Instructables
Yes indeed, it is possible to build a boat without fiberglass or epoxy.
I can hear you now, those that gasp in horror at such a notion, but believe you me it works.

This instructable demonstrates the simple construction of a scow. While all construction details are drawn from others plans and instructions the overall shape is my own making.
Most scows have straight sides, resembling a box, mine however has curved sides, making the process of building only slightly more difficult.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: Materials

The instructions given may, in places, not correspond to the actual boat that I made. I took several sets of instructions and used my discretion to combine them into my project. The intent of this instructable is to pass on knowledge in order that you yourself may be able to construct something of your own. So in places I may inject or suppliment some information or process that I may have not used but that would be beneficial to those reading this instructable.

On to the stuff you'll need:
Prices change every day so I'm not going to list any.

Wood, pine or cedar may be used throught except where noted. I got my lumber from Home Depot.

- sides. 2 peices as clear of knots or defects as possible. mine were 10 feet long pine 10 inches wide.

- planking. (goes on the bottom) do the math, at 10 feet long you'll have to cover a little over 120 inches for this project and it's a good idea to buy a little extra. take a calculator when you buy your lumber. 6 inches seems to be the preferred width for bottom planking but 5 or 8 inches will do just as well. They should be about 3/4 of an inch thick and at least 4 inches longer than your boat will be wide. Also with these you want them to be as free of knots as possible.
I bought some cedar fencing boards that were on sale, they were 5/8 of an inch thick and 8 inches wide and 6 feet long. so needing to cover 120 inches with 8 inch wide boards means I needed 15 boards. Because my boat is only 3 feet wide and tapers to 2 feet at the ends I had a few leftover boards.

- keelson. (this will go inside on the bottom) it needs to be longer than the sides because it will be curved. the one I bought was a pine 1x5 12 feet long

- middle seat. a pine board supported by cleats. you'll need a board 3/4 to an inch thick and around 6 inches wide or wider. Also two peices 12 to 18 inches long and about 2 inches wide for the seat to rest on.

- end seats or decks. just use leftover planking, or buy extra, to cover the topside of the ends with 2 boards each.

- ends. 2 peices of oak an inch thick and 6 inches wide will be needed. They should be as long as you want your boat to be wide, minus the thickness of both sides. You may also choose to cover these with another peice of cedar or pine.

- forming brace. (This is needed if you intend to curve the sides as I did. If you're just going to leave the sides straight you don't need this) Ideally use a peice of hardwood as wide as the sides and as long as the boat will be wide. I, however, just used some pine scraps that were long enough.

- knees. (if your boat has straight sides skip this) these are peices that will go into the corners to add strength. you'll need 4 peices of 3"x3" oak about an inch thick.

- Oars. (assuming you make your own) there are plenty of instructions on these so I won't provide one.

http://www.bateau.com/free/simple_oars.html

http://www.instantboats.com/oarmaking.htm

http://www.users.zetnet.co.uk/cbrown/pdlemk.htm

http://www.wcha.org/paddles/

http://www.diybob.com/oars.htm

http://www.outdoorlife.com/article.jsp?ID=21009548&typeID=663&categoryID=0

http://www.woodcentral.com/cgi-bin/readarticle.pl?dir=smalser&file=articles_425.shtml

http://www.amateurboatbuilding.com/articles/howto/oars/oars.html

http://www.nfdc.net/home/cbdb/barquito%208.htm

Tools, others help immensely but these will get the job done.

- tape measure.

- saw. a simple hand saw will work

- plane. you can usually find a little one at hardware stores fairly cheap

- hammer.

- 2 peices of rope. at least 6 feet long

- paint brush.

- metal putty knife or flathead screwdriver

Other Supplies

- paint. You could go the expensive route and use marine grade and anti-fouling bottom paint. But face it, this is a cheap boat. Exterior latex house paint will do just as well. Two coats of white exteroir latex primer followed by at least one coat of your preferred color is enough. A dull grey, lead color, is suggested for the inside and a darker color of your choice for the outside.
You'll also need a small can of white oil-based paint for caulking.

- paint thinner.

- caulking. for those of us that don't live in a boatyard this is actually just cotton that will be wedged in the seams of the boat. This can be procured from marine supply stores or you could just go down to Walmart and get Peaches and Creme brand worsted weight cotton yarn in whatever color you choose (it won't matter you can't see it).

- putty. The instructions I looked at said to putty over the seams but were otherwise inspecific about what that was. I just used some wood filer from the hardware store because I didn't know better at the time. On further research I would suggest roof calking, the black tar-like stuff. you can find it in a tube or sometimes in a big gooey bucket.

- saw horses. three words people; convient working height. you can do all this on the ground but it's much easier on your back if you lift the boat up about 3 feet.

- 5d (pronounced five penny) galvanized nails. about a pound and a half should be enough. I just bought a box.

I think I covered all the basics but if I missed something it'll show up in one of the steps.
1-40 of 82Next »
rshang1 year ago
Hey, you really did AWESOME job!! Love your masterpiece ;-)
Schmidty161 year ago
does it leak how much wait will it hold and would this maby make a ok survival raft
notjustsomeone (author)  Schmidty161 year ago
Your sentence structure is almost as poor as your spelling, bordering on incomprehensible. However, to answer your questions; I don't know exactly how much weight it will hold, no it will not be suitable as a survival raft or stored tender or lifeboat, and yes it will leak unless kept in the water. This type of boat is best suited for calm, protected waters and requires constant maintenance.
ok
pfiddle3 years ago
I was involved in Irish currachs tar covered lightweight boats. I was also the researcher and as such I covered (literally) ALL sorts of boats from light skiffs to a 45T Donegal double-ender. I was also a painter by profession for 20yrs.
This is a project I would consider within the scope of any DIY enthusiast. Well done. Very clear concise instructions. The jaunty sail sets it off wonderfully - though I'd suggest you use a lee-board to stop yaw/drift.
One tip I'd give - and it will settle ALL discussion on caulking. As soon as the boat is ready sink it for a few days. This will cause the wood to swell (helped if you use undercoat only on the interior as that allows the wood to breath) the swelling will seal all 'gaps' and it can be done more than once as the sides dry out and take in water.
A fair wind to yo lad.
glorybe pfiddle2 years ago
One of my least favorite things in this world is hot roofing tar. It is dangerous in many ways and one drop of sweat and flying tar will hit you every time. Surely there must be some modern tar that does not require radical heat to melt and use. I have felt the bite of tar as it penetrated my flesh.
notjustsomeone (author)  glorybe2 years ago
Ya, just but roofing caulk. It's pretty much the same thing but does not need to be heated and comes in convenient tubes.
kleinjahr2 years ago
Nice job on a traditional craft. Speaking of which, whilst Beard is excellent, Gardner's Classic Small Craft is superb. Anyone interested in traditional boats should read it. His dory book is pretty good too.
Dig around through here for all sorts of projects, boats included. http://chestofbooks.com/index.html
For a skiff look around for, How to build a Brockway skiff by Timothy Visel(lost the website sorry)

For those wishing to build in plywood, yes you can. Use exterior grade for cheapness, marine grade if you can afford it. Use Payson's simplified chine log method to avoid end grain problems, nails and screws don't hold so well in end grain. Frame around transoms with 1by 2 or 1 by 3 leave enough proud so you can bevel it.
Could you use a large sheet of plywood in place of the planks? Seems like this would reduce the amount of caulking required. Very nice project. I'll have to try making a boat one of these days. I like your simple plan. Thanks!
Plywood doesn't swell like planks do so the sealing would not be as good between the bottom and sides..
Sika Flex adhesive caulking may be sent directly from heaven. Not only will it hold a craft together it is also paint friendly and its easy to work with as well.
My current thought is to build a cross between a John boat and a canoe. In other words it would in essence look like a long narrow box with the bow sloped and the stern at 90 degrees from the flat hull. Following waves can be a real problem here and a sloped stern is an invitation to get dunked. I have even seen boats here used for rescue in heavy surf that have flotation built into the floor and large holes cut in the sides so that water always sloshes around on the floor. It is tropical here and wet feet aren't an issue and these rescue row boats would launch from the beach against 10 foot waves and self bail while the life guards rowed to the vessel in distress. They were about 12 feet in length and built wide with fairly high sides so heavy pulling on long oars was the norm.
notjustsomeone (author)  Eternal_Tristan6 years ago
ya, you could use plywood for the planking, it'd probablly be best to scarf it together unless you can find a 12' sheet.
then again plywood goes crazy if it gets wet.......so make sure to seal it GOOD
Kynan4th4 years ago
i love this little boat, and i want to make one, but living in britain thers not many lakes or rivers i can use, an i have to sail in the sea, and launch from a surfing beach, what modifications would you recomend, also i am only a teenager so im gunna have to build this thing on whatever money i get from christmas, any suggestions on cheapening it up?
Your lovely nation is not the best place to learn ocean boating in a small, home built, boat. You have cold water, rough water and currents and tides that are notorious for troubling sailors.
Start in a lake or small river and before you muck about in salt water get with experienced folk and learn before you leap. I live in an area where the sea is usually tranquil and yet I've seen a canoe with two strong young men being blown out to sea while they paddled frantically trying to reach shore. If a motorboat had not been near by those guys would have perished and they were only a couple of hundred feet from shore. As a matter of fact if they had the sense to lose the canoe they could have almost walked back to the beach. The ocean is a cruel teacher at times.
exact same situation as me, have u found good plans?
well, some kinda sailfish clone would work. and shouldnt be too heavy on the pocket
notjustsomeone (author)  Kynan4th4 years ago

The basic hull design of this boat was intended for rivers and calm lakes, I wouldn't suggest taking this into the ocean, not saying the modifications couldn't be made, but it would increase the cost of builfing it.  For something along the same lines of construction I'd suggest a sharpie or dory, check out this book for similar boats that may be better suited for your purposes.

For launching in surf I'd go with more of a canoe-type craft, maybe a proa or catamaran.

im currently trying to assemble this boat but before doing so i wanted to make sure id be able to transport it. what is the boats approx. weight? can it go on the roof of a car (mini-van)? thx
notjustsomeone (author)  boatsforsong3 years ago
As I said somewhere else here in the comments, this is a heavy boat. It will weigh well over 100lbs (and only gets heavier once on the water), so perhaps you're thinking should not be so much as can the car handle it, but can you get it on top of a mini-van?

The way I transported it was to pick up one end and set it on my tailgate, then lift the other and slide it into the bed of the pickup, only about 3.5 feet. With two or three people you shouldn't have any trouble getting it on top of a car, though what you do with it once it's up there is completely up to you.
SIRJAMES093 years ago
AWESOME!!

call me lazy, or call me a simple man, but I would have used canvas & fiberglass resin anyway. I guess my reasoning is because I'm not that talented when it comes to working with wood. fiberglas & resin I have experience with....but that is just me.

Getting back to the boat, You did great! Everything was explained really well, the pics helped a bunch, & I think this is a boat that even my uneducated fanny perpendicular could build.

TY for sharing Sir. 8=D
splazem3 years ago
Wow, great instructable!
How tall was the mast?
notjustsomeone (author)  Zeppelinfreak3 years ago
Because the rig used was a sprit sail, the mast was equal to or just shorter than the length of the boat. If you intend to use another rig, you may choose to alter the mast height and consider standing rigging.
What was your original mast made of?
notjustsomeone (author)  Zeppelinfreak3 years ago
As stated in the instructable the first mast, that broke, was cut and shaped out of a 2x4.
I also am wondering if you need a gaff when using a triangular sail or can you just tie a rope to the head and hoist it that way?
notjustsomeone (author)  Zeppelinfreak3 years ago
You should look into the different types of sails and rigging before asking questions that don't make sense.
How do you licence a homemade boat with the DMV?
notjustsomeone (author)  Zeppelinfreak3 years ago
you'll have to check your local regulations. for a craft of this type it may not even be necessiary.
Did you use that cotton for your sails?
theexpert3 years ago
one mod you may want to do is angle the bottom for compartments so it can go in rocky waters without to much fear of sinking and you could use them as storage to but you have to angle the bottom but thats not to hard to do
LePyro4 years ago
WOW! I am STRONGLY sonsidering building this boat, just some questions, 1. What is the weight capacity on the scow? 2. Can regular "window" caulking be used?  and 3. What is the total time and cost for this build?

Thanx a bunch
LePyro...
notjustsomeone (author)  LePyro4 years ago
As far as the actual weight capacity, I have no idea, nor have I calculated it's displacement. Personally, I would hesitate to put any more than 800lbs in it, ever.

No, don't use window caulking, use roof-cauling, the black tarry stuff.

For the non-siling version construction shouldn't exceed a week or two maxium. You should be able to knock up the boat in one day, the rest is painting and water-testing. Additional time may be needed if you rig it for sailing. I didn't include costs because of the wide variability of lumber and hardware prices, however, you can expect to spend $200-$300. Of course, the cost can go up or down depending on where you get your materials and their quality.
hmmm... good instructable but unless I missed it, it seems like you didn't give appropriate credit to D.C. Beard and his book. Pretty much anything novel from the boat came form the book. Especially the snotter. I've never heard of it outside of the American Boy's Handy Book. But any way you did a good job of putting it to a more modern context with more detail.
See http://www.friend.ly.net/users/dadadata/short/sci_am/scow_1876.html.

If Dan Beard was "Paddlefast" then this was published in 1876.

P'fast then went on to describe other boats:

http://www.friend.ly.net/users/dadadata/short/sci_am/skiff_1876.html for example.

As for the "snotter," that predates Dan Beard by centuries. There are a dozen or so ways to rig a snotter. Not to be confused with skinning a cat.
notjustsomeone (author)  Metalcaster145 years ago
That is undoubtably where I got the idea, I don't know if I reference it in the instructable, but I certainly did before constructing the little boat. If you liked the short section on simple boats from that book you should check out http://www.archive.org/details/boatbuildingboat00bear .

The American Boy's Handy Book is excelent and I think every young american boy should have a copy. Another author from about the same time period worth mentioning is A. Russell Bond. I think their work, along with many others, inspired an entire generation. I wish more current authors would encourage and motivate older children to use the simple skills and tools available to them to build purposeful things. For example I reciently bought a copy of "The Dangerous Book for Boys" by Conn and Hal Iggulden as a gift. I was rather dissapointed by it's concentration on "culture". It seemed to come off emphasizing observing rather than doing and leaving everything to someone older and more experienced. Anyway, I'm digressing, but do check out their work and by all means share it with your children.
rowerwet5 years ago
for the "modern" version of this boat, built with ply, and polyurethane construction adhesive (in a tube like caulk), that will weigh much less and not get heavier with water, go to mouseboats@yahoogroups.com. free plans, many different lengths and sizes all quick and easy, with sails, oars, or paddles, a great group of builders, and the designer Gavin Atkin who monitors the site and will answer your questions. I have built two of these boats so far, and more may be on the way.
rbodell5 years ago
When you assemble the Pieces, put "Liquid Nails" construction adhesive on all joining surfaces before fastening them. There won't be any leaks at all.
ANDY! rbodell5 years ago
DONT, i heard it sucks. use expoxy.
1-40 of 82Next »