How To Build A Small Boat
If you would like to have a boat but it just isn't in the budget right now, you could learn how to build a small boat in a couple of weekends for around $200.00. Building a small boat can be accomplished with a few tools and supplies. This small boat is lightweight and can fit in the back of your pickup truck. Once you see how easy it is, you will be tempted to build one for your buddies when they envy yours.
To build a small boat, you will need:
- Two sheets of 1/4" plywood - marine is best but exterior will do
- One sheet of foam
- Four 1" x 4" boards
- Four 1" x 2" boards
- A saw
- A work table big enough to hold an 8 foot boat
- Zip ties or wire
- Epoxy or resin
- Fiberglass cloth and tape
- Disposable gloves
- Caulk gun
- 2 tubes of premium caulk
- Drill and screwdriver
- Respirator or mask for working with fiberglass
- Cut two of the 1" x 4" boards and 2 of the 1" x 2" boards into 5 foot lengths. Cut the 3 foot leftover pieces of each into 6" lengths. Use these as reinforcements for the transom and bulkhead.
- Cut 6 inches off the long sides of the first piece of plywood. Cut a taper off one end of each 6" pieces, starting at the edge and angling down to 3 inches. Cut 3 feet off the end of the other piece of plywood. Cut a 26" by 48" section out of the middle of the remaining piece of the second sheet.
- Mark a line 35 1/2" wide from the center of the board. Mark 6" up on each side of this line bowing out at a 45 degree angle. Mark an arc along the top connecting the 6" sides. This is the transom.
- Cut 6" straight legs on the bottom half of the 35 1/2" wide board. Using the transom arc as a template, trace the same arc on the bulkhead. Cut the center out of the bulkhead, leaving a 24" opening with 5 3/4" side legs, and about 2" along the top. Reinforce the bottom and outside edges of the of the transom and bulkhead with 1" x 2" strips, and reinforce the center top of the bulkhead with a 6" section of 1" x 4" board.
- Attach the transom at the back of the first piece of plywood, and place the bulkhead 5' forward of the transom. The 6 inch pieces attach to the sides of the transom and bulkhead, forming the sides. Carefully bend the front of the pieces together, forming the nose of the boat. Drill holes in each side and hold the pieces together with wire or zip ties.
- Use the 3 foot piece of plywood to cover the area in front of the bulkhead. Carefully bend the plywood toward the sides, once again drilling holes and pulling the pieces together withe the ties. Use the two 5' lengths of 1" x 4" to connect the transom to the bulkhead. Frame out the box of the cockpit area with the remaining 1" x 4" boards. Attach plywood from the frame to the sides. Use the last piece of plywood to cover the back. Glue the foam together to stuff into the back and front for flotation.
- Fill all the joints and seams with caulk. Using your gloved hand, run a finger along each caulk seam to smooth it and fill any voids. Allow the boat to sit overnight, or until the caulk is holding it nicely together. Remove the wires, cut off the excess, and fill all the holes.
Cover all surfaces of the boat with fiberglass cloth and resin, taping all seams and joints. Do the bottom first and allow to dry, then turn the boat over and fiberglass the top, overlapping the fiberglass on the bottom section. Use your respirator and have plenty of ventilation.
- Paint your very own masterpiece! Take it out somewhere safe to test for leaks. This is a fair-weather, shallow water boat, but take a flotation device to be on the safe side. Have fun with your small boat!