How To Build A Row Boat

This is the easy way to learn how to build a rowboat. A small rowboat can be completed in a weekend. Once you become proficient with how to build a rowboat, of it, you can modify this basic model with accessories or build a larger one with the things you decide are important to enhance your experiences with your rowboat.

Items needed:

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Saw
  • Oar brackets
  • Oars
  • Wood
  • Two sheets of marine 4’x8’  ¾ “ plywood,
  •  one 4’x8’ sheet of 1” plywood
  •  2 –  2” x 8” planks
  • 35’ of 1”x1”s
  • Marine epoxy
  • Fiberglass
  • Marine paint
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves (optional)
  • Paint mask
  • Fan (optional)
  • Zip ties
  • Drill with ¼” drill bit and Phillips screwdriver
  1. Set down on paper exactly what you want the rowboat to look like when you are done building it. Be very specific. This is where you determine length, width, strength of the boat (how many people will it be carrying, and how many people will it take to carry it, etc.), and how much of each item you will need.
  2. Cut the 1” plywood for bottom according to the specifications in step one. It should come to a point in front and flat at the back. Be sure to wear protective eye wear, and follow all safety protocols.
  3. Cut the sides from the 3/4'” plywood. If you cut one of the sheets of ¾” plywood exactly in half lengthways, you will have your two sides.
  4. From the last piece of ¾” plywood cut a 4” x 4” piece of wood. This will form the back of the rowboat.
  5. Once all of the pieces are cut, sand all rough edges left from saw. This will prevent gaps once the rowboat built.
  6. Lay the sides one at a time on top of the plywood. Mark where the holes that you will be joining the sides to the bottom, and the sides to the front. Repeat for other side. Using a drill, drill out the holes where marked
  7. Thread sides zip ties with corresponding hole on the bottom, up the sides and ends. Zip ties provide stability until you can get it secured with the inner wood pieces and fiberglass.
  8. Install seats. These will provide comfort as well as support boar side to side. A small 1”x1” piece of wood attached to the side just below where you want the seats located will save time and effort during installation.
  9. Everywhere there is a joint; use 1”x1” wood to screw the joints together. Use the epoxy to seal the joints and prevent leaks.
  10. Secure a 1”x1” piece of wood above the seat to attach the oar brackets to the boat securely using screws.
  11. Attach oars. Be sure you have a flotation device on board.
  12. Allow to dry completely before use.
  13. Use fiberglass to seal all joined areas. You can also fiberglass the entire boat if so desired
  14. After you have let everything dry, you are free to paint the rowboat. Make sure that you are out of the wind and are using a paint mask, goggles, are in a well ventilated area.

Have fun using your hand built boat!


  • If the plywood you are using will not flex well enough to have a pointed bow, you can use a piece of ¾ inch plywood cut to 4’x
  •  You want to keep the sides low and the bottom as narrow as possible for maximum stability.
  • Be sure to use good marine plywood for this project.
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