Category Archives: Boat Construction

Mahogany Masters II – Morin Boat Works

By Bruce Niederer

The beauty of a wooden boat is undeniable. It doesn’t matter whether it’s sail or power. When I see one, my response is both cerebral and primal, and I know I’m not alone. I began racing sailboats in the late 1970’s and, without exception, it has always been aboard FRP production boats. In 1980, I was invited to crew on my first long distance race, hosted by the Buffalo Yacht Club near the northern end of Lake Erie. Continue reading

Building a wood/epoxy Sharpie, Phase I

By Captain James R. Watson

When I was building my first boat, my dad used to drive me nuts as he sat in his rocking chair considering “how to proceed.” I wanted to see the chips fly. Now, after many of my own projects, I realize the wisdom of studying the sequence of events from the beginning of a building project to the end. Building projects are a lot like a child’s dot-to-dot puzzle. Continue reading

Nose for Speed

By Patrick Ropp

Some people just have a knack for things. We commonly say that someone may have an “eye” for beauty, an “ear” for music, or a “taste” for art, and now you can have a…“nose” for speed. Nose cones on outboard and sterndrive lower units are common in the world of boat racing. Whether it be outboard hydroplane racing, outboard performance craft (tunnel hulls), offshore powerboats, or customized recreational boats, all have factory built “speedo” lower units, which are very fast, but expensive. However, adding a nose cone to your existing lower unit is affordable, quick, and fun to do. Continue reading

waters dancing kayak kits

Waters Dancing Kayak Kits

Easy-to-Build Kayaks

Waters Dancing started selling boat kits in the late 1950’s. The company is putting finishing touches on a new line of competitively priced kit kayaks from 14′ to 21′. Their Lightning 17′ has proven itself in the field, with many already built and paddled throughout North America. Don Moore has developed a unique method to join plywood and assemble boats. Continue reading

Mahogany Masters I – Van Dam Custom Boats

by Captain James R. Watson

Epoxyworks 14

Cover Photo: ALPHA Z is like no other boat. It’s a stepped V-bottom planing runabout designed by Michael Peters Yacht Design.

If boat building was ever in a period of renaissance, it is now. One center for the revival in exquisitely constructed yachts is Van Dam Custom Boats near Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City, Michigan. Business partners Steve and Jean Van Dam have a 23 year history of building interesting wooden craft. Although Steve is a sailor, most of their work involves powerboats, custom one-offs and restorations. They are particularly noted for the fine detail of their wood/epoxy composite boats and their willingness to experiment with materials and structures. Continue reading

Building Payson’s Rubens Nymph

By Patrick Ropp

My oldest brother, Jeff, was searching for a small boat to take his kids out fishing and just messing about. Since he had more money than time, and I had more time than money, we pooled our resources. I would build two boats and he would buy the materials. We looked at numerous plans and finally found one of Harold “Dynamite” Payson’s (Phil Bolger’s design #516) Instant Boats that appealed to us. The Rubens Nymph is a beamy (4′ 6″ wide), 7′ 9″ long, double chined, rowboat. The Nymph looked easy and quick to build due to a modified stitch-n-glue technique. Continue reading

Launching ANTONISA

By Mary Maynard Drake

The 124′ sailing yacht ANTONISA slipped into the waters of Linekin Bay on August 28, 1999, amid accolades to her builder, Hodgdon Yachts. The Italian owners and some 4,000 well wishers, including Maine governor Angus King, crowded into the small village of East Boothbay, Maine, for the launching. Continue reading

Sheathing & Rolling in Southampton

By Wessex Resins & Adhesives Ltd., UK

To a fanfare of music, lights and fireworks HRH Prince Andrew pressed the button and the 400 invited guests watched anxiously as the largest wooden ship under construction in the world began to move. Continue reading

Plywood Boat Construction

Effects of fiber reinforcement — stiffness vs. weight

By Bruce Niederer

One of the most widely chosen materials for boat building projects is plywood. It is easy to work with, it is relatively inexpensive, and many kits and plans are specifically designed for plywood construction. Often times a fiberglass skin is laminated over the outside of the hull, primarily to provide some abrasion resistance, but also to add a measure of stiffness, because we all know stiffer is faster! And herein lies the downside: Fiberglass and epoxy add weight to the boat. How does one resolve this contradiction of strength versus weight? Continue reading