View Full Version : The new guy!

01-25-2010, 12:14 PM
Hello guy's of the wooden boat forum. I just wanted to introduce myself. I have been lurking for a little while and I have just decided that it is time for me to build my first boat. I will be building it with my grandfather who is a carpenter and a former sailor. But my one question is what is a good begginer boat to build? I was thinking something on the small scale, like a rowboat? Thanks

01-25-2010, 12:54 PM
Good afternoon and Welcome, F daddy.

Here's a two boat plan: start with the Babson Island 14 then build a Goat Island Skiff as your second project.

01-25-2010, 01:50 PM
Hey MiddleAgesMan, thanks alot. That is pretty much exactly what I had in mind. Plus I really wanted to build a sailboat after that. I also really like the skiff your building that is on flicker.

01-25-2010, 02:40 PM
The Babson Island 14 is a nice looking flatiron skiff. But, is it available to build from a kit, only? Because $2k, plus $200-$400 for shipping, is pretty unbelievable for a simple skiff. Maybe if the whole boat was built for you . . . .
What's that - 4-5 pieces of plywood, some epoxy, some glass, a few screws and paint? $600 or so, right? That might even include shipping. Even if you spared no expense or detail, and drenched the whole thing in epoxy and very expensive paint and maybe then added some gold trim, I can't see more than $1000 in materials. It's just a simple flattie, after all.
Even CLC has a kit for their similar Jimmy Skiff for a $1000 less - and it has a sailing option.

Anyway, there are lots(!) of other rowing boat designs, though the Babson would certainly be a good choice, too - if you could build it from plans.
Check out a whole lot of other rowboat options here: http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/r/plansindex/pullingboats.htm

Just a few that I'd consider would be Phil Bolger's Gloucester Gull Light Dory or his Sweet Pea peapod. Jim Michalak's LHF17 or Vireo14 (et al.), Ross Lillistone's Flint, Sam Devlin's Oarling, Reuel Parker's 14' Cape Cod Oystering skiff (in his sharpie book), CLC's Jimmy Skiff, Pygmy's Wineglass Wherry, Platt Monfort's Classic 14, or Ian Oughtred's Elf.

These are mostly simple, mostly plywood designs, some of which have sailing rig options, and some of which are available as kits. Again, there are many others!
Choosing the right boat is half the fun - enjoy!

Dave Gentry

01-25-2010, 03:27 PM
Wow there are soooo many options, and thank you for expanding my first build options. I'm really into the sweet pea peapod by Phil Bolgers and other designers.
Another question is building materials??? The sound of ply wood does not sound that great to me, but then again I am not particularly knowledgeable of the pros and cons of this material.

01-25-2010, 03:43 PM
Plywood is great. All those boats I named (except for Monfort's) are plywood, and they all look good. You can search the forum for lots of info - and opinions - on the subject, but basically plywood is light, strong, dimensionally stable, easy to work with and versatile. I definitely recommend that most people's first boats be built with plywood (or skin-on-frame, but I won't go into that here . . . .).

A particularly nice Bolger Sweet Pea:

Oughtred's Elf:

Bolger's Light Dory:

Uncle Duke
01-25-2010, 03:56 PM
Might want to look at Steve Redmond's designs also - very lovely stuff. I've build 2 Whisp's and they are lovely boats both to look at and to use.
For something smaller, Tetra is also lovely!


Thad Van Gilder
01-25-2010, 04:02 PM
crossplanked skiffs are very easy and cheap for the beginner to build...

and there need be no plywood in the hull.


01-25-2010, 04:18 PM
I just found the "Sand Dollar" designed by Arch Davis and it looked to me to be a good well rounded beginner build that resembles this steve redmond design. Has anyone had any experience in his designes?

01-25-2010, 05:31 PM
I built Sand Dollar as have many others on this forum. Good first boat and Arch's plans and instructions are very complete and clear. I enjoy rowing my boat around the estuary.

01-25-2010, 06:46 PM
i am surprised that tom hill isn't offering plans on the babson. in fact, i think longbow just built one on the forum. regardless, the third boat i built was called "the weekend skiff" and had a very clear, very easy step-by-step book that cost about $19. that included the plans, lots of clear photos, and you can set it up for sail or row, or both. i can't recommend it highly enough, for a first build.

07-16-2010, 10:00 PM
i`m about to send of for plans for oughtred`s ELF for my first build,but i also found this design which seems of the same stamp only there`s no talk of sailing her http://www.markwallaceshipwright.com/gokstad.html

amish rob
07-17-2010, 12:11 PM
I would suggest the first boat you build not be a hand-holder. Build a "real" boat that you must loft and frame and plank and all that. The lofting and lining and spiling and fitting are the arts of the boatbuilder, not the cutting to the line.

It sounds like your grandpa can work wood, and knows at least a bit about boats, so why not dive in?

If you just want to build a boat, buy a kit, or some stitch-and-glue plans and have at it. The important thing here is to have a boat. I'm not denegrating this approach, but it is more akin to puzzle building than puzzling it all out. Still plenty of boat-building to do in the fitting out, but not as much in the hull build. This is like building a boat the second time, after you have all the patterns worked out! :)

If you want to learn how to build a boat, do the whole nine yards. Build something like Richard Kolins' boats (Catherine [sp?], Heidi, etc.) or a Catspaw dinghy if you want to learn, as they are relatively simple boats with loads of well-documented help and instructions available, including books. Or build one of John Gardner's boats. It don't matter if you use solid or plywood, but do the whole thing, from lofting on... you'll learn a lot. The important thing here is to learn to build a boat.

The first boat I built was a skin-on-frame kayak. The frame was based on body size and I didn't ever use a tape measure. I learned how to fit beams, how to steam bend wood, how to fair, and how to push on through. The boat was awesome, and after building it I had no hesitation in moving forward. I've been filling gaps in my knowledge for all 14 years since.

The dislaimer: This is only my opinion, and it is obviously 100% horse manure.