View Full Version : What was the first boat you built?

08-20-2008, 05:52 PM
This following topic comes up often, "I am new to this and am looking for my first set of plans, any advice?"

So I wanted to make this topic easily searchable, and then if you have built a boat that someone is interested in they can track you down and ask some questions.

My first two boats were One sheet skiffs, ACX and epoxy. http://www3.sympatico.ca/herbert.mcleod/skiff.htm

Why, because the boat I want to build intimidated me, a 16' goat island skiff. I learned a lot about epoxy and bevels and using a plane and got used to my tools again without screwing up $100 sheets of plywood. Now I have some confidence in my limited skills and ability to finish the project. In fact, its turned into a sick addiction.

Both skiffs do double duty as bookshelves and occasionally go fishing.


In short, I took the advice of someone here and built the tender first. next spring I will have a picture of the GIS pulling the OSS.:D

08-20-2008, 06:36 PM
The first boat I built was the 16'3" Modified Swampscott Dory from Gardner's Building Classic Small Craft. Epoxy-ply, batten-seam, gaff-rigged, fully-decked.

Why? I wanted to build the 21' Alpha-Beachomber from the same book but didn't have room.

08-20-2008, 06:47 PM
a lengthened "Pootzie" from a magazine article.....

08-20-2008, 06:56 PM
A 7 ft pram made from doorskins, fence cedar, epoxy and ring nails. Served as a tender for Fiddlers Green for 6 seasons. Then someone stole it.

- Norm

08-20-2008, 08:12 PM
Six hour canoe, which took me more than 6 hours. :D

The Bigfella
08-20-2008, 08:14 PM
Corrugated iron, single sheet canoe. Fold it up and nail a batten into each end. 30 minutes (hey - kids work slower)

Rob Hazard
08-20-2008, 08:29 PM
"Skimmer, a sturdy plywood kayak" from "The Boy Mechanic" published by Popular Mechanics back in the late '40's. My dad and I built it over the winter of '61, with a bit of help from a college student named Dick Shew.

I wonder if he remembers that?

LOA 12' Beam 32" weight ~70 lbs.

Todd Bradshaw
08-20-2008, 08:35 PM
An 18' Hazen-designed "Nanaimo" wood-strip double kayak in 1973 or '74.


08-20-2008, 08:44 PM
In the late '70's (ninth grade) I built a little plywood runabout from a kit (which I think came from Glen-L). My first kitless adult boat was Monk's 12' skiff.

Incidentally, my OSS also does double duty as furniture--my five-year-old sleeps in it. It is still a usable boat.

Dan McCosh
08-20-2008, 08:57 PM
Not sure if it counts, but at about the age of eight, I worked with my father to convert an 8 ft. pram into a sailing dinghy, installing a centerboard trunk, mast, etc. The pram was a kit Chris Craft. I adopted it, and learned?? to sail.

Lance F. Gunderson
08-20-2008, 09:01 PM
H.H. Dynamite Payson suavely talked me into building one of his 15'6" P.C. Bolger Surfs. I had a lot of fun building it and the effort was croniceld in Payson's book "Instant Boats."I sailed that little boat for several years and eventually sold her to a fellow down on the Vineyard, where I guess she still resides. The effort instilled in me a profound respect for Bolger, and really fine master builders like D.C. Bud McIntosh and Gordon Swift.

Tar Devil
08-20-2008, 09:04 PM
CC14 canoe...

08-20-2008, 09:28 PM
In the mid forties, a 7 ft thing built from door skins, with a transom to hold the one horse Sea King my Dad had. It even had a fore deck.
A one person (kid) rig of course.

08-20-2008, 09:50 PM
!950's, older Indian named Joe had a small boatship I passed by everyday on my way to and from school, built small punts around 12 to 14 ft . Two boards of pine on the bottom, sides were about 8 inch boards with tar for sealer, nails for fasterners, use to stop everyday and try to help him, he was kind of a Dad to us kids and always had a smile and a joke. Always bugged him about a boat, I lived on the river and loved to fish, then finally one day went to see him and he had a plie of lumber laying on the floor, he said "There is your boat" all I had to do was build it. Well, with some help from Joe, a 10 year old boy got his first boat of pine slabs and tar launched, painted it green, and after 40 years of wooden boats that will always be my favorite .
PS Joe married a very wealthy woman and that is why he could afford to run a boatshop, he died in his late 90's with a 36 year old wife. So there is always hope for us boatbuilders.

The Bigfella
08-20-2008, 09:57 PM
Nice story. Just as a matter of interest - was the 36 year old the wealthy one - or did she come along later and marry a weathy widower?

08-20-2008, 09:59 PM
my first boat was a millcreek 13 kayak from clc boats. It's still not completely finished. My second boat is a 17' poulsbo which I am still building after about 22 months and taking my time to finish hopefully by March or April of 2009.

08-20-2008, 10:44 PM
A 7 foot one sheet slap it together with wood glue and nails dingy to muck about in on the river near where I lived, I was 12 then :D

Then at 14 years of age I built a 12 foot Aquanaut sloop skiff from a kit.

08-20-2008, 10:47 PM
8' Naples Sabot. 2 boats, 3 sheets of ply.

08-21-2008, 06:48 AM
In the 1950s -16' Bolger type dory from plans I found in a magazine for free. I built her of lumberyard plywood and scrap wood found in neighbors garages. Lotsa goop, and many different types of nails held her together. Borrowed my dads jigsaw, hammer and screwdriver. Did her all myself when I was 12. When dad finally saw the boat (he was a drinking man) he bought me the oars and locks. She held together for two summers of hard use as a Michigan surfboard (cold water you know). Last I saw of her, she was being towed out to a nearby island to be burnt at a BBQ. I did not care by then as I found a new interest: GIRLS;)

08-21-2008, 07:25 AM
I lashed together 10 driftwood logs and hoisted a square sail. By the time I crossed the lake to my parents cabin in North Ontario I was knee deep. That was 36 years ago and I am still swamping boats in chilly northern lakes.

08-21-2008, 07:39 AM
When I was 5or 6 I got into my father's shop and started poking around the plywood scrap pile... The resulting "boat" looked like something a 5 or 6 year old would draw. A rectangular box with a slanted bow. Dad helped me make a pair of oars out of a broom stick and a couple of plywood blades. We painted it a sort of off white with leftover eggshell enamel. The next weekend we took it to the "yacht club" and put it in the water off one of the floating docks. I climbed in and it sank like a rock.

Ron Carter
08-21-2008, 07:44 AM
Chris Craft 8' pram kit. About 1954. Hand drove every brass screw on probably 1 1/2" centers. 54 years later the boat is long gone but the carpel tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow I started cultivating on that boat are still with me. Small price to pay for a lifetime addiction to boating.

08-21-2008, 08:10 AM
GlenL17 sailboat. Probably 25 years ago. Too dumb to know that wasn't the ideal way to get into boat building. Learned a lot the hard way:eek::eek:

David G
08-21-2008, 08:29 AM
I lashed together 10 driftwood logs and hoisted a square sail. By the time I crossed the lake to my parents cabin in North Ontario I was knee deep. That was 36 years ago and I am still swamping boats in chilly northern lakes.

Similar to mine. Probably 1961 or 62. Driftwood logs lashed together with cables, ropes, alder branches, etc. Chunk of plywood nailed on top. A group of us youngsters would pole it around Youngs Bay (mostly mudflats), swimming, fishing and exploring. Every so often you'd hit one of the small channels (Lewis & Clark river & Youngs river) that drained through Youngs Bay into the Columbia river... and drift till you could pole again.

One day we lost that raft. Hit a channel and never saw shallow water again. Out into the Columbia and headed toward the bar. The six of us aboard argued about swimming to shore, or hoping we'd drift there. Finally, with the bar in sight, we shuched our shoes, and swam to Clatsop Spit.

Old fella in a pickup truck found us trudging barefoot through the sand dunes and effected a rescued. We didn't know him, but he knew us. We all piled in the back and he delivered us to our respective doors. I was the last one. He said, "I know your Mom... she gonna pitch a fit when you come home all soggy, with no shoes?". I said, "Nah, she's used to it". Gotta love small towns.

"I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened" -- Mark Twain

08-21-2008, 08:29 AM
35 years ago I built El Toro #8344. I still have the sails, rigging, rudder and daggerboard. The hull wasted away due to neglect. Built El Toro #8500 out of glass when I summer jobbed at Hapco Marine right after that and still have her. Ready to sail...


Rational Root
08-21-2008, 08:33 AM
A wooden pallet with four rusty beer kegs tied to it. Powered by a long stick in a shallow river.

We had our first man over board. Rob was soaked from head to toe.

Ah, the good old days.

Brian Palmer
08-21-2008, 08:41 AM
I built a couple of log rafts, too. But the first real boat was a Bolger Elegant Punt, built when I was 14.


08-21-2008, 08:49 AM
An amusing attempt at a DK14 kayak fromWB mag, about 20 years ago. Couldn't get 1/8 ply so used 1/4 luan that wouldn't take the required bends. Kept modifying it until it became a semi-decked canoe with little initial stability and less reserve stability. Still managed to take my son paddling a couple of time. Eventually sold it to a friend for all the money he had on him, $2.15 (does that make me a professional boatbuilder?). Last time I saw him he said he still takes it out to a local lake and gets lots comments. I didn't ask as to their nature.

Dale H
08-21-2008, 08:56 AM
An Oughtred "Acorn 8" dinghy.



08-21-2008, 09:45 AM

A Glenn-L dory that was so tippy I added a pontoon.

Of course that doesn't count the oil drum raft my brother and I made a long, long time ago.

08-21-2008, 11:01 AM
The first boat was the Beede Summerbreeze:


08-21-2008, 12:13 PM

08-21-2008, 01:04 PM
My first and current boat is the Pochathontas:

Were almost done lofting and were about to build molds.

08-21-2008, 01:18 PM
CC14 canoe...

I hear it looks almost a good as when he first launched it 'cept for maybe some dried fish guts:D
My first was a slapped together pram sorta box when I was about 13.


08-21-2008, 05:29 PM
With a friend I built a 22 footer (thereabouts anyway), hard chined sloop of plywood and f.g. from plans bought mail order. This was around 1970. We cast the keel out of concrete and lead, sewed the sails, did it all. Then we took turns "owning" it.

C. Ross
08-21-2008, 06:16 PM
As a boy scout helped to build a canoe with a doped fabric skin. With my brother and a friend got most of the way through patching up a little plywood hydroplane, but our dads refused to let us use outboards from their fishing boats. Smart dads.

Captain Blight
08-21-2008, 06:30 PM
A wooden pallet with four rusty beer kegs tied to it.That must have been a fair bit ago, kegs have been aluminum for as long as I can remember and I'm 40.

08-21-2008, 07:52 PM
One of these in '60 / '61, when I was 10,


followed by one of these '63 to '65, built mostly in my sister's bedroom while she was away at college.


08-22-2008, 12:43 AM
A pair of CLC Mill Creek 13 kayaks as a result of the article in WB and I wanted kayaks. Prior to that a bamboo raft that sank very rapidly so doesn't really count does it?

Still planning my next one perhaps a Bolger Gloucester Dory although also in love with Joel White's Shearwater or Oughtred's Ness Yawl.

Captain Blight beer kegs around here are still stainless steel, I know cause I modify them to make home brew with as mash, sparge and lauter tuns.

landlocked sailor
08-22-2008, 01:22 AM
Rich Kolin's Heidi skiff from Traditional Boatbuilding Made Easy. Rick

Ron Paro
08-22-2008, 08:42 AM
Jimmy Skiff, from plans by Chesapeake Light Craft.


08-22-2008, 09:30 AM
My first boat was a 14 foot puddle duck canoe, gilpatrick designed, strip built with pine and fiberglassed on a shoestring budget with (yup you guessed it), but it is still going strong, built it in two summers when I was 13 and 14. It was a good place to start out I think.

If I remember I will post a pic of it....

Ed Armstrong
08-22-2008, 09:39 AM
First and only (so far): 10-foot Acorn dinghy, designed by Ian Oughtred. I'm hoping to start another boat soon!

Cuyahoga Chuck
08-22-2008, 10:38 AM
#1 was Chris Kuczycki's "Yare". An ingenious design. Two sheets of 3mm ply produces a sea kayak 16+feet long. To build it you have to come to grips with the "tortured plywood" technique which is not a slam dunk even with pictures.
But, it is not for the big of foot or those with crochety backs. The first impression one gets is ,"will this monster stay upright?".
But, the very minimal bottom has the lowest possible wetted area so it goes with almost no effort. And it is not slow. If the first time paddler can overcome the fear of going over he is in for a pleasant surprise.
The Yare is not a great boat but, it is an ingenious design. For teenagers, who are normally fearless and have innate balance, it would be a fun paddle.

08-22-2008, 06:30 PM
Great thread. My first was the Friendship in my Avatar. This was back in the early 70's and for a while there it seemed as though each issue of that new magazine Woodenboat anticipated the next part of the build I was scratching my head about. But about three years into what I initially thought would be about a two year project (duh) I got the urge to finish something I could actually float in. So over that winter I built this Swampscott dory from plans published in John Gardner's column in National Fisherman (and later in The Dory Book).


Christened her Dorito (sounds like it should mean 'little dory' no?) with a bag of those tortilla chips and we drank the champagne..... That's my son Jonathan trying to soak his dad (on the now-finished Friendship) while bailing out the previous night's thunderstorm anchored behind Dobbins Island in the Chesapeake's Magothy River. Fast forward twenty some years and sometime in the next couple of weeks or so Jonathan will be launching his own first boat - a Nutshell pram. Pics will definitely be posted!

John Boone
08-22-2008, 07:18 PM
My first build was a 16' Plywood Outboard back in 1974 - Designed by George Luzier



Ran great with the 70 HP. Great for fishing the bay and near shore in the Gulf.

The boat in the background was a strip planked 51' ketch we were building for a local Sarasota sponsor.

Regards, John

Driver Mark
08-22-2008, 10:38 PM
A D-4 , free plans off the internet, ya know

08-23-2008, 05:19 AM
My first watercraft was 6 44 gallon drums that were used to keep a dredge pipe afloat, we knocked 'em off and tied them together with some old rope we found tangled up in the mangroves. It had a floor made up of teatree poles. we used for a fishing raft all of the summer of '71 in the Woronora river. I got bit by the boat building bug and I have waited 36 years to be able to start the dream of building a real boat:D:o:p I am loving it now. And, the really cool thing is, I have found a loverly bunch of guys who share my dreamand give me encouragement and support. Thanks Lads. Barney

Dave Carnell
08-23-2008, 08:00 AM
Right after I got out of the Navy in 1946 I built a Hagerty Sea Shell pram from their $35 kit (delivered). Added a simple sloop rig with a sail sewn from sheeting and cartopped it from Wilmington, DE to Cape Cod.

08-23-2008, 08:54 AM
A Gazelle, but cat schooner rigged; this one has the rig Colvin specified. I built a low pilot house where the flush bridge deck was supposed to be.

I can't get the Wikipedia photo link to work but it should be available here:


I've downsized quite a bit with boats 2 and 3.

Edit to add--Small world! I just realized I know Pilger, the boat pictured in the link. She was built by a Canadian couple and they stayed at the small St. Augustine yard while I was there. I wonder if the body of water she's sailing is Florida's Lake George or the one up in yankee land? ;)

08-23-2008, 09:43 AM
6' plywood pram to my own design when I was 16. I gave it to a young friend when I was in my late twenties and it sadly ended up being "stolen" buy their landlord during a rent dispute.


Dave Thibodeau
08-23-2008, 09:59 AM
in 1949 at the age of 14 an 8' Plywood Pram from Sears Roebuck

Antonio Majer
08-23-2008, 01:16 PM
A raft when I was 9 or ten: it didn’t float; I remember that my brother and I tried aeronautics too: we built a pair of wings, from canvas and wood, with the intention of jumping from the roof of our house; then we decided to try from a lower place first - thank God. At that time my father was used to buy the Italian edition of Scientific American, which contained the column “Science at home”: I recall an article about a vaporizer of metals (something like a gas burner in a magnetic field, with a pair of voltaic arcs too, I don’t remember exactly). I dreamed of that vaporizer for long time, I suppose the whole village was at risk of destruction without knowing of it :D:D:D

Rational Root
08-25-2008, 02:05 AM
That must have been a fair bit ago, kegs have been aluminum for as long as I can remember and I'm 40.

These were one's we found dumped down by the river, they may have been there for quiate a while.

BTW - You are older than me - just.


09-15-2008, 09:36 AM
Me too!

Great little boat - very, very stable and bulletproof.

A D-4 , free plans off the internet, ya know

09-15-2008, 10:45 PM
It was a 16' kayak from Chesapeake Light Craft.

A bit off topic, but TallShipDreamer, please check Bldg/Repairs; I posted a response under "Folkboat Repair"; also began new thread, "Abbott Folkboat", and sent a private message. Could you get in touch, please?

09-16-2008, 06:10 AM
18' strip plank Harker's Island Well Skiff. Built at Carteret Technical College's boat build class @1982. I learned a lot about using string.

09-16-2008, 06:52 AM
A shellback dinghy. This design is featured in Woodenboat as a three part series spanning issues #116 to #118.


I will post more pictures of her shortly.

09-16-2008, 08:00 AM
Between about 11 and 14 years of age I opened my own boatyard:

10 foot Boy Scout painted canvas canoe - waterlogged, folded up, stolen
Numerous rafts of various elaborations. - fell apart, stolen
8 foot Plywood "john boat" - one great afternoon, stolen

Retired to work and save money for store bought stuff.

The itch has returned.

09-16-2008, 10:01 AM
A 6" thick, 4' x 8' piece of styrofoam with a sheet of plywood on top. Took 10 minutes to build and had 2 of some of the best boating years with her.

I miss that boat...:rolleyes:

09-16-2008, 11:22 AM
My Dad and I built a 17' canvas covered kayak from Boy's Life plans. Had a lot of fun with that boat. Then we built a Sunfish type sailboat that never quite got finished. The only thing I have left from that boat is the rudder and its fittings that he had fabricated by one of the welders at work. Oh, a cleat buried somewhere in the pile of "good stuff".

My son and I are in the process of building a Cheap Canoe very similar to Tar Devil's and JDillons. Hopefully it is the first production of a long line of joint projects.




09-16-2008, 11:48 AM
I'm still building the damn thing! (It's my first build)


Keith Wilson
09-16-2008, 11:57 AM
A Bolger Gypsy, right out of Dynamite Payson's Build the New Instant Boats. ACX fir, polyester resin (horrors!), and a mast out of two carefully selected 2x4s. Despite the conventional wisdom, it's still going strong 19 years later, even with irregular maintenance. Great little boat.

09-16-2008, 03:17 PM
A Bolger Gypsy, right out of Dynamite Payson's Build the New Instant Boats. ACX fir, polyester resin (horrors!), and a mast out of two carefully selected 2x4s. Despite the conventional wisdom, it's still going strong 19 years later, even with irregular maintenance. Great little boat.

I love the lines of the Gypsy. Build the New Instant Boats was one of the very first boatbuilding books I bought, primarily because of the Gypsy plans. Bought it almost 20 years ago and still look through those plans wistfully on occasion. Maybe one day I'll build one, but since then I've run across so many other boats I dream about as well. Glad to hear its been a good boat.



Tar Devil
09-16-2008, 04:47 PM
I got about this far with a Diablo from Payson's book...


But I did finish this 1/6 scale version from the same set of plans (scaled down via MS Excel)...


09-18-2008, 02:57 PM
When I was 14 I had to have a catamaran. I hadn't ever sailed, or even spent much time on the water but I got the bug. Dad and I built a Wharram Pixie on the front porch (to my mother's chagrin). You couldn't use the front door or the mail slot, but the concrete was level and true!

Jay Greer
10-09-2008, 03:16 PM
Well, I finally dragged this one out of my files. The boat is "Bonnie Doon". She is the first boat that I was really with from lofting to launching at Carl Chapman Boat Works in Costa Mesa CA. We were a team and I was still green. But I managed to make myself useful, holding battens, casting ballast, laying decks and making spars.
http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b8ce28b3127ccec506fbd7d5a700000040O00QYsmrNy5bsQ e3nwg/cC/f%3D0/ps%3D50/r%3D0/rx%3D550/ry%3D400/

Dan McCosh
10-09-2008, 03:33 PM
I was about three years out of college, and was bending a couple of pieces of paper into something that looked like a dory. I bought a couple of sheets of plywood and ended up with a 16 ft. creation that, after some modification, sailed pretty well. It was in the garage when it burned, and I took the insurance money, built my own garage, and then bought a 27 ft., slightly used, Mower cutter. ....

10-09-2008, 05:05 PM
When I was 13, way back in the early 70's I built a MiniMax 2-sheet plywood hydroplane ( see picture of a much nicer than mine example here )
I followed that up when I was a senior in High School with a C class
9'10" Clarke Craft "Wetback 10" and powered it with an ancient Evilrude 18
for which my folks contributed part of the $150 cost after seeing the effort I was putting in. Both boats were built from plans only. The Wetback was a lot like building a model airplane on a larger scale. Lots of lightened parts and thin stringers. Doped cloth on the foredeck.
see an example of the current kit here
Got a taste of traditional work when my High School history teacher held
a class with about 8 or 10 of us to build a copper riveted cedar and oak three plank lapstreak skiff with a double layer cross planked bottom. It looked very
much like the Yankee Tender model that WoodenBoat sells as a kit.
The smell of fresh cedar and boat soup on a cold January day is one of the
great memories I have of the project. My interest now runs to sail and I
hope to find time soon to start on a Windward 17 which I bought the plans for from Karl Stambaugh way too many years ago.

Ian McColgin
10-09-2008, 05:38 PM
Starting in '74 while living in Cannon Beach, Oregon, I built the Chamberlain Gunning Dory "Leeward" at first in the living room and then in a variety of friends' garages. What a great boat.

Of course I was then smarter than John Gardner and didn't use a strong back. So the stems stretched out a bit and she's longer than designed.

I think everyone on Mr. Gardner's mailing list got a nice letter from some hippy loop wanting to start a little magazine and offering a lifetime subscription for $100. There was a timber recession going on - The dory and I were long lining off the beach and trading - no one had money - so I didn't get in on the deal of the century.

10-09-2008, 07:53 PM
First was a 8' MiniMost in 1963 when I was 12, Then a 12' Perky at age 14, then helped a friend builf another Minimost when I was 16. At 54 helped my 5 year old grand daughter built a 8' MiniMost. In the last 4 years I've helped various kids build four 8' boats.

10-09-2008, 08:28 PM
I'm still working on my first boat. Patience, patience, patience. Maybe I'll be done, this time next year?

John Bell
10-09-2008, 10:17 PM
Bolger Windsprint. Gave it away to make room for another one...


Jim Budde
10-09-2008, 11:00 PM
Actually my first boat was was built in basement in southern New Jersey when I was 11 ( a very very long time ago). Boys Life (a magazine) had a picture of a model boat Boy Scouts could make. I expanded it from 12 inches to 12 feet; stretched khaki cloth stolen from my Mom's shop, over the frame, painted it (to waterproof it) with house paint my Dad had planned to use for the garage the following spring; launched it one very cold winter day on a flooded cranberry bog. Initial drift went well (I had not considered propulsion, either sail or oar) until little boat did battle with a submerged cranberry bush. Good news was Boy Scouts had taught me how to swim. Bad news was I had to explain to Mom and Dad (a) why I was wearing wet frozen clothes (b) why I had stolen materials from family (a mortal sin if there ever was one). My Dad asked if I had learned anything from this adventure. Without thinking I answered next time I'd plank the boat with wood. Uncharacteristically (he was a Golden Gloves kind of guy who never accepted excuses), he said "good answer .. let's find some wood and make another boat that will float". That was 1957.

Bill in Thailand
01-06-2011, 09:53 AM
Good man, I learned on an El Toro as well and moved up.... now I am moving back to El Toro go figure BOAT break out another thirty?

John N
01-06-2011, 12:59 PM
When I was 14. Popular mechanics had plans for a canoe, frame with canvas skin. I made the frames from plywood I found. The stringers were 2x4 ripped. Of course I couldn't find canvas. (or afford it). I had just enough money to buy a quart of polyester resin and one layer of glass. Because this is way too fragile I covered it with chicken wire first. Pretty well everybody laughed at it but I didn't care I was on the water. No bouyancy naturely and I would put forty pounds of rocks in the bow so I could sit on a seat at the stern. I used to go about a half mile off shore on lake ontario to where the markers were for the freighters.
Good times.

01-06-2011, 05:09 PM
FL14 from bateau.com plans. She's been a great little boat and I've caught enough fish from that thing to feed a small country :)

Best part is, my girls love it and that's all that really matters.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs488.ash1/26685_1145236408924_1767938069_256609_2261162_n.jp g

Bill Huson
01-06-2011, 05:17 PM
Around 1955 I think - customer brought a 10' ply on frame pram kit into my Uncle's marina and wanted it assembled. That I did in the hayloft of a barn at the marina (a former dairy farm). I was around 13 at the time. Built the pram, filled, sanded, and sealed it with some stinky - err, I mean aromatic clear finish. Owner took it from there. Did an 8' pram a few months later. Then I moved off the Island. I still have the pair of "Yankee" screwdrivers I used to build the prams, and the old "eggbeater" drill - no battery required.

01-06-2011, 05:32 PM
Never had a first. Went straight to my second and on the third now.

01-06-2011, 05:40 PM
The very first was a cub scout boat made for the rain gutter regatta. I made with pop sickle sticks and super glue.

A few years latter it was the Wee Lassie.

Honestly, for some reason, the pop sickle sticks were more challenging at the time.

01-07-2011, 01:06 AM
Nutshell Pram - 7' 7"

01-07-2011, 07:50 AM
I bought the plans to a Joel White 9'6" Nutshell pram over 20 years ago. They sat for several years. The last day of the sailing season many years ago, with myself, wife, 2 year old daughter and 1 year son, plus our springer spaniel, and our stuff, rowing to the dock, in our old and trusty 8' plywood pram,... I got scared. I still remember that moment.

I guess that makes me a practical(desperate)boat builder?

And a cheap one. I didn't spring for Okume as advised instead ordering marine fir. We built it in my basement over the winter, my daughter often sitting on the upside down hull demanding to drive a few screws herself.

It wasn't just the needed additional size, I thought it would be the perfect time to have a sailing tender. Not just for the growing kids, but even my wife who loves so much to be sailing, which is not necessarily, sailing. That additional sailing aspect gave me the final push to actually do it.

I'll not likely sail many if any other Joel White designs, but his Nutshell Prams are winners. Ours has grown up two kids sailing, safely(you can't tip one over and it would be a chore for kids to even swamp it)and given my wife and I miles and miles of some of the best sailing over the years.

I'll likely build my next boat when(if?) it gives up. Now with daughter and son in college, it still serves us just as well every season. I've had to make some repairs, on older repairs.

01-07-2011, 08:52 AM
a bolger gypsy. i got it ready to paint and my brother hauled it to the dump. i stored it under his porch for a little too long.

01-07-2011, 05:24 PM
A Pygmy Coho double kayak was my first, quickly followed by 2 single seaters. The Redmond Flapjack I'm working on now is #4.


01-07-2011, 10:02 PM
I started, but never finished, a Bolger Light Schooner. I know this must make me a WBF heretic or blasphemer but it's resting uncovered, upside down, about 75% finished, rotting, behind my garage. It has been one of the greatest disappointments of my boating career but I am proud to say that even though it was a failed project I learned many things about boat design, construction, and myself personally, and I wouldn't trade the experience as a whole for anything (except maybe having successfully completed the project but given the circumstances that arose: school, life etc... that would have been impossible but I've come to terms with that). I hope my little anecdote can help make other people feel better about their less successful ventures in boating.

01-07-2011, 10:04 PM
Nutshell Pram 9'6"

01-08-2011, 08:08 AM
First one that floated was a pond barge that my brother and I built. It leaked badly but was great fun until we were chased off the pond. That was back in the late 50's and the lumber all came from the detritus of suburban sprawl.

01-13-2011, 08:31 PM
I started late, in 2000 built a Stevenson Weekender in 91 days. Down and dirty but fell in love with the process. Next Boat was a CMD Redwing 18 in 2009. That took a bit longer. Now I have two 17.5' kayaks a 15' Bolger Diablo. Next out of the shop will be a set of CLC Hybrid Wood Ducks 12. Then on to .......... You get the idea, the condition is incurable. Oh well sure beats posing with a Harley.
Ooops forgot about the Harry Bryan Ladybug.

01-13-2011, 11:46 PM
Glen L Le Chatte catamaran


wizbang 13
01-14-2011, 07:11 AM
I started with a marsh grass raft. Disintegrated 6' "offshore". Closest I ever came to drowning.First real build was Pluto.
I helped Paul Johnson build this Pluto,http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1297/4681785275_f294ac77c6_z_d.jpg in St Barts in '79. Later, built another for myself.

01-16-2011, 04:30 PM
as part of my sea scouts/rowing club, we built a 19.5' Bolger stretched gull dory, my first solo build was a micro mouse, my daughter loves it. followed by a square mouse for my son and a flats rat for myself. now I'm planning on a rowing design soon

01-16-2011, 04:51 PM
First boat i built was in 1978? a 9ft pram "Stubby" from Edwin monks book small boatbuilding. Sold her after a few years & rescued her from the yacht club bonfire 15 years ago. her frame was still ok so i reskinned her with some left over brynzeel. Still got her!

peter radclyffe
01-16-2011, 05:10 PM
a 10 ft oak & elm on elm & oak copper riveted carvel dinghy i designed & built as a self taught lofting exercise , in my apprenticeship after the loftsman at Hinks, Appledore,Devon (who built the Golden Hind) would not teach me, named after a london D J, The Rankin Miss P, who i later found out is Rita Marleys sister, Bob Marley's father emigrated from Ilfracome, nearby

wizbang 13
01-16-2011, 08:11 PM
Rasta Fry!!!

Terry Haines
01-16-2011, 10:46 PM
My first boat was an own-designed canoe, pretty but useless. Stability was so poor that I had to lay down to keep it from tipping - its only practical use would have been to launch my corpse into the lake with a lot of burning firewood on board, King Arthur style. Since I wasn't quite ready for that I built another boat. And another ...


01-17-2011, 10:04 AM
Last winter I built a Bolger Elegant Punt. It was my first and not to be last, boat building experience. I'm currently working on a 16' Wa'apa outrigger sailing canoe by Gary Dierking.




Jamie Orr
01-17-2011, 03:23 PM
My first build was with a buddy when we were 12 or 13, 1963 I think. We built an 8 foot plywood skiff, from a marketing folder put out by the Canadian Plywood Association, (I think) so we could go fishing. My family moved away and I gave up my half ownership, but I heard the boat sold for $50 a couple of years later so someone thought we did okay. As I recall, it only leaked a little bit.

Phil Y
01-17-2011, 03:45 PM
Same as Ian. Must be an aussie thing. Canoe made from 1 sheet of corrugated iron, some nails and some roofing gloop. Mine had a transom made of the end of a fruit crate.
Then an Oughtred acorn a few years later.http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4152/4982085184_c457ff3fe5.jpg

01-17-2011, 03:47 PM
I built a Selway-Fisher Dart 14 MkII kayak (http://www.selway-fisher.com/Kayak.htm#14) - stitch and tape with 4mm Meranti ply and epoxy. I wanted a kayak to use on my local water and also some practice with epoxy and before building a sailing dinghy. I chose the Dart because the short, steep chop on the harbour demands a V-bottom and I liked the look of the rounded decks.


01-17-2011, 04:52 PM
An International Cadet, a sailing class for under 18 year olds designed by Jack Holt. For those interested,
it was the Mark I. This one design class has now evolved away from the wooden boat world.
In its current form (Mark IV) it is fiberglass and professionally built. It is still popular in Europe I believe.

I had only finished the hull when I left home (Yorkshire, England) in 1962 to study in the USA. My father
subsequently sold the hull to someone who planned to finish it. I don't know whether he did.

40 years passed before I returned to wooden boat building. I'm now on my fifth boat (if you count the
Cadet I never finished) and am planning my sixth. As you can see my addiction was long in gestation,
but is now in full flower.

01-17-2011, 05:30 PM
First and last...ALASKA - 18-foot beach cruiser designed by Don Kurylko.