Instructables
Picture of Building a Little Row Boat
This was my first attempt at building a boat. It's done in the stitch and glue style. I read pretty extensively on the subject and tried the techniques on some scrap plywood before doing this. I'm not going to get into the stitch and glue method specifics, but if you have a question about it ask and i'll tell you as much as i can. I'm not going to try to list all the stuff you need...just some. More will come out as i go.

1. Tools (saws, drill, etc.)
2. Time
3. Money
4. Basic woodworking skills

I didn't have an official plan to go by. I knew about how wide and how long i wanted to make the thing. I wanted to be able to get all the main pieces of wood out of standard 4x8 sheets of plywood.

I learned quite a bit doing this and will try to add as many tips and such as i go. The first is that mostly everyone will suggest using marine grade plywood etc. but i did not. This boat is not built for posterity. It was built for the challenge of doing it and to do a little bit of lake fishing. If it lasts 2 years i will be more than happy. I have used it and it is functional. Not all that pretty, but i bought cheaper materials. If you want it to look nice then at the least buy sanded ply.

If you're concerned about costs then here is tip one. Do not employ the stitch and glue method. Its basically a way to avoid having to be a good wood worker. You can have rough sloppy cuts and still make a go of it. The idea is that you're using epoxy fiberglass to weld a bunch of plywood together. For my second boat I am using lumber to join the sheets together and i will probably save myself several hundred $'s. Epoxy is EXPENSIVE and i probably saved myself a lot by practicing the method. And for gods sake use epoxy. Polyester resin will do the job, and its much cheaper, but its really finnicky to mix and the fumes are extremely toxic.

System Three Epoxies has a "book" called "The Epoxy Book" which i highly reccomend. Give it a look.

http://systemthree.com/members/m_index.asp

Lastly while I was not working off a strict plan, you should at least have an idea of what you want. I went to local lake and rented a row boat. The sides, back and front were about 16" high and about 4' wide so i decided to use those dimensions. And the sides and back were to be cut from a single sheet so it could only be 8' long max. So now to make a box 8' x 4' x 16" with some tweaking to make it boat like! Lets go...
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
1-40 of 64Next »
lowpro (author) 10 months ago
To al_packer my point was more that you shouldn't avoid getting into something like this just because you don't know what every part is called.
glorybe4 years ago
         I think you did quite well for working inside an apartment. Perhaps some Silkaflex putty would be easier than stitch and glue. Also exterior house paint is far less expensive and as you are not keeping the boat in the water it may save you quite a bit of money over the epoxy paints.
lowpro (author)  glorybe2 years ago
Yes to the paint. Unless you are storing it in the water exterior house paint will suffice at a tenth the price. As for sicaflex I've never used it but it is rumored to leach bituminous substances in its wake. Also I'm pretty sure it's a sealant only. It may not provide any strength to the joints.
al_packer lowpro11 months ago
Sikaflex 292 is a high-strength adhesive sealant, possibly tougher than 3M 5200. When we had to remove aluminum frame windows that had been installed with 5200 on a fiberglass pilothouse the 5200 was stronger than the fiberglass. I'm using some Loctite PL Premium Construction Adhesive on my latest project. I expect to know how well it holds up in about 10 or so years.
al_packer11 months ago
Actually, no, nautical terminology is what it is, not to discourage or frustrate the novice, but to make communication perfectly clear in building and in operating your boat. A good site for explanation of many terms is http://www.seatalk.info/ And, yes, there is the credibility factor: which term would make you more credible when talking about your project--"top thingy" or "sheer clamp"?

While I'm on my soap box, let me expand the discussion a little. There's an old saying that "a man can never have too many tools". Well, language is the tool kit of the intellect. The more words you know and can use, the more complex the ideas you can create. If you don't have the proper verbal tool set in finance, for example, you're dead meat when you come up against a stock broker or fund salesman. Without the proper verbal tool kit in home construction and real estate you're totally handicapped in trying to buy or sell a house.

So, in conclusion, I urge you to take the time to pick up the basics of nautical terminology. If you're like most people, once you build your first boat you are soon going to want to build something bigger and better. Have fun learning and building.

darth2o5 years ago
So how long did it take you?
lowpro (author)  darth2o2 years ago
In the grAnd scheme of things? Not very long.
lowpro (author)  darth2o5 years ago
about 3 months. there were a couple of delays. with complete devotion and unlimited funds you could pull it off in a couple weeks.
worty245 years ago
The butt part is called the transom
lowpro (author)  worty245 years ago
Since posting I've learned about Transoms, Chines, Gunwales, Bow, Stern, Rudders, Keels, and others. While I appreciate learning these things as I have since designed 3 more boats and begun building another, I maintain that the names of these things are not required knowledge for the successful completion of such a project. If you plan to try this, or something similar and seek the advice of an expert they may become agitated if you are not familiar with these terms. In such cases it does speed up the process if they can say chine, instead of "the joint between the bottom and the sides" each time. Some though, when discussing benefits and drawbacks of certain methods will assume they know better because they know what its called. As a side note I read an article discussing 100% acrylic latex house paint for use on boats. The paint I used was purchased in a marine supply shop, and cost about $75 for a 1 gallon tin, and was labeled as specialty marine paint. Anyhow the writer of the article mentioned that exterior house paint is subjected to the elements 365 days a year, and generally will last 5-10 years. Stands to reason that it would be most suitable for a small inexpensive boat, and probably a lot cheaper. I know (now) from experience that anything deemed "marine use" will likely cost at least twice as much as items deemed "home use". Live and learn.
mgalyean lowpro5 years ago
Exterior house paint can work fine on a small boat that is kept on the dry mostly. The expense of the marine grade is not so it can stand up to water, but so it can resist plant and animal growth, like algae and barnacles. The main factor is whether the boat will be kept on the dry when not in use or left in the water at the dock. As for terminology equating to expertise, I think that maybe, just maybe, though you may find many slinging terms that aren't necessarily wiser, the same could be said of the new generation of "internet DIY'ers" that think that just because they insist on inventing everything from scratch doesn't necessarily mean they are smarter or more creative. Boatbuilding has been going on in nearly every culture for tens of thousands of years and is steeped not just in tradition, but in know-how. Personally, I respectfully listen to and store away whatever the olde schoole guys have to say and forego weighing it until my experience in the area outweighs my theories. I really like your instructable, by the way!
lowpro (author)  mgalyean2 years ago
I always listen. Always. I guess my point is more that you shouldn't be intimidated by someone who knows the lingo. It doesn't make them smarter than you. It does make them more experienced. Even idiots can acquire experience. They usually don't though. As stated, boats are steeped in tradition and know how. What you want is someone who knows why things float and has been at it all his life, but never forgot why it tickled his fancy to begin with.
KitKat21 lowpro5 years ago
excellent observations my dear Watson. I agree with not knowing every single piece of terminology about a subject to be able to do it. And, yes, i had the same exact experience with "experts" when i'd ask them for help. they were never kind, always trying to belittle my attempts (sometimes outright refusing to teach me) to learn because i hadn't memorized all the jargon BEFORE getting started. LOL! I can understand where that frustration comes from, but since then i've vowed to never become one of thoooooose people. I learned to do lots of things this way, and yes even picked up the proper lingo after some time. regarding the latex paint fiasco, you can pretty much count on ALL supplies pertaining to well-known and popular hobbies (like boat -making) to be overpriced because of the demand and popularity of such items among the hobbyists (is that a word). so it would be a good rule of thumb to ALWAYS look for similar tools that are used in other types of work, or generic versions. buyer-beware of those over-priced items!
lowpro (author)  KitKat215 years ago
hobbyists better be a word
lowpro (author)  KitKat215 years ago
Watson?! Thats slander! Yes. Yes anything people want for any specific purpose costs way way more. And yes there is almost always a viable alternative. The only thing I will say in the defense of experts is that they are exactly that. I'm a hack in a lot of ways and whenever i see a master at work I am floored. (see "Building a Greenland Kayak") Knowing the terms does not make you an expert by the way. I've heard it said that Jimi Hendrix couldn't tell you a C chord from an F sharp minor. Anyhoo...I fear that labeling an expert as an A-hole may incriminate me if I ever reach such a level of any of my hobbies. I doubt hendrix would like it either. (again don't quote me on it, but i've met some terrific guitar players who never took a lesson. some day i'll play night moves perfectly!) So, what was my point? Oh yea. I'm sorry you've found "experts" disagreeable. I have too. I just try to keep in mind that a lot of modern education centers itself on being a part of a community before being let in on the secrets of that community. And from what i've gleaned about the field of communities and creating a subculture for said community, the linguistics of a particular group and the use thereof tends to imply you are part of the gang and not a threat. I find it obscene that people can't openly share information, but i fully understand that it might make them feel like their well being via their trade might be in jeopardy. Especially if someone who's so rookie might be "catching up". P.S. Watson says...Down With Experts!
defanatly true, although sometimes it's unavodiable plus, "marine" paint is also meant for salt water, not in and out lake rowboats and marine wire is sometimes tined, which i think makes it more salt resestaint, thats the name of the marine game in my book, salt water and salt resestaince.
lowpro (author)  smithy8135 years ago
when it comes to marine electrical SPARE NO EXPENSE!
Re experts and terminology. yes you can build a 100 ft yacht and sail it all over the word, and never learn the jargon. no doubt about it. yeah there are experts who have zero patience if they have to stop and think ( translate) what it is you are trying to say when you do not know the jargon,. there are also a LOT of people who are very patient. When it come to building a boat. I'm a newbie as well I am working on "an available materials for the landlocked" design my self so I can relate. Here is what I found that was most helpful to me. look up a web site that post sailing glossary to have ready access to terms. it helps when you want to do a search online for things already posted or so you can figure out what it is someone is saying. Doing this I have found that I do not have to be asking experts for information already posted all over the internet. another thing I have found to be invaluable is to look for yahoo groups related to your topic. I have joined and regularly read the daily digest to about 6 - 10 yahoo groups. I just skip the threads of no current interest to me. so it goes pretty fast. by doing this i find helpful advice from folks all over the globe who have forgotten more then I will ever know and mentally pigeon hole things that will be useful when I am ready for that part of my sailing career. Hope this helps someone. Smooth seas
lowpro (author)  UseDaGreyMatter2 years ago
Very good advice. All of it.
Anthrogeek2 years ago
Nicely done!
stormy03142 years ago
Check this Out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHvyUkTTsLM&lr=1

Very good guide. Also check out some of the modified john boats on the internet.
harrykee2 years ago
That was a very funny read.
Did you manage to build bigger badder number 2, or do you still live in the same apartment?
I've been looking at stitch and glue and I certainly do not want to spend hundreds of pounds on epoxy. How would you join the pieces strongly enough to stop them coming apart in the middle of the lake?

Wade Tarzia5 years ago
Well explained. Welcome to the Precocious Fraternal Order of Apartment Boat Builders! And if such an Order does not exist, then it should.
There was a fellow in Florida that built a huge private plane inside his mobile home. He had to cut the end off the mobile home and pull the plane out and then add the wings. This plane had a huge radial engine and was far from what most people think of as a small plane. What a huge project that fellow took on and with great success.
lowpro (author)  Wade Tarzia5 years ago
It was actually you're intstructable on the sailboat that inspired me. Best one i've read to date, and it has made my life better! Only problem is i want to build another. and a kayak or canoe as well, for when i go fishin on my own. i have since been accused of having boat OCD, and gotten a few compliments on my renegade ways of building a boat in my living room. HIGH FIVE!
Glad it worked out. Might as well have a boat for each day of the week. All that air over your head in an apartment is wasted space, so you could hang them from the ceiling on inventive cranes. I myself was inspired by a photo of someone lowering their boat out of an 11 story NYC apartment building window. Later I saw a photo of a bolt-in-two kayak in a Wooden Boat magazine, and then that was it, it had to be done.
lowpro (author)  Wade Tarzia5 years ago
thats effin awesome. makes me wish i wasn't on the ground floor. i was originally going for a bolt together pontoon boat about 15 feet long and 6 wide. i started it and realized how much it was going to cost. as far as building in my apt, i pay for the space and should use it how i like.
For a first try you did GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
rowerwet5 years ago
to save money when building a small boat like this, don't go the two part epoxy route, save your money and go with polyuethane glues (I have used PL premium) make sure it says it is waterproof, use exterior grade house paint. unless you are building a work of art type boat epoxy is expensive and marine paint is also, your boat can sit out side upsidedown using the cheap route as these building materials are designed for rainy days for your house. Marine grade is for a boat that will sit in the water for weeks at a time.
alsafi5 years ago
make it more adventures by using a motor & fan on back or in the botom side of boat.bye!!
ninite5 years ago
Good job, thanks for sharing this,I am going to make this boat with my grandson.
drawe215 years ago
I recommend doing the epoxy work outside with good airflow, it is toxic and flammable. If you are forced to do work inside (any room) open windows and close doors to other rooms to keep the fumes out. (may want to mask off air vents and returns to keep your HVAC system from returning the air to all rooms in your house) Don't touch the light switch it sparks on the inside, BOOM... Safety First
lowpro (author)  drawe215 years ago
In high concentrations it can be dangerous. I opened my windows. As far as explosions are concerned, thats called fear mongering. I agree safety first, but the vapours are not really flammable or explosive. If possible, work outside obviously. Basically the biggest danger is in mixing too large of a batch. The process of "setting" is called polymerization and it produces heat proportionate to the mass. In extreme cases this can start to smoke or even ignite a paper cup. As stated at the begining of this instructable, read up a little first. I have provided a link to a tutorial/manual on epoxy use which has a lot of safety info. Also, chemicals sold in the US or Canada have MSDS's (Material Safety Data Sheets) available on line or from a retailer when requested. Read these whenever you are unsure of what you're using or even do so if you think you know it all. different manufacturers tweak their recipes possibly creating different hazards. As a side note, polyester resin is another story. Epoxy resin is so popular due in large part to the fact that its fairly benign. Polyester resin is not. Its far cheaper but the fumes are EXTREMELY toxic. Even moderate exposure to polyester resin fumes can cause damage to the nervous system. Also, polyester resin's ability to bond to wood is dependant on many factors including the moisture level of the lumber. Epoxy wraps itself around the wood fibers, so while i wouldn't want to epoxy to a soaking wet board there is a much greater success rate at this building method with epoxy. Long story short, polyester resins (such as bondo) may be less expensive as a resin but generally cause more problems than they solve. USE EPOXY RESIN!
dciocoiu5 years ago
on lake ontario do you need an floating licenc?
A friend and I did this same thing. We did it in a shop... I can't imagine working with the fiberglass in an apartment...
lowpro (author)  bigtreehouse5 years ago
when i was in grade 4 a girl i liked said i was like macguyver. guess i never got over her ;)
KitKat215 years ago
this is on my list of to-do's now. i've never even thought this could be possible to diy, learned alot from your mistakes. thanks for posting
lowpro (author)  KitKat215 years ago
you're welcome. watch for my table saw, and my kayak. you'll probably learn a lot about what not to do again lol.
You probably said and I just missed it, but do you know approximately how much this cost to make?
lowpro (author)  Lithium Rain5 years ago
hmmmm...about $100 for lumber, but i overspent. (or overbuilt) probably $150 on epoxy putty. $200 for fiberglass tape and unthickened epoxy. $75 for paint. $50 or so on the oars, and oarlocks. I didn't keep close track of my costs but i wish i had. Some tips to save some money would be to use 1/2" ply for the center brace, front and transom, 1/4" ply for the sides, use the center brace piece that was removed as the rowing seat, get a better mating between the two bottom pieces (used a LOT of putty in there) Or make it a flat bottom boat, set the width in the middle with a seat/brace. I have a lot of fiberglass tape left over too. If you can, only buy as much as you need. I would guess-timate the seams as costing about $20/foot. Also buy 100% acrylic latex exterior house paint. You could also make your own oars? I also wonder if I could have used 1/4" ply for the transom and front as well as the sides. If I had I probably could have gotten all my pieces from 1 sheet of 3/8" and 1 sheet of 1/4". It might not be as strong initially but if you added some decent gunwales it would probably be pretty solid.
1-40 of 64Next »