How To Build A Wooden Sailboat
Wooden sailboats are some of the most ancient seagoing vessels and learning how to build a wooden sailboat can be a rewarding backyard project. One of the simplest sailboats to build is the flat-bottom sailing skiff. This sturdy craft can be built in a garage or backyard using common lumber materials. Most sailing skiff hulls are built upside down, then flipped over to finish the interior and rig the boat for sailing. Construction begins with what is called a single center station. A station is a frame in the shape of the widest cross section of the hull. Purchasing a detailed set of plans will help the construction go smoothly.
Things you'll need:
- Hammer, block plane, handsaw and screwdrivers
- Drill and drill bits
- Tape measure
- C-clamps and bar clamps
- Galvanized or stainless steel screws
- Marine adhesive
- Marine paint (bottom and topsides)
- Various sizes of treated lumber
- Detailed boat plans
- Construct the center station, transom and stem. Build a frame in the shape of a cross section of the boat to be built. The station should look like a tapered rectangle, narrowing at the top. Remember, the boat is built upside down. Build the transom with solid planks of wood held together with battens. The transom is a smaller version of the center station, giving the boat a slight taper to the stern. The stem or bow of the boat should be a heavy, straight timber beveled to the angle between the stem and center station.
- Attaching the chine logs and keelson. Fasten two long planks to the sides of the transom and bend them around the center station until they meet the bevel of the bow stem. Fasten the planks to the bow stem. Fasten an L-shaped block called a knee to the inside of the transom inset from the top edge enough to receive the keelson timber. Attach the keelson timber to the top of the knee, bend it over the center station and join it to the bow stem with another knee block.
- Install the bottom planking and skeg. Starting from the stern of the boat, fasten flat planks across the chine logs and keelson to form the bottom of the boat. Work forward, edge butting the planks all the way to the bow. Once the bottom planking is complete, attach a tapered skeg plank on edge over the bottom and through bolt it to the keelson. The skeg serves as a keel to keep the boat moving straight through the water when sailing. At this point, paint the outside of the hull and then flip the boat over.
- Install thwarts, seats and rigging. Thwarts are timbers that run from one side of the boat to the other, keep the boat’s shape and provide bracing. Install the thwarts and attach seating planks to the tops of the thwarts. Remove the center station at this point. Install the mast, rigging and rudder and the boat is ready to be underway.