Petros- except for calling us 'boat snobs'.... & you would find that the advice you gave is typical & often given by the 'experts' here.

  10. andrew1
    Joined: Apr 2012
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    Location: vancouver bc

    andrew1 Junior Member

    if i can add anything :)
    25 years ago i owned a 24' cris craft plywood shell.
    my idea was to make it better so i start my project .i renovated completelly inside (cabin,galley,bathroom etc ) then i decide to go i sanded down all the paint and prepared for fiberglass.without my knowledge i used over 250 kg of polyester resin(plus mat and cloth ) and gelcoat on top ( hand layed everything ).took me over 2 years to finish(the shell ,deck etc ).she look great and floats but the polyester in lots of places did not stick to the plywood.25 years ago everything was much cheaper that today.
    she was powered with in - line 6 cyl chevy with mercruiser leg.when i sold it i lost lots of money not included my labour :)
    so think about it (resell value )before You start.
    sooner or later You are going to sell
    home build boat is hard to ppl will look as home build not custom made and think about Marine Surveyors for potential buyer :)
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