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It turns out there are many considerations that go into making a lapstrake hull a nice thing to look at. The effect of the rubrail (outwale) on the sheer plank will make the sheer plank appear thinner, so I’ve added the width of the rubrail to the sheer plank. The variation of the average widths of the planks above the garboard along the entire length of the boat should be minimized as much as reasonably possible.
Next, the bottom most plank, the garboard, is lined off using a long batten to shape a curve between the fixed marks on the transom and sterm. Once the garboard is lined off, it’s position is marked on all stations and a long temporary batten is tacked on to represent the plank edge. By subscribing to the RSS feed you will be notified when new entries are posted on this blog. DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ.
Ive been drawing a few sketches on graph paper the last few days and ive came up with a 12ft row boat but im stuck on a few things and dont really want to commit trying to build one untill ive all the proper info incase i make a balls of it. Im wanting to know can i make the cedar strips thicker than whats used on canoes just to give it that wee bit more strength. Im only at the desgiun stage but im finding it abit difficult as i think i should be using 3d diagrams instead of 2d which im currently doing. Any help would be great because ive got the itch to build something else after succesfully building a plywood canoe last year. I am thinking the transon will have to be soild plywood to hold it all together thus allowing the use of an outboard engine either petrol or electric. A number of years ago I built a Gillpatrick laker but wanted to make some minor mods to the shape. Sorry if this sound negative, I don't want to dash your hopes but it would be a shame if you put a lot of effort in and were unhappy with the end result.
There used to be another free hull design tool called Carene which is less powerful but easier to learn.
Thanks for your replies ,ill take in everything that use you say however im determined to design a boat and build it out of cedar.
Here below is what im going to do now, ive seen something different online and took a few tips of it and designed this. I personally would buy a set of plans for a boat similar to what you want to achieve, not to use to build your boat but to study the shapes and spacings of the forms, see what they have done.
If you modify what is already a proven design you have the peace of mind that you have based it on something that works and tailored it to your needs.
If you do go with your own design then I would go down the scale model route, you dont need to build the whole boat just the forms and a few strips to see if the lines look right.
Thanks for your replies ,ill take in everything that use you say however I'm determined to design a boat and build it out of cedar.
Yes but our ancestors were building boats on the back of generations of past experience, often going back hundreds even thousands of years. Before I spend any more time on this, could you have a look and make sure I havent made any errors please. Looking at your drawings, they dont look out of place, infact they look like some stations that i see people on teh net working of to make their canoes.
Just had another look at no1 on your drawing, would you think that theres to much of a peak on it. Tumble-home is the term that describes the way that the top edges (gunwales or gunnels) of many canoes curve in towards the centerline. Tumble-home is not used in a rowboat where adequate beam at the gunnel increases leverage for the rower by spacing the oarlocks well apart. The excessive beam together with the tumble-home suggests a craft intended for a specialized purpose, possibly delivering extremely heavy goods such as guns to a ship that involves maneuvering through very narrow and congested waters at slow speeds. In general small changes to an existing, successful design can be made without too much risk.
As stations 4,5,6 are all exactly the same height, there is a corner on the top of station 4. However, if you fix the problems at this stage, you will be much happier when you finish building.


The problems you have here arnt insurmountable, but you really do need to deal with them before you start building.
Have a look at your measurements and modify your sketches with that prog, then come back and I will do my utmost to help you further. When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. The molds are all built with the cross-spall at a uniform height, so that when the rails of the ladder frame are planed straight and level, the molds are all on the same plane. The ladder frame is where it will remain until the planking is completed, and the boat can come off the mold. The base is divided at evenly spaced intervals and lines are drawn from those divisions to the apex. I have gill gillpatricks book with free plans but im wanting to make a few changes if possible to make a cedar strip rowing boat and im wondering is it possible to use these plans as a sort of a guide or just draw up something myself. Im thinking of using teh method gill gillpatrick uses when building his canoes with having some cut outs of ply wood and bend the strips of cedar around these and join with wood glue. My boat is 12ft long and 500mm high and will have a curve at the front and back of the boat but i dont know how much of a curve to put on it. A sharp twist over a short length is hard to handle as you only have the leverage of the width to hold down the edge with a staple, and a strip which twists and bends is worse. You can start at the sheer line, or the keel, or work from the bilge towards sheer and keel. It is intuitive and ideal for designing a rowing hull; if you can find a source on the web I recommend it. I cant see it being that difficult, sure didnt our ancestors build them without the tools and plans we have of today. Does anyone know if it will be acheivable building it with teh same thickness as gill gillpatrick uses with his canoes. I cant see it being that difficult, sure didn't our ancestors build them without the tools and plans we have of today.
You have taken a conventional open canoe design and made it wider to create your rowboat design. It makes it easier to paddle a wide canoe solo, allowing the blade to be closer to the center thus producing less of a tendency to turn, and is very rarely used in specialized fishing canoes. In fact, in rowboats designed for speed which have narrow hulls the spacing of the oarlock is increased by the use of outriggers, where permitted by racing rules.
The narrow sharp forefoot will grip the water, the flat stern will not, and when the boat starts any turn it will tend to slew around, making control of direction difficult or even impossible. This is only a guess and I am quite sure it is not your intention; I merely mention it to indicate that this is an unlikely looking design. In this case you appear to have increased the beam by more than double, chopped off what was presumably a canoe stern, modified the rocker without understanding its function in a boat and changed the purpose of the original craft beyond recognition.
A string is stretched very tightly down the middle of the ladder frame to establish a centerline to align the molds on that axis. Time spent getting the lofting correct, and the station molds accurately built and set up pays dividends soon.
Although there is little change in shape between these stations, we are going to make an additional mold to better support the keelson and planking as the boat is built. After a lot of research, I settled on 4 key aesthetic qualities that I want in the planking. I tried to create a nice flowing curve along the length while maximizing the width of the garboard (within reason) at the center stations. It can be used to perfectly mark out evenly spaced intervals along any length without the use of any math. When i draw my boat on paper, i have a straight line where my gun whales go , is this ok to do or will i have to have the same curve as i have on the bottom.
Check how it will look from various angles, and also draw in the planks to get a feel for how they will bend. Boat design is a bit of a black art, the 3 M?s (math, magic, materials) plus intuition and - for me - maturing experiences that I don?t always want to talk about .
I know my boat isnt going to win any awards for being efficent in all the ways good boats are.all im looking is something that ill be able to stick on my trailer and for it to float and look good.


We're all on your side all the way, and none of us want to 'pee on your bonfire' but modern materials ie decent ply, epoxy, adhesives etc are expensive, so a mistake can be a very costly one. Also when you say about them not being teh same shape and as acurate as mine, thats ok, just as log as i get to have some sort of numbers to work to and that the boat will be ok for the water. It is not used when it is not needed, so it is not found in a large canoe intended only for multiple paddlers who can sit or kneel against the side, or a small solo canoe used with a double bladed paddle.
Rowboats intended for racing where rules do not permit outriggers have narrow hulls up to the waterline which then flare out at the gunnels to achieve the same thing. The upward slope at the stern keeps the bottom edge of the transom out of the water, which is good, but if you take horizontal slices out of the hull, which are called waterlines, you will find that these turn abruptly towards the centerline at the stern.
If you wish to learn and progress in the art of boat design, it is better to study books on the subject, or design and build small boats to learn in less time and cost, attend a college program on the subject or work with a professional.
The rails of the ladder frame were planed straight and true, establishing an accurate baseline for the station molds.
Thanks to some suggestions from some fellow lumberjocks, I took the time to learn more about the process and I’m much happier with the results. Greg Rossel suggests using a paper tape and a diminishing device to mark out the intervals. So, this is helpful to mark out even intervals at each station (especially helpful as I had to do this process 3 times).
The forms were thick card and the individual planks edge glued and temporarily fixed with pins just like the real thing. I've built a small rowing boat and a canoe from their plans and they've both been cracking little craft. Don?t try to draw them to scale, the lines will be too close, a scale plank width of 3 or 4 inches is fine and will alert you to problem areas.
You need to take time to understand the reasoning behind the canoe design and the ways in which a rowboat design is different, not just in the beam and the presence of a transom. If, on the other hand, you simply want an adequate boat that will go together without much fuss and work well in the water and go home on a trailer, there are lots of plans for boats on the web, free and otherwise, that will do just that. The book, Building Small Boats by Greg Rossel, as recommended by DaveR, is an exceptional resource and I basically used the process in the lining off chapter. The paper strip (with the length of the station marked on it) is fitted to a diminishing device and marks are transferred to the strip.
It was a bit fiddly but well worth it because it showed a couple of ugly flaws in the lines. When you think you have it right, take the lines off the half-model and build a larger model to see how the full-size boat will go together. An upturn in a relatively flat bottom is seen in some rowing and sailing skiffs, but those craft are much more difficult to design than their simple lines imply. One caveat; some free plans are ripped off from magazines of days gone by, they may be for adequate but old-fashioned and heavy boats which do not take advantage of the capabilities of modern materials and may need skills to build and maintain that you may not possess. The strip taken back to the station mold and the marks are transferred to the station mold. The mods made were relatively tiny adjustments to the width of the bow and stern and I thought I'd made sufficient adjustments to the adjacent forms to gradually blend in the modified forms.
How much trouble you will have depends on how many shape and construction changes you make to an established design, and luck. Equally at the bow the sharp upward turn of the bottom serves no apparent purpose, and again it will increase drag. So, this gives me a measurement on the paper strip that represents the top of garboard and bottom of rubrail. There are 2 devices overlapping below, one for 7 planks (for the stem and transom) and the shorter one for 6 planks (for the stations). It's almost, if not totally impossible to just draw some shapes and have them produce a nice boat.



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