Has anybody built a Jon Boat?

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by thudpucker, Dec 4, 2008.

  1. thudpucker
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Location: Al.

    thudpucker Senior Member

    Have any of you built Jon boat of wood?

    I'm kicking the idea around for later on this year. For practice, I'm going to build some oars for my little Skiff.
    That's enough practice. I'm ready to build an Arc now....right!

    I dont want any Fiberglass involved. Just wood preservative. I'll re-soak it with the wood preservative as often as needed. I dont know if I'll paint it, but it will have some non-skid on the decks.

    My jon boat will be 12', maybe 13' long and the bottom will be the full 48".
    It's gonna need some long oars, huh?
    I plan to be able to stand up in this boat, and I'm too old to be fooling with tippy boats.

    I have three motors for it, 3.5 Hp, 6 Hp and 9.5Hp. All omc's.
    But I like to row the boat best. It's the most quiet way of enjoying a fishing trip. Normally I dont even put a motor on my Skiff.

    I've built a siding seat in my 12' Aluminum Skiff, which works good, but with a liitle more money it'd work better.
    My idea was to slide back and forth as I rowed. Now I've had some experience with that, I'd like the seat to stay where ever I put it, and still be moveable when I want to slide forward or rearwards so I can reach things.

    If not a sliding seat for the middle, maybe a combination of seat on a tower, with a live well under the seat.
    Whatever kind of seat I have in the middle, it will be something I can rear back and rest in it. Not quite a recliner, but close. Strong enough that it wont break and let me fall into the boat. I'd struggle like a Turtle on his back and maybe tip the boat till it took on water if that seat broke under me.

    I'm also interested in the Side seats at the rear and not the Bench seat in front of the motor. The Fuel tank will be under the deck of one side or the other. That's going to be the rear floatation if the thing ever sinks.

    The Front will have a Deck to sit things on, and walk on and some Floatation under that deck.

    I'm going to mount the Battery near the aft end. Right now I have the Battery way up front and out of the way, but it puts the front keel too deep in the water and causes me way too many extra strokes with the oars to keep the thing headed in a straight line.

    Right now I have lights, a Fish finder, a Cigar socket for the GPS and lights all around the inside of the boat plus some kind of Plug connector for an Aux light. Search light or drop down fish attractor light.
    I put the fly rods on the left side, the Crappie rods on the right.
    Ice Cooler behind me in the front. Coffee nearby on the right. Flies and Tackle on the floor in front of my seat. I'd like a cup holder that I can reach easily enough, but not in the way of the Fishing and rowing.

    Years ago I helped a guy build a bunch of Mckenzie river drift boat knock-offs.
    He painted them, but I do not remember using any preservative or even Log-oil. Just paint.

    We'd use them all summer for Salmon n' Steelhead. Then we put new bottoms on everyonce in awhile. A jillion screws. Nothing else. It worked great too.
    I have that experience as one of the greatest summers of my life.
    But now I just want a stable craft to quietly catch Crappie.
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Your 3.5 HP engine will work well with a rowable flats boat. If you try to use a bigger outboard, the stern will just squat and you'll plow a big pile of water, wasting fuel, but going no faster. You see, boats that row well, don't power well. There are many well proven "pulling" craft that would be well suited to your needs. Reasonably stable, solid fishing platforms that are purely a plank on frame or glue and screw type of build.

    From your description it seems you want a powerboat that you can row if you have to. On the other hand you indicate you want it to row the best, which is in direct conflict with most power operations above displacement speed.

    I have a few glue and screw designs, that require no 'glass sheathings or other fancy building techniques. If you can hang drywall in your house, then you can build these boats.

    For a boat to row well, it needs to be light weight, but your wish list sounds like a well loaded and equipped fishing boat, again in direct conflict with easy rowing.

    How fast do you want to go with the outboard? This will pretty much determine what kind of boat you want. In other words, if you want to scoot along with an outboard at say 10 to 20 MPH, then rowing will be a chore to say the least. On the other hand if you can live with 5 MPH under power, it can be a fine row boat shape, that happens to have power assist.
     
  3. thudpucker
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    thudpucker Senior Member

    PAR, you are an astute observer. I re-read my post and you seem to have picked up on my blabbering (thinking out loud) wish list.

    Truely, I row most of the time with the skiff I have. It's tippy. I lost my balance in the thing and fell. I landed on the fwd gunn'l which forced it under water and the whole lake poured into the boat.
    I had to make a decision quickly or the boat would sink or capsize.
    I could not crawl backwards fast enough to stop the flow.
    So I rolled out of the boat, into the lake.
    That was in summer. What if it'd been in the Winter?

    After the funeral, I came back as a much smarter boater.

    That's why I want this big wide Jon boat. I dont ever intend to go out in a boat like this rowing skiff that will tip or roll out from under me.

    The other thing you caught me on, was my intent. To row or Motor this boat?
    Rowing, Yes, that's my most favorite way to fish. Rowing.

    You real boat designers call it 'Pulling' but I've been looking at boat plans for years, and I dont see any of the Pulling boats that offer the stability of a Jon boat.

    As far as being a tough boat to row, any wide flat bottom boat will consume more energy to row. But when fishing, you dont really row a lot. Moving from place to place in a Lake is not usually tough, unless the Wind is up.
    So I'll take the Stable boat over the Pulling boat.

    I had the 3.5 on my Skiff a couple times. The lake is exactly 2 miles long with a Hiway bridge at exactly the One mile mark.
    I spent most of the day, alternately rowing and motoring , and finally ran out of gas (one gallon) on the way back. I rowed the rest of the way.
    Put that motor up and havent used it since.

    Glue n' screw designs sound good to me.
    And yes I know how to hang Wall board. You make a Deal with a guy who does that. Make sure he has plenty of Tea while he's working.

    I can do Glue n' Screw!
     
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    As you've figured out a fat, stable platform requires more energy to propel. If motivated with arm power, it's you that will run out of gas.

    Typical row boats are narrow, particularly on the bottom, to make rowing effort easy. This also tends to make them tender.

    I have a couple of small flats boats that will row well and can take a modest outboard. They are stable for fishing, unless you insist on the recliner, mounted on a pedestal, in the middle of the boat thing. Drop me an email (click on my name) and we can discuss your options.
     
  5. thudpucker
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    thudpucker Senior Member

    On this small Plywood jon boat.

    It's got to be wide and stable. I never found a good look at Mr. Jon so I dont exactly know how its configured inside.
    Glen-l's small wood boats for rowing and Outboards are made for easy of propulsion. So they are narrow. I think they look tippy. I cant have that.
    I'll be able to row the wide one's.

    Inside this little boat....
    I want side/corner seats at the stern.
    At some time I may have a Trolling motor or my little 3.5 Evinrude on the boat. I'll sit back there with the motor. Can you just see a little jon boat with the bow stuck up in the air like its really accelerating 8)

    I want the floatation up under the upper edges of the boat.
    if the boat ever flips, the floatation up in the Rails will keep me from righting it. "OK" I says to myself, "I'll just hang onto the upside down boat and kick my way over to the beach and THEN I'll right it again." Thats the real reason a guy wears a PFD.

    I dont want a thwart seat where I'm gonna row. I want a pillion.
    I want the seat part where the warm meets the seat, to be 16" off the deck so I dont get so cramped up sitting there for the hour at a time.
    That's gonna put the most of my #250 bulk at 38" above the water line.
    (Maybe thats the reason I think of small boats being tippy?)

    I'll mount the 'lazy susan' on the top of the pillion and make that top removable so I can store stuff down in there.
    Possibly the Battery might go in there and the whole 'switch console' for the lights etc will mount on the rear edge of the pillion so I can reach it if I'm sitting on one of those little side saddles.

    I thought of a stitch n' glue with a long Tri-cornerd piece of wood to re-inforce the side/bottom joint. GLued n' screwed for durablilty.

    This boat's not going to stay wet. It's on a trailer and gets parked in my barn, and it'll have a drain hole.
    So I'm not going to put any Glass on it anywhere it dont need to be taped for strength.
    I'm going to paint it. Not sure what I'm going to paint it with just yet.

    So jump in here guys and let me know what you think and what I'm missing or need to consider that I dont know about.
     
  6. boatdoc58
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    Location: Springfield Missouri

    boatdoc58 New Member

    Built four

    Yes I have built four. I live in southwest Missouri and float fishing on the rivers here is a time honored tradition. River johns were traditonally used before canoes became popular.
    the art has almost died out. I am the last in this area still building them. I have built 3 float johns and one outboard jet john. There is a book out there called Rivers Run Through It by Larry Dabblemont. You can get if from Amazon. It has some plans in it. Let me do some looking to come up with my plans also. Good luck and I'll be in touch, Bob
     
  7. kevinb
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    Location: London

    kevinb Junior Member

    I am currently building the same thing you are considering. I want a large, flat boat that won't tip easily and will carry plenty of stuff. It's just for my kids and I to potter around the local canals. Since the speed limit is 4mph, hydrodynamic efficiency is not a concern.

    In fact, my main concern is cost. Basically, my budget is zero, or very close. I've built the plywood and rib frame from scrap and it's reasonably solid (to my surprise). I've managed to secure about four litres of 2-part epoxy paint from a defence surplus contractor for pennies.. I was hoping that would do for sealing and waterproofing. I certainly don't want the effort and expense of fibreglassing what is effectively a throw-away boat.

    What I'm not sure is how much sealing/filling I'll need in addition to the epoxy paint. I'm a bit concerned, for example, that water will seep into the screw holes where the plywood panels are screwed to the chines. I could take the screws out and replace them after squirting some silicone sealant into the holes or something like that.

    Does anybody have any experience of this sort of (low budget) construction? I don't care if the boat only lasts a summer or two, but I don't want to be bailing out on my first trip :)
     
  8. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    3 1x12's + a couple of sheets of ply and a tube of PL Premium + Paint...nothing easier...BoooYaaaaa! {or for us older folks...Zippadeedooda...zipadeeday...Oh what a feelin'....:) }
     
  9. kevinb
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    kevinb Junior Member

    With hindsight, I might perhaps have used no screws at all, just clamped the parts together. But now I've built the basic structure, I think I'm stuck with filling the screw heads or threads or both, no?
     
  10. lewisboats
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    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    my next project is exactly thus:

    [​IMG]
    Which is a coupe of 1x12's plus ply +pl premium + paint

    But this is Ply + Poly + paint

    [​IMG]
     
  11. lewisboats
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    Location: Iowa

    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    Yup...for a not very long lasting build...silicon or latex goop + paint...for a longer lasting build...thickened epoxy goop + paint...for a medium to long lasting build...polyester goop + paint.
     
  12. kevinb
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    kevinb Junior Member

    I have access to a large-ish amount of ex-Navy epoxy paint (in battleship grey, of course). I don't know anything about its formulation, but I don't want to look a gift horse in the mouth. I presume it's thinned in some way, to make it a paint rather than a resin. I'm wondering if I can mix it with silica or something to make a filler? It's only got to be better than nothing, I guess -- I'm not actually building a battleship.

    Incidentally, I'm mildly surprised to see the boat in your photo actually under sail. It seems to be entirely the wrong shape to be able to tack properly. My boat will be more-or-less the same shape as that, and if there's any chance that it will actually sail, I will make provision for a centre-board or something. The one in the photo looks like it has lee-boards (?). I wonder if it has a keel, or something else to encourage it to go forward rather than leeward? Or do you just row it if the wind is unfavourable? :)

    I admit I hadn't expected mine to be capable of sail, but it's not too late to add the necessary fittings if it is likely to be possible.
     
  13. lewisboats
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    A few extra coats of that should cover things...

    Are you kidding??? Scows are some of the fastest sailing shapes on the water...

    Nope..some lateral resistance goes a long way in sailing. Athough this hull (Top Picture) has a slightly narrower bow than transom it is quite capable of sailing properly (actually it is designed to plane in a decent wind). Leeboards are a tried and true method of providing lat resistance to a sail's influenced if placed in the right place. You can sail to about 80 or less degs to the wind with leeboards if needed. Work a NACA Shaped Daggerboard into the mix and you could see up to 60 deg of windward work out of it. 'Course the case would be additional work...along with the correct placement, bracing, etc.

    Steve
     
  14. kevinb
    Joined: Jan 2009
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    kevinb Junior Member

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'm a tolerably competent woodworker but this will be my first boat. I'm more familiar with wooden buildings, to be honest. I'm only building a boat because my kids have been reading `Swallows and Amazons' and giving me hassle. I've got plenty of wood but no money spare (who has, these days?)

    I don't know at this stage whether my boat will actually float, let along sail. The design has been constrained by practicalities (size of garage, size of car top, needs to work in < 2ft depth of water, needs not to tip over when kids lean out...) rather than good handling.

    So I guess I need to get it on the water to find out whether it's likely to behave in a boat-like way, before putting a lot more effort in.
     

  15. thudpucker
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    thudpucker Senior Member

    I like the looks of that scow with the young gal sitting in it. Thats almost exactly what I had in mind.

    My pillion seat in the rowing position though.
    I sure hope BoatDoc can find those plans.

    Kelvin, I'm on a Zero if possible budget too.
    I"m gonna use Screws and Glue, primer and paint. That should hold up for a couple years if not more.
    So what if a little water gets in thorugh a crack somewhere?
    In my past is a Dory that had to be bailed about every half hour.

    That military paint should do the trick for at least a season. You can re-paint it any time. If you came up with some good Automotive primer that Battleship Grey would hold the boat together.

    PS: On that NAVY paint. On the way to Korea on the USS Gen. W.A. Mann, there were details of guys chipping the paint off the ship.
    Followed by guys primering.
    Followed by guys painting the Battle Ship Grey.
    You can imagine all the Names they came up with for that Paint that went by the initials B.S.

    Later on, at a Military surpless auction, I got three Five Gal buckets of that stuff for Three Dollars. Imixed it with some White and Creme and came up with a pretty mild light blue/gray color and painted my whole garage with it.
    Ten years ago and it still looks like it did when I got done with it.
     
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