Aluminum Boat Fishing Conversation and Restoration

Picture of Aluminum Boat Fishing Conversation and Restoration

Epilog Challenge VI: I have entered this into the Epilog challenge please vote on it if you like the build. I would use the laser to help me with some really cool projects like laser cut wood objects, led illuminated signs, engraved tile and much much more. As an engineering student I have programmed Epilogs before.

I recently bought a 1985 14' Blue Fin aluminum boat that I thought would convert well into a small fishing boat. My plan is to use the boat to fish for pan fish and walleye. The main objective in my conversion was to create a large, flat, and sturdy deck area in the middle of the boat to stand on and cast from. I also wanted to add storage areas for fishing equipment and boating accessorizes. Last but not least, I wanted to enhance the overall appearance of the boat. A .GIF file above shows the overall process and the steps involved with the process. I am not a professional craftsman by any means, but I do have a good amount of experience with the common tools used in this build. All drawings from SketchUp have been modifications of I used the original model and edited it. Thanks to studioberger for sharing there file. .

Time: 30 - 60 hours

Cost: $200 - $450 (Excel file with my cost is attached - approximately $400)

Circular Saw or Table Saw
Jig Saw (aluminum and wood blades)
Drill Bits
Tape measure
Staple Gun
Orbital Sander
Screw Driver
Utility Knife
Microfiber Towel (optional)
Polishing Pads (optional)

8X1-1/4 Exterior Screws w/ bit (1lb)
9X2-1/2 Exterior Screws w/ bit (1lb)
1/2" x 4' x 8' Plywood (x2)
2" x 2" x 8' SPF Furring Strips (x8)
2" x 8" x 8' Fir Larch
3' x 5' American Flag
Ace Hardware 15-oz. Flat Gray Cold Galvanizing Compound Rust-Oleum
Painter's Touch 2X Primer
Ace 15oz International Blue Gloss Rust Stop Machine And Implement Enamel Spay Paint (x2)
Ace 15oz International Red Gloss Rust Stop Machine And Implement Enamel Spay Paint (x2)
Ace 15oz White Gloss Rust Stop Indoor/Outdoor Enamel Spay Paint (x3)
1-1/16" x 48" Brass Hinge (x2)
1-3/8" x 2" Brass Hinge (set of 2) (x2)
Painters Tape
3/8" T-50 Staple 1250 pack
Miscellaneous Fasteners
Exterior Carpet (6' x 15')
Exterior Carpet Adhesive (1 Gallon)
1/16" x 1/16" x 1/16" sq Trowel
Flush Pull Large Black (optional)
Rod Holder Black (optional)
Cup Holder Black (optional)
Sand Paper


Safety Glasses

Painting Mask

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BruceBurr1 month ago

Outstanding...I'm going to do that to my little boat. THX

amrcnsldr1 month ago

I have a 10ft jon boat, do you think I would be able to do something like this to it?

UdyRegan3 months ago

I’m going to have to agree with a lot of the guys here about using carpet on a boat! It just doesn't seem like the best of ideas given how water can seep into the storage compartments below and totally soak the material!

stbatch6 months ago

Instead of carpet I used truck bed liner paint which is black then painted it with silver paint to keep it cool. It lasted about 3 years before having to repaint it. I was surprised it lasted so long and we used the boat a lot. Got to say yours looks great. If I can't sell mine this year I may try this myself.

sk17016 months ago

I have a 14 ft Aluminum Craft boat from the 80,s this sounds like a really good winter project

Instead of using carpet (which hooks can get stuck in and bait can make smell), use a clear polyurethane on the wood and throw some sand in it before it dries, then top coat over the sand. This will give a high traction surface that can be washed down.

granato.m (author)  NitroRustlerDriver7 months ago
Thats really cool idea. The carpet I use is short and a non looped ply. This helps keep hooks from getting stuck.

How sturdy is the front casting platform? how about the middle section of the boat? if you were to stand and cast how much would the boat wobble?

granato.m (author)  jacob.singleton.7167 months ago
You would not want to stand up front and cast it would be too tippy. The main deck would be fine most fishing. I have cast from a few times and it is no bad at all if your standing in the middle.
dmadam7 months ago

You just gave me a new project. An uncle passed away and left a '60's featherlite 16ft that we were going to sell but now maybe not.

granato.m (author)  dmadam7 months ago
Sorry to hear that. I really enjoyed doing this project and it might be a real cool way to remember you uncle.

I am now officially on the hunt for an old aluminum boat! Great job!

granato.m (author)  agentmoller0017 months ago
It's a blast to do and use. Good luck finding one and doing this if you choice to.
BOFH_27 months ago
I made the mistake of using regular plywood when I replaced my center board in my boat. I even sealed it with an an oil based sealer and it rotted. look for a product called MDO. It is made for marine applications.
granato.m (author)  BOFH_27 months ago
I did some research before doing this and have read that some people have done this without marine grade wood and have not had a problem over an extended time. I would have love to use marine grade plywood but it is 3 to 4 times more expensive.
Andsetinn7 months ago

Even though IMO you went a little bit overboard with the decorations, this is a really nice looking boat. The layout is nice and I especially like the space in the centre. It's almost a patriotic party boat.

Carpets, even exterior carpets, are hard to keep clean and mildew free in a fishing boat environment. With the extra deck it will also be hard to get rid of the water that will collect in the bottom unless you add a bilge pump. I think it's also better to make sure to use marine grade plywood.

granato.m (author)  Andsetinn7 months ago
My next steps are to add a bilge pump and navigation light so I can fish at night. The bilge pump is not necessary for me because I only have it in the water when I am using it.
richard17267 months ago

I did this exact project, no live well, but I did include a 7' 2'' rod storage locker and two swivel fishing chairs on a 12 foot Al boat.

The boat was so heavy it would no longer come up on plane, increased HP from 9.5 to a 15 HP. Still way too heavy to come up on plane. Then I stripped everything including the Al seats and floatation. We now fly around the lake sitting in very comfortable, cheap, plastic chairs and life jackets. In the very unlikely case that we tip over one of our fishing floats will unreel and mark the sunken boat for retrieval.

granato.m (author)  richard17267 months ago
I plane out just fine still with one just me or two of us in the boat. I only have a 9.9. The area for the rods extended under to front and rear seat so I can store 8' plus rods.
Cueball217 months ago

Very nicely done!

Did you consider spacing the supports that take the place of the middle bench seat a little further apart? Looks like they might become hazards for tripping when landing a fish.

Also, why did you not drill holes in those supports and use them as rod holders? Looks like a natural to me.

Great job! Thanks for sharing!!!

granato.m (author)  Cueball217 months ago
The reason I used that spacing was I use the holes created from drilling out the middle seat. I also thought about making them in to rod holder by either drilling holes or buying rod holders with the foam but they are too close together.
malaprop7 months ago


tofu9117 months ago
Excellent work. I like your before and after in 1 pic too.
This is so cool and creative great job
BenjiDaa7 months ago

Great job!

MonolithFab7 months ago

What a fantastic labor of love. I'm sure you turn some heads and start conversations with that boat. Great job.

Chance2187 months ago
I have a 12ft v-hull that I'd like to do something like this too but I'm concerned about it being back heavy when sitting in water, is there a way to make it set higher?

If by set higher you mean float higher out of the water, you would lighten the hull/load. If you are just concerned about the stern, you need to move more weight to the center of the boat. Move fuel and batteries amidships. Sit further forward of the stern and use a tiller extender. You could also build flotation chambers off from the stern that are rigidly attached to the hull that flank the outboard. They do make your boat longer so you have to register it as a longer craft though.

Wolfhound67 months ago
Assume boat, great job!
aspica757 months ago
Very nice work
Great pics and instructions