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I'm new around here - having just bumped into the forum this evening - but want to share something. The story so far: starting out from complete scratch, I've started building myself a very small wooden boat. Below I've included some pictures of my progress, as well as my 'plans', which are really just a quick sketch. I plan to make matching oars for the boat, and possibly add an electric trawling motor, which should propel it at a good clip. In terms of actual construction, I've used Spanish Cedar (Cedrela odorata) and African Mahogany (Khaya ivorensis).
I'd love to hear if anyone has comments or questions, and I'll try to keep this thread up to date with any developments, but the weather is still a few weeks away from cooperating with me. Location: Eustis, FL If that blue line does represent the immersed volume it would be in the 700 to 800 pound range which is so over loaded it'll swamp in anything other then a still swimming pool. I was pretty satisfied with the projected displacement - but ultimately have no experience. Location: Brisbane What would make you think that a boat less than 10 feet, built of light wood, would weigh in over 600 lbs? If you plan on rowing this puppy, build as light as you can and trim the boat with the transom clear of the water. There is only one problem: you're getting me all excited to try it out, and it isn't ready yet! Location: Eustis, FL Your trolling motor will only push the boat to about 4 knots which is within it's displacement speed envelop, meaning yep, the transom should just clear or be slightly kissing the water underway. You will not really have an idea of how things will work until you splash her and preform some trials under power and oar.
The boat is now outside (has been for a week or two - hasn't turned into a mass of splinters due to humidity, either) and I've started all the messy stuff. In the coming weeks I'll be adding trim, gunnels, etc., then flipping it over and doing seats and the like. Keep in mind that it'll be 'dry sailed' (only in the water a few hours at a time) and that I want to keep as much water as possible away from my adhesives. Location: maine Polyurethane, by your description, that which is used to cover floors, and which is clear rather than being a paint, is not thicker than varnish.
Assuming you want to get a clear finish, the varnish has a UV protective additive that won't be found in the polyurethane.
You could lay down some plyurethane and protect it with varnish but why go to asll that trouble when varnish alone will do the job? Then you'll have more protection from the sun, which quickly turns polyurethane to a yellow hazy powder.


If you start with spar varnish, (as it is properly called), you'll have to do at least 6 coats and probably 8. It's your boat, however, so varnish away if you must, but be aware you're making a purse from a sow's ear, which is fine, but you may want to know the truth, and save a few dozen hours of hard labor. Location: Eustis, FL Polyurethanes cure much faster then traditional varnishes.
To be honest, I'd been trying to stay clear of epoxy, but I guess I'll be giving it another look now.
I like the suggestion of epoxying the hull and inside bottom, and then finishing with another clear finish. When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. I have not tried a wood boat yet, Have tried lots of wood things, interior and exterior, Hard wood and Soft wood. I have done a few wooden boats over the years with Soda, but always found it was still to aggressive and revealed the grain to much. Ya, The lead paint thing is a big issue right now with everyone, House painters are going crazzy right now. The boat I looked at is a 1953 and was completely striped in the early 80's with pictures to show that it was done.
If I only knocked off the first and second pass, it was not bad, but when going back to get the little paint chips and missed spots is when it ripped up the wood. I feel that the boat would be the same way, one to two passes and the rest will have to be stripped by hand. Perhaps you can put on a layer of chemical stripper first, or even multiple layers over several days, then blast to remove everything. I think if the wood was a hard wood like oak or something a quick sand after would be fine, beats sanding the paint off. I'm sure the sides look like clapboards on a house, but wonder if this plywood vinier is acually Ply wood like at HD or something?
Alot of wood boats nowadays have plywood skins with a thin layer of glass (epoxy coated) over them.
Images are free of charge for both commercial and personal use in websites, printed materials and products, under an attribution license. I have a little project going that might be appreciated around here - or, quite possibly, picked to pieces!. Really, there is nothing in my past to indicate I'm capable of doing such a thing, but, being a little bull-headed when it comes to looking things up like a responsible person would, I've just plowed ahead at pretty much full steam. I've actually got the entire haul planked over the frame (such as it is) and am now ready to do some finishing.
I'll probably use some white ash as well, as I can get it locally in long lengths and for a good price.
I'd done a very rough calculation (ignoring both the rake of the sides and the curve of the bottom) to determine the displacement.


It is also misleading in that the actual boat is closer to 9 feet long, as that let me build without having to scarf any of the planks. All this will take a while, but I've started to think more seriously about how to finish the boat as well. Spar Varnish is regular varnish, but with more UV inhibitors, which makes it appear with a more amber glow on wood. I know someone who has built several stitch and glue kit boats, and am familiar with the basic principles of epoxying a boat.
I'm a pretty heavy guy at around 210lb, but even with another passenger and a bit of lunch (plus the boat, which is pretty light) it should be OK in calm water. Does this advise remain the same when using an electric trawling motor, or is it specific to rowing? Polyurethanes are generally superior to regular varnish in moisture protection (by a few percent), but are harder to repair or touch up when the time comes. Regular varnish is a different animal and application is more of an art form, subject to lots of debate, technique and methods.
You might need to build a motor mount that is vertical or raked aft to get decent performance from the motor. I think I came up with about 600 lbs (so, you're pretty much right on the money there PARR - especially when you consider I ignored the fact the boat gets wider near the top). 600lb was the figure I came up with for how much weight (boat plus cargo) it would take to bring the waterline half way up the sides of the boat, not how much I projected the boat would weigh.
It has also been suggested to me that I use spar varnish, as it will go on a lot thinner, won't run so bad and setup quicker too. This is a problem since my success on these will hopefully help propel me to a position where I can one day, hopefully( a big hope) own one of these. I would putt around the many coves of Moultonborough Bay in my 14′ Starcraft with a 20HP Johnson and I would discover a new beauty to dream of owning one day.
When Dad was feeling flush we would take a boat ride out of Weirs Beach in what they called a Winnepesaukee Racer and the ride was the most incredible and exhilarating experience of my youth. We probably took a ride after that and got some pretty good air off the chop of the often turbulent lake waters.
Durning my short stint in great land of Ohio, I went out dozens of times in both vessels to Put-in-Bay. The movie is worth not seeing not for this though, but rather the two best faces ever to star in one movie.I had the pleasure of helping to restore a Chris-Craft Sedan like the one in this link.



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