This article is Lesson 1 of a series. See bottom of page for links to additional articles in this series.—Ed.
Sparks is a science project. A professional builder working for a client has the responsibility of delivering the boat on time and budget with no surprises so we generally stick to what worked last time. But as a science project, questioning the way things are usually done, pushing the limits of the materials and then taking the responsibility becomes the objective. Because failure is anticipated with any experiment, testing is an important part of the project and has been a whole lot of fun with few surprises, mostly pleasant.
Early last spring I was working for a talented woodworker in a quaint little wood shop in Nashville, Tennessee. He showed me a strip built canoe, something I’d never seen before. The wheels in my head started turning. I was completely captivated.
Rushing home and searching the internet, I could not believe the information and pictures that took hold of my imagination. I was in utter amazement one minute, jealous the next. In my former experience as a musician, I’d had no idea this kind of craftsmanship, experience, and talent existed in today’s world of “fast and now.” Continue reading →
We sailors sometimes think of ourselves as adventurers and explorers, self sufficient and capable of handling the vagaries of wind and weather. But our view of voyaging includes refrigeration to keep the food and drink cold, sail handling and navigation systems to make sailing easy and safe, and a good dry, comfortable boat so we remain content while sailing to the ends of our own personal world. When we compare that to the skills and equipment of early voyagers, it can be almost embarrassing. Continue reading →
Here at the Gougeon Brothers’ Boat Shop, Meade and Jan Gougeon are preparing for another attempt at The Everglades Challenge.
An autopilot steering failure on his sailing scow Yello Thing forced Meade to withdraw from the 2010 Everglades Challenge. When he reached the shore, he was already thinking about building another boat for the next race.Continue reading →
The Apprenticeshop in Rockland, Maine, teaches students decision-making skills, care, patience, forethought and responsibility through traditional boatbuilding. Instructors guide each apprentice through building two to four boats during a two-year apprenticeship.
The philosophy behind The Apprenticeshop is that learning is best accomplished through direct experience. Apprentices in this program learn craftsmanship and problem solving through each step of wooden boat construction from lofting, molds, framing, planking and decking to finish work and rigging. Continue reading →
Scott Oldanie has found many unique uses for WEST SYSTEM Epoxy around his Lemont, Illinois, home. These are just a few. He built two whitetail deer antler replica racks, bonded and carved; a wooden bear head attached to the end of a beam; and repaired damaged moose antlers and rotted log ends of his log home.
Cover Photo: Semi-finished Sassafras 16 canoes on display at the 2010 WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport.
WEST SYSTEM®, Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) and nine family groups joined forces at the 2010 WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut this June to build nine Sassafras 16 kit canoes. With only a blue and white striped rental tent to shield them from the unseasonably hot weather in Mystic that weekend, everyone labored hard to get their boats a long way toward completion in just three short days. Continue reading →
Hugh Saint is a custom boat builder in Cape Coral, Florida who specializes in fine mahogany runabouts that remind you of those built in the 1930s and ‘40s. His team of skilled artisans combined their backgrounds in engineering with a finely honed understanding of nautical beauty. Continue reading →
This plywood/epoxy Norwegian Gunning Dory is drawn with inspiration from the classic lines of Scandinavian watercraft. The ply/epoxy hull is much simplified from traditional plank-on-frame versions. The lightweight version can weigh less than 60 lb (27 kg), making it an easy car-topper. Instead of the traditional V bottom, there is a flat panel on the hull bottom to simplify construction and provide extra stability.
Watertight fore and aft compartments provide additional hull support, dry storage and the safety of flotation spaces. Additional compartments are optional and open-water versions can be built self-bailing.
Capacity and Functionality
Loaded with gear for camp-cruising or with a passenger and gear, the boat becomes increasingly stable for general recreation, fishing, or drifting small streams and exploring waterways. The 15′ 9″ (4.8 m) length and 45″ (1.14. m) beam provide a stable platform. The Norwegian Gunning Dory can also be poled, or paddled like a canoe. There is room for two fixed-seat rowing stations or a single sliding seat; the lightweight hull is fast enough to make open water rowing with a sliding seat interesting.
Maintenance is much reduced with epoxy sealed plywood and the slick, hard graphite covered bottom allows dragging the hull over parking lots, launch ramps and gravel beaches.
The 30-page building plans are $46 and include photos, sketches, step-by-step directions and a discussion of many options to help the amateur builder customize the boat to suit usage. See additional photos with 2 interior layouts and details at www.butlerprojects.com.
DIY project by Paul Butler for Outdoor Life.– all Photos by Brad Camp