Small boat for creek fishing wanted

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by The Rooster, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. The Rooster
    Joined: Nov 2013
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    The Rooster Junior Member

    Hello. Recently I've gotten a hair brained idea for making a small, one man boat to fish creeks with. I used to fish skinny creek waters with my dad and brother in a 17 foot aluminum Grumman canoe. My brother still has it but he lives out of state now. Also I'm not sure I'm up for the balancing act anymore, it was kind of tipsy to fish from.

    So, I just might want to make my own small boat for fishing these same waters like before.

    Some things that would need to be considered in the build would be:

    1. The boat must be light enough to be moved by one person. There would be no trailer, just loading and unloading in and out of the bed of my Dodge Ram. It has a 6' bed, and with the gate down there is about 7 1/2' of length to support any boat I'd load into it. I can make use of a dolly if need be, or I'm even open to engineering some wheels onto the hull for easy rolling over terrain to the water. The boat must fit the bed, preferably between the wheel well humps, so about 4' wide max, but again, I am open to change if it is required.

    2. I would like to be able to build this on a budget of about what a descent used 10' Jon boat would cost. Not to exceed this, but going up to the cost is ok. I'm figuring about $500 as a maximum.

    3. It needs to hold about 500 pounds of weight. I weigh about 280, have 3 - 5 rods I usually carry fishing, also a good sized tackle bag about 40 pounds, and I'm assuming the battery and trolling motor would weigh no more than 100 pounds together. I can change this arrangement if needed, leave some gear behind, LOSE WEIGHT (my wife would love that), and so on. I do want electric power as a must, but would also keep a paddle handy for obvious reasons.


    I also have a couple of half thought out ideas as a starting point, and am open to suggestions or criticism.

    First, a Jon boat look alike on a reduced scale. Not sure if this will even work but I plan to use plywood as a hull material on the bottom. For sides I thought I might use 1x12 boards on edge as sides of the boat, cutting one end of each board to a taper so I can then attach 3/8 ply to it as a hull bottom. This would create a sloped up bow similar to aluminum Jon boats. I'd use a 1x12 across the end for the stern, and reinforce the top edge using a 1x4 so that it's 2x thick at the top for a motor mount. I'd make 1x12 benches with 1x4 reinforcement underneath to stiffen them and prevent sag. I'd put a bass boat seat on one bench so I'm elevated beyond just the 1x12 height so I'm comfortable when sitting. I'd place one bench at the rear of the boat and one in the center, across from side to side, and then at the bow I'd have another board across to reinforce the nose of the boat. This way it's all tied together solidly and I have at least two places to sit. This will roughly make a 8' Jon boat from wood, and I can leave it full width from end to end or I can make the bow narrower than the stern, either by bowing the sides inward, or tapering the whole thing from end to end. On the bottom of the hull I had planned to attach some strips of wood about 3/4 thick to make hull chines. This way it's slightly more resistive to sideways rolling, especially if I make it narrow, say 3' wide instead of 4'. Maybe this will help stiffen the floor also. On this design, I don't have any idea if it will hold 500 pounds or not. I may have to balance the load, place the trolling battery in the front while I'm in the rear, and so on. It may draft deeper than the sides allow for and sink. I also considered making some pontoons from 6" PVC pipe and capping the ends, then fastening one along each side to help it float and to also stabilize it more. This boat may or may not even float without any PVC aids. I do plan to use whatever epoxy sealant would be needed on the seams.

    My second idea is a pontoon style boat where I would use 6" PVC to make 4 pontoons, and pair them up, two on each side. I'd make them as one piece units using tee fittings to connect them. I'd then make an 8' long platform to mount on top of them and I'd make 1x4 or 1x6 walls all around it so nothing is accidentally kicked overboard. I'd put the platform on a frame that would attach to the pontoons and make the whole thing stiff to resist bending. Here the pontoons would hold the entire wooden structure above the water. On this design I'd have to buy or make a seat to place on the deck. I'm not looking for speed at all with either design but some of my methods of attaching the pontoons to the deck pose some hydrodynamic problems. One method involved a board with pipe sized holes cut into it, pipes inserted, and caps glued on to seal the pipe and prevent the pipe from coming out again. I'd need one at each end of the pontoons. This permanently fastens them on but makes the board act as a bulldozer plow in the water. Also thought of gluing in more tee fittings with the incoming side port facing upwards to make flat contact with the above deck or frame. From here I can engineer the rest, but this eliminates the bulldozer plow board, and adds more PVC weight and costs.

    I also have a third design where I'd glue 6" PVC pipes up using tee fittings and caps and elbows so it forms a frame that resembles an inflatable river raft. Then build a wooden platform on top of it. This is a variation of the pontoon design above, but makes one solid pontoon type structure instead of two separate. Floatation here is about the same, using 4 sections of 10' pipe, so same volume internally apart from whatever more the elbows provide. Weight may go up considerably due to so many fittings, and cost might just be too high on this as well.

    As for my skills, I'm a novice to intermediate wood worker, with plenty of tools to use. I've been reading some on water displacement and average floatation of PVC pipes. Such as 4" pipe 10' long being able to float about 70 pounds of weight. I've read this several places. Mathematically, 6" pipe has more than twice the volume of 4" pipe, so without going through any complex formulas to check things so far, I loosely think that one 10' pipe of 6" diameter would float about 150 pounds of weight. I've based my initial designs on this.

    I know I can easily buy a aluminum Jon boat, or a plastic boat made for this. I thought this might be more fun, also more customizable, and possibly cost less even. Thoughts, questions, complete madness on my part? Thanks for any replies.
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If weight is an issue, forget about PVC pipe. It's heavy for it's strength (which isn't very good), it's difficult to fasten to, nearly imposable to glue, unless chemically or thermally welded and generally not very strong.

    A 10' row boat is all you need, though a 12' boat will offer a lot more room, with just a little more weight. I have a 10' flat bottom design that's a all of 60 pounds when finished. There are lots of designs in this size range, so look around, some are even free, though often the plans are less than complete. For the displacement you need, search the "pram" style of boats first. They look a little weird, but carry more volume for their length. In fact, my 10' row boat design is actually an 8' 6" pram with a bow stuck on it.

    [​IMG]

    This is the pram style, done using taped seam techniques. This one is about 9' and will weigh about 60 pounds. This one isn't finished and still needs rails, sheer clamp and a few knees, but you get the picture. The picture is a V bottom, but flat bottoms are also available too.

    You may want to talk with Steve Lewis (> angelfire.com/ego/lewisboatworks <), a member here who has several designs that might work for you, many free for the asking.
     
  3. The Rooster
    Joined: Nov 2013
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    The Rooster Junior Member

    That boat looks fantastic to me. It would be exactly what I'd want. Now my next question is how hard is something like that to build? I don't see very many, if any, 90 degree angles on it, so it's not just cut, screw, and glue is it?

    I'm very open to the challenge though. Looks like simple plywood cuts.

    Ok, for a tech question, is 3/8 plywood too light for the load I'm thinking of putting into the boat? Should I use 1/2 inch? I know heavier plywood adds weight, but there is a high probability this boat will encounter rocky bottoms occasionally. We used to paddle through waters just inches deep with three of us in a canoe. I don't expect this boat to draft that shallow but I need its bottom to be stout enough to handle the occasional scrape or knock. Please forgive the novice questions. I really feel that 3/8 ply is stiff enough but I have no experience to know. I don't think 1/4 ply is strong enough though.

    EDIT -- I googled the pram design. THAT looks fantastic to me! I love that design, sign me up, I'm ready to start building!
     
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    3/8" for the bottom will be quite tough and 1/4" sides will save some weight, without compromising strength. on the other hand a 1/4" bottom with a sheathing will be as strong, slightly lighter and much more abrasion resistant. The pram above is a taped seam build, which eliminates many of the wooden elements inside the boat (saving weight). It's usually only a few sheets of plywood to build one of these, with a hand full of solid lumber bits to stiffen things up in key places. I think a flat bottom pram will be better suited for you, instead of the V bottom pictured above.
     
  5. The Rooster
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    The Rooster Junior Member

    I think a flat bottom would. Be excellent for me.

    One question. I would sit in the rear of this boat to run the electric motor and likely fish from this position also. Would the bow of the boat rise excessively from the water and make the rear end sink down uncomfortably low, maybe even to the point of swamping it?

    Ok, two questions. What's the best way to avoid that? Longer boat for more weight up front, or do I need to realize I have to sit in the center?
     
  6. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    You get a tiller extension and sit in the middle.

    Par is right though. A boat about this size is just right. I have an 11' 10" foot rowboat I built with four sheets of ply. It is flat bottom. The bottom is 3/8 ply. The sides are 1/4 inch ply. The transom is two pieces of 1/4 glued together to make 1/2" with some backing blocks where the 2 hp O/B hangs, or I can use an electric. My wife and I together weigh about 300 lbs and it hardly effects how much the boat draws which is about 4 inches. So it can go into really skinny water. It also carries all my fishing gear, anchors etc with no problem. So a boat the size he suggest will probably do just fine, but you do need to be concerned about balance.

    Just thought I'd add it weighs about 100 lbs but I deliberately built it a little heavy.

    I also Have an 8 foot pram I built and I dare not sit on the rear seat unless I have someone farther forward balancing out the boat.
     
  7. The Rooster
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    The Rooster Junior Member

    Is there a boat design that will allow me to sit at the rear and run the motor without having to worry about flipping it or swamping the rear? Could the answer be to make it longer? That could work because I'm also kind of interested in a design that can hold two people so I could take dad along as well, but also be ok for when I go alone. Before I get carried away I'd like to know if I'm asking too much. A two man boat might be too heavy for one man alone to load and unload. Or any boat that wouldn't flip in the rear from too much weight. Is this possible? Should I look to another design?
     
  8. GaryBriggs
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    GaryBriggs Junior Member

    I built this 0736 Jon out of 3/8 ply for 60$(With about 30-40$ in freebies from a scrap pile at work), weight about 70lbs.


    [​IMG]

    If I had to do it again I'd use 1/4 ply and make it bigger!
     
  9. The Rooster
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    The Rooster Junior Member

    That is awesome. Can you tell me more about that boat, like what's the wooden tab sticking up in the rear corner for? How long and wide is it? Based on the model number you put up I'm guessing its 7' long and 36" wide. What happens if you sit directly on the rear, does the front rise and make you think you're going overboard, or in danger of sinking? Can you stand up in it if needed? How much weight does it handle?

    I'm on the fence about 1/4 ply since I am a big guy. At 280 I'm pretty heavy and I'm afraid I'd actually damage the hull trying to just get comfortable in the boat by pressing excessively against it with my feet or hands. Especially when climbing aboard out on the creek bank with the boat half beached. We usually had the canoe mostly in the water with one end still beached, and we'd climb aboard, being careful not to press excessively against the thin aluminum hull with our feet, and then we'd use a paddle to shove off, which wasn't always easy since the canoe had to overcome the pressure of being beached with the weight of passengers now in it to slide out off shore. I can imagine how this would work with just 1/4 plywood. I can see splintering cracks happening as I type this.

    Also, are we just talking about plain old 1/4" lauan plywood, or 3/8 plywood, bought off the shelf at Lowe's? Seems too good to be true that this inexpensive stuff can be used to make boats. If so, what's the finish used to seal the wood from soaking up water? Also, what type of epoxy and tape are used to seal the joints? I don't suppose it's as simple as, or even possible, to just use water proof gutter sealant caulking is it? I've read a little on this site and I know that's not what's used but I just wonder if it would work, or what the drawbacks would be, such as leaking under pressure. Has anyone seen that commercial on TV where they cut out the bottom of a boat and install a storm door in it, then spray on a coating to stop leaks, and the guy takes the boat out onto the lake? What about that stuff? I also read on another site that if budget was a concern, that plain old porch paint will work as a finish. I once did this on another aluminum boat as a cheap finish, but that was a boat where if the paint peeled all it did was get ugly, not come apart. And, it did peel after a while.
     
  10. GaryBriggs
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    GaryBriggs Junior Member

    If you google 60$ DIY jon boat I put a couple of videos up.

    The tab is for my transom mount trolling motor, 30lb thrust got me to around 3mph.

    Don't know the weight capacity, I had an ice chest, deep cycle battery, trolling motor, my fishing gear and myself, probably 300lbs and it could have handled more.

    If you sit on the back the front will rise a bit, but not terrible. I put the battery and ice chest up front and it balances pretty well! I float it down the river standing up with no issues, but keep in mind I regularly bowfish standing in a canoe.
     
  11. Tungsten
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    Tungsten Senior Member

    Hello and welcome,several people have asked the same questions.I suggest you beg borrow or steal a little boat(Jon) then give it a go.This will tell you what you need/want.

    Here's a 9'3" pram 42" wide at the floor done with cheap Baltic birch ply epoxy tape seams and glassed outside.I weigh 240lbs.

    [​IMG]

    I've since sold the boat and built a bigger one as it was just to small for us big guys.

    You mention 'creek' to me this means small, something you'd be crazy to put a boat on.I suspect you mean small river?If so I'd look into a used pontoon boat,with an electric motor on there a hoot.Easy to steer with flippers the motor does the back rowing and your hands are left free to fish.
     
  12. GaryBriggs
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    GaryBriggs Junior Member

    Keep this in mind, 1/4 ply sounds thin and it is, but the water under the boat actually applies pressure against the ply!

    So you might step right trough 1/4 ply if it were floating on air, however when sitting on the water the pressure from the water makes it surprisingly solid!
     
  13. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    If the ply was 6" below water level, the pressure of the water on the external bottom would be about 1/4 PSI greater than the internal air pressure, that ain't much.
     
  14. The Rooster
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    The Rooster Junior Member

    Gary, I had that same thought on plywood being supported by water. It's funny but the more I read here the more I realize my understanding of boats is better than I thought, like for instance, on floatation. I always figured the foam in a boat added nothing for helping to float it, but actually served to weigh it down instead. I found this to be true, it only comes into play to prevent sinking when capsized. So the more I read, the more I see some of my ideas are right, but my lack of experience on wooden boats, and also a tendency to overbuild things to make them stronger, leads me to think 1/4 isn't strong enough. I'm also rough on things at times. 1/4 might be the way to go though. It is cheaper, if we're talking about plain old lauan ply from Lowe's. For the motor mount, why did you put it in the corner and not center it? Due to sitting center when running it, making it easier to reach?

    Tungsten, I mean a creek, sometimes about like a small river, but narrower. I fish two in particular, one is a mile short of being a river (99 miles) but only about a cast length wide in places. The other is about the same but much shorter in length. They both have places where the water is 20' deep, and then within 100 yards they might shallow out to just inches deep, sometimes impassable without exiting the boat and dragging it across the riffle and then reinserting into water again. There are places on both where casting can be done from one shore to the other and never touch water, and also places where two cast lengths together would not span it. Great bass fishing in both though so I definitely want to get back out there. I'm tired of lake fishing. I have a 16' V-hull boat with an 88 HP motor now. Just tired of it I guess. Too many jet skis to fight with, also too many hot headed idiots with bigger boats, more motor, and no sense. You don't see any of this on the creeks. I go all day and see no one else there.
     

  15. The Rooster
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    The Rooster Junior Member

    Mr. Efficiency, if this is right, then my first fear with 1/4 ply would be more founded. I suppose I might make the area where my feet sit a bit more reinforced maybe another layer of 1/4 glued on, like a permanent car floor mat maybe, LOL. Or I might just do 3/8 ply and be done with it. I know I can stand on 3/8 ply from my roofing experience, but even that is supported every 24 inches with trusses. Still, I feel this would be the best choice for me, especially since I have no plans to use any fiberglass on it. The more I think about this boat, the less I care about it being too heavy. I just want it strong and able to handle the load I put in it. As long as I can move it using even a dolly or built in wheels then I think I'd be ok.
     
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