Step 1: Shopping for Material
1 Sheet of 4x8 15/32 Plywood Sheet
Depending on the size of your workshop and the tools available to you, you may decide to have the store cut the 4x8 sheet of plywood for you (as we did) - just make sure they cut it right (as we did not) - it will save you trimming and increase you freeboard later on.
Step 2: Cutting out the parts
1 - 24 inch by 96 inch sheet for bottom, bow and stern - this part we further cut into three parts:
1 - 18 inch by 24 inch part for the bow
1 - 12 inch by 24 inch part for the stern
1 - 24 inch by 66 inch part for the bottom
2 - 12 inch by 96 inch sheets for the sides - will be further cut to match the angle of the bow while assembling
3 - 1 inch by 2 inch by 8ft boards for supports - cut to size
1 - 1 inch by 3 inch by 8ft board for trim on bow and stern
2 - 1 inch by 2 inch by 8ft boards for deck - cut into 24 inch planks and then threaded with 550 paracord for deck
Step 3: Assembling the Boat
I began by attaching one side to the bottom first. After this I attached the stern and here is the order I followed (not sure it matters but this was the way I did it):
- Left side to Bottom
- Stern to bottom and Left side
- Right side to bottom and stern
- Bow to Bottom and both sides
- I then used trim (1 x 2) at all the joints to give me something to screw into
The last items I attached were the 1x3 trim parts on top of the box and stern - these were added as much for looks as for an easy hand hold for carrying.
I also made a change to the seat design that he had used on his boat. Because my son is about 100 pounds lighter than I, our ballast in the boat needs to be arranged in a much different manner. He can sit much farther back than I without taking on any water in the stern. For this reason I used the 1 x 2 boards strung together and laid in the base of the boat on the 1 x 2 rails. We can slide this front to back without any issue. I also was not comfortable with how high his seat sat and feared it would create a too-high center of gravity in an already wobbly boat.
Step 4: Sanding, Sealing & Painting
After we had a nicely sanded boat, we went a bit wild with the Silicone Sealant. This is not a bad thing as this is basically what keeps the water outside your boat and you dry. I gave the Silicone a good 24 hours to dry before I applied any paint.
After the Silicone has dried, you are ready to paint the boat. I used a Valspar Latex Enamel paint. We applied three coats to the outside surfaces of the boat (green in pictures) and two coats to the inside surfaces (tan in pictures). between each coat I waited the recommended time for drying and sanded lightly.
Now that I have had it in the water, I will put another coat on at the water level for some added protection.
One thing to note is that paint does not adhere well to Silicone so where ever your sealant is, your paint will not look very good. This is more cosmetic than a problem.
Step 5: Maiden Voyage
As you can see from the pictures, the boat does okay. It is by no means a speed boat or a stable boat but it is fun and it can displace quite a bit of water (held about 400 pounds and still had just over an inch of freeboard).
This is a much better boat for someone my son's size and handled quite well. When I got in and my cousin, things went a bit wobbly but were still enjoyable. When we both got in we were having flash backs of the Titanic!
My next test will include a very small electric trolling motor for some fun.
This was just a fun project to do and I thank Make Magazine and Derek “Deek” Diedricksen for posting it.