How To Make A Home Built Jon Boat

If you want to get on the water, but don’t have your own boat, it could be a great help to know how to make a home built jon boat. Whether you’d like to do some fishing on the local ponds or cruise up and down the river, a good jon boat is a utilitarian workhorse that fits most all the needs of a small water boater. Use the following guide to make a jon boat of your own.

Supplies you'll need:

  • 50 feet of cyprus wood
  • 40 feet of mahogany
  • Ten feet of pine (optional, for bench seats)
  • Cement coated nails
  • Flathead screws
  • Waterproof caulk
  • Sandpaper
  1. Start by cutting the sides. The mahogany boards that will make up your sides are going to be affixed in one piece, so get the mahogany in the length that you want your jon boat to be. To start, cut off a triangular piece from both ends of your sides, generally at about a 30 degree angle. This will keep the front and back ends of your home built jon boat out of the water and make it much easier to steer.
  2. Cut the end boards. You’re going to need four of them in total: two for each side, and two to reinforce each side. Since you want your jon boat to be wider at the top than it is at the bottom, you need to cut a triangular piece off of each side. Again, a 30 degree angle works well. This will allow you to attach the sides at an angle, and make your jon boat much more stable by cutting through the water instead of sitting on top of it.
  3. Attach the sides and ends. Use the flathead screws to hold them together, keeping the sides on the outside of each end. When they’re attached, use a generous amount of waterproof caulking to seal your jon boat up.
  4. Cut the cyprus wood into floor boards. It’s not absolutely necessary that they fit the boat perfectly, because you can always sand them down after they’re attached. To get the floor of your john boat in place, first apply resin glue to the bottom of the frame you’ve made. Then, lay each floor board and nail them down with the cement nails. Make sure all cracks in the jon boat’s floor are sealed with waterproof caulking.
  5. Attach your reinforcing ends, reinforcing inside boards and the keel. The keel, in case you’re wondering, is a fin that runs down the middle of the boat’s bottom. It helps to cut the water and make your home made jon boat more maneuverable. To attach the keel, use the flathead screws to secure it to the bottom of the jon boat’s floorboards. The reinforcing ends go on the outside of the front and back and are simply nailed to the end of each mahogany side. The reinforcing inside boards, meanwhile, are thin strips of wood that you affix to the spot where the floor meets the sides with screws, and seal with caulk.
  6. Test out your new home built jon boat. Before getting in it, float it in a small pond to see if there are any leaks. If it doesn’t sink, you’re hard work has paid off, and you’re the proud new owner of a self made jon boat. 
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