Instructables
Picture of Cheap One-and-a-half Sheet Plywood Boat
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Want to go sailing or fishing, but don't have the money to buy a fancy new boat? Well, you've come to the right place! Like you, I am also a wannabe sea captain on a tight budget. You won't learn how to build a luxury yacht here, but you will have a unique, durable, little boat at the end of this tutorial, and you'll have fun making it--buying complete products is so yesterday.

Those who have lurked around this site regularly will know that there are many Instructables that teach boat-building, but I wanted to build a boat that drew its inspiration from Chinese style fishing boats. The design is loosely based on some images I have found online. Although Chinese fishing boats are usually long and narrow, I had to adapt the design to fit the low cost of this build--I only have a budget of about $150, which includes wood, resin, etc. The end result is much shorter than traditional Chinese fishing boats and is made from different materials. The boat I will make has a similar shape to western canoes, except the stern and bow are flat instead of tapering to a point. This design makes the boat more resistant to larger waves and splashes, but at the cost of some speed. Anyway, enjoy!
 
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Jobar00713 days ago

This boat is similar to the dory hull form: narrow bottom with steep, flared sides. They do best when heavily loaded and from your experiments you've confirmed this. Another option to hauling things around would be to just dump water into the bilge when you put her in. 10 Gallons (~40 L) would weigh around 83 pounds (~40 Kg). When done, turn her on her side and empty the water out. If you don't want to get wet, build in a water ballast tank.

Jim L.5 months ago

i think if you were to add about 6 inches to the width of the bottom of the boat design you might find those stability issues answered.

Jim l.

Nice design! I built our boat out of two full sheets--one 5/8" and another 1/2" and then we fiberglassed ours. Holds up like a champ, but I'd a bit thinner next time around--the fiberglass does a lot for strength.
dydaying (author) 11 months ago
OMG! I just checked the container-- that was so clumsy of me! Thank you for catching my mistake. I was so excited that I just assumed that fiberglass resin is epoxy resin. I'll update the Instructable right away. Thanks again!
Jobar00711 months ago
Just so you know, you are using polyester resin and not epoxy. Polyester resin is less expensive and has bonding problems with wood because it doesn't soak in once it starts to kick. The key give away is the drops to ounces part. Epoxy is more like a 1:1 to a 1:5 mixing ratio of catalyst to resin. Polyester resin is fine for small boats and boats that aren't used on a daily basis.

Thanks for the write-up. I really like the design! That's also a clever idea for the paddle.