Work done on-site in cement or masonry; it supports a structure’s load and transfers it to the ground, thus providing stability.
Plank of wood protruding from the base of a wall; it covers the joint between the floor and the wall.
Finishing molding attached to the baseboard where it meets the floor; its cross-section is a quarter circle. Member perpendicular and attached to the floor joists at their ends to form the exterior framework. Member anchored to the top of the foundation wall; the floor joists and the end joists rest on it. Perforated pipe draining water from the soil; it also protects the foundation from frost and pressure caused by wet soil. Bed of small stones absorbing smaller particles found in water to prevent them from blocking the drain; it also keeps the drain in place. Part of the wall located below ground level and wider than the wall itself, which it supports; it is usually made of cement. Wall covering attached directly to the frame serving as a base or support upon which to nail other facings. Instead of wasting your time building a boat you could be at work earning more money, so you can afford the really high-quality glitter on your fiberglass boat, or maybe a hydraulic elevator to lift a plastic barge onto the roof of your car, or something else useful.
There are few reasons to build a wooden boat that make practical sense on a cost-benefit chart, but for some reason lots of people still want to do it. Over the thousands of years that humans have been building small vessels for venturing out on the water, people have created hundreds of different methods for constructing those craft. A more recent technique fastens multiple small wood strips edge to edge and then encapsulates this shell under layers of fabric and glue. You may notice that the title of this book refers to strip-planked boats, yet I often use the term strip-built. Strip-building is simple in concept: bend a bunch of narrow, flexible strips around a set of forms, and cover them with a waterproof reinforcement. Because the wood is encapsulated in fiberglass and epoxy, it is quite certain that the finished boat will not leak, even if elsewhere your craftsmanship is not perfect. Some builders of larger boats use a technique, also called strip-planking, in which strips of wood that are the same thickness as traditional boat planks, but narrower from top to bottom, are secured together with glue and maybe some nails, but they don't necessarily sheathe the wood in fabric and resin. This "composite" structure comprising wood, glass, and plastic overcomes a lot of problems with wood boat construction while giving many advantages over standard modern fiberglass construction.
The lightweight strength of the strip-planked shell is achieved in the same way an I-beam keeps a bridge strong and lightweight. In brief, the process of strip-building a boat consists of making a building form, covering the form with wood, covering the wood with fiberglass, covering the fiberglass with epoxy, covering the epoxy with varnish, and then finally covering the varnish with scratches as you use the boat.
The forms are a series of sections, like slices of bologna, that define the shape of the boat. The lightweight fabric (fiberglass, Kevlar, or carbon) is draped over the prepared wood and trimmed to size. The first ten chapters of this book detail the tasks and methods involved in just about all strip-built boatbuilding projects. Coot, a pram-bowed dinghy, is very easy to build and an excellent first project for anyone the least bit nervous about his or her ability to build a boat.
Nymph is a small solo canoe for double paddle with a few features that make it slightly more complicated, and the building as shown involves a few tricks and special materials. Strip-building a boat lets a beginning boatbuilder create a fully functional boat without a lot of skill. The goals of this book are to introduce strip-building to beginners, to provide new ideas to novice builders, and to help experienced builders bring their work to the next level. The boats used as examples in this book demonstrate a lot of techniques that are useful for building just about any small boat using the strip-planked method. These days there are far quicker ways to get yourself on the water than going down to a basement shop, fooling around with a bunch of weird tools, making a big mess, and spending time being careful to do it right.


It may be that they just enjoy the process of converting a raw board into a mode of transportation.
Lots of projects can satisfy the bug to build things, but there are few projects accessible to the average do-it-yourself craftsperson that you can travel in.
In traditional boatbuilding methods, planks are fairly heavy boards that you fasten to a structure of internal frames, but in the method described in this book, there are no internal frames; the "planks" are very thin strips of wood that, in themselves, represent much of the boat's structure. This technique works well for larger boats that need thicker planking, but for small, lightweight boats, the fiberglass or other reinforcing fabric saturated with epoxy or other resin is a critical part of the building process.
The epoxy seals the wood from exposure to moisture, virtually eliminating the possibility of rot.
Since the wood provides all the structural strength, poor grain can create serious weaknesses. In an I-beam the webs at the top and bottom of the vertical spacer carry most of the force. These forms are secured to a strongback, the supporting structure that holds the forms in their correct location and orientation.
One of my primary tools is an old Swiss Army knife given to me by my grandmother when I was a kid. This is called the "moaning chair." It is there to catch you when you cut your last piece of good wood too short or drill a hole below the waterline.
The last three chapters describe three boats that you can build using those techniques and demonstrate several design-specific tasks such as installing gunwales and seats. As the only fully decked boat of the three, it inherently involves a bit more work, and its cockpit, while highly functional, is also somewhat elaborate.
It lets a novice builder create a beautiful boat without compromising the performance of the result in any way, and an experienced strip-builder can produce a spectacular work of art that is lightweight, strong, and efficient on the water. First I describe the general process and then I provide plans and instructions for three different boats.
You can go out to the local boating store and buy a boat ready to go that will be perfectly serviceable, getting you where you want to go with a lot less fuss and bother. I think there is more to it than just an excuse to buff the rust off their tool collection. Unlike a bookshelf, a boat isn't just another inanimate object; it is a partner in exploring new territory.
The frame usually provides the structural strength of the boat while the outer surface is primarily a means of keeping water out so the boat will float. With strip-built construction, the outer shell provides both the structure and the watertight integrity of the boat.
That's why I use the term strip-built most often, but it means the same thing as strip-planked. Since this book is tailored toward small, car-toppable boats, it assumes all the wood will be encapsulated in resin and fabric. The elimination of fasteners like nails and screws does away with localized stress concentrations that can cause failures.
Because of the way the wood functions in the structure, strip-building is much more tolerant of lower-quality wood and squirrelly grain.
As a result the flange on the outside of the bend is stretched or in tension and the flange on the inside is compressed. If these webs were not separated they would bend easily, but by spacing them apart, they must either stretch or shrink before the beam bends.
This bonds the cloth to the wood, and in the case of fiberglass, the fabric becomes completely clear. Taking a wrecking bar to the house to extricate a finished boat is more common than people would like to admit, but that doesn't mean it is fun.
This piece of furniture is a key tool you will use to prevent taking a chainsaw to your project.
I went all out on the example shown, tricking it out with many optional features--some functional, others cosmetic--to demonstrate how far you can take strip-building if you wish.


There are quicker ways to make your own small boat but few that offer the combination of accessibility for the first-time builder, on-the-water performance potential, and sheer beauty of the finished product. I hope that after reading this book you will have the confidence to tackle building any of the boats I describe, or just about any other small boat using these methods. If you want an inexpensive craft to go fishing in, there are cheaper options available than building one yourself. Creating this partner with your own hands, deliberately fitting each piece in place, bleeding on it, dripping sweat as you proceed, and agonizing over each detail fills the vessel with value.
The frame will often consist of some form of backbone, such as a keel, plus ribs supporting the shell. This monocoque (French for "single shell") structure includes the strength of the ribs and backbone into the waterproof skin of the boat in one integrated, lightweight, and strong piece. While the planks provided some strength, without the ribs supporting them, they would split. On a strip-planked boat, the wood acts as the separator and the fiberglass replaces the web. When the forms have been completely covered, the staples are removed and the wood is smoothed with scrapers, planes, and sandpaper. Remember that almost everything can be fixed if you spend enough time sitting in the moaning chair to come up with a solution. The quality goes beyond the strict physical appearance because even rather ordinary-looking boats are attractive when built of wood. If all you really want is a pretty wooden vessel, you may be better off getting someone else to build it for you.
In strip construction a “monocoque” shell provides both the strength and the watertight shell.
While first-time builders may have trouble building a boat that looks exactly how they want, it is very likely that they will build a boat that performs the way they want. Because the fiberglass and epoxy are perfectly transparent, the full beauty of the wood shines through.
This means that for a given weight of material you will be able to make a stiffer panel from wood than any other material. Strip-built construction works the same way, with the fiberglass taking the place of the flanges and the wood acting as the web. After smoothing the inside of the boat, the inside is similarly reinforced with fabric and epoxy. While strip-building is a pretty fault-tolerant means of making a boat, it is inevitable that somewhere along the way you will make use of the moaning chair.
Wood grain lends an eye-catching complexity to a surface that simply can't be achieved with synthetic materials. The thin outer planks are reinforced across the grain with fiberglass fabric secured and sealed in place with epoxy resin. It is the nature of the strip-built method that big mistakes are hard to make, and little ones don't hurt. Although wood is soft and easily scratched, the layer of fabric and resin protects the surface. Varnish not only enhances the appearance of the boat but also protects the epoxy from sun damage.
On the other hand, building a boat is a break from a world of instant gratification and impending deadlines. The shell may be in the form of planking, or in the case of traditional kayaks it may just be a layer of sealskin. You will probably end up bleeding or with a painful splinter at some point during the project.



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