Category Archives: Boat Construction

Skiff Details

By Captain James R. Watson

A skiff is a shallow, open boat with a sharp bow and square stern. After building some skiffs of various designs and having the opportunity to observe them over time, I have found details that have worked nicely that might be of value to others. Continue reading

Dala horse

Readers’ Projects, Issue 40

I made this Dala horse in the style of the iconic Swedish horse as a Christmas gift for our first grandchild. I shaped the body out of a 3 pounds blue dock foam. I then covered the model with 3 1/2 oz crow-foot fiberglass cloth cut on the bias. I used WEST SYSTEM Epoxy and fairing fillers.

The body of the horse was primed and painted with acrylic water-based paint. The rockers are varnished fir. The horse is very lightweight and strong. When she isn’t riding it, our granddaughter enjoys pushing her horse around the house.

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stand up paddleboard

Readers’ Projects, Issue 38

This stand-up paddleboard, commonly called a SUP, was lovingly handcrafted by Joe Pakkala. His attention to detail is impressive in the herringbone inlays and the non-skid foot pads incorporated into the epoxy’s finish. As opposed to traditional adhesive non-skid pads, incorporating the nonskid into the epoxy allows you to have a safe place to stand without covering the beauty of a natural wood finish.


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Jan C. Gougeon's final project, STRINGS.

Strings Centerboard Adjustment

By Greg Bull — GBI Technical Advisor

Strings, as unique as the man who designed it, continues to be a work in progress for us at GBI. In Jan Gougeon’s first year of sailing Strings, he noticed the boat felt sticky at times. He thought it might be the centerboards jibing too much and the solution might be an adjustment to lock them straight. The centerboards work as jibing boards by having two high spots on each side of a centerboard head creating the pivot point to get the boards to change angle, or jibe. The actual pressure from the boat going through the water and wanting to slide sideways gets the centerboards to jibe. Continue reading

Strip Plank Canoe -SBCSA

Winter Boat Building in Bay City

By Bill Bauer

Twenty years ago, some local sailors established the Saginaw Bay Community Sailing Association to provide affordable sailing lessons in the Saginaw Bay Michigan area. Starting out with a few donated Optimist prams, the program quickly grew and additional boats were needed. Gougeon Brothers Inc. provided the SBCSA with floor space in the loft of the GBI Boat Shop and the SBCSA winter boat-building sessions began building 5 more prams for the school.  Continue reading

Fairing the Bottom of Adagio

By Greg Bull — GBI Technical Advisor

While fairing the bottom of your boat may seem beyond your reach, it is a project that novices and experienced boaters alike can accomplish with a few simple tools and a love of a little manual labor. Most seasoned sailors would agree that a clean bottom leads to faster sailing. Sometimes it may be necessary to do more than scrub away the algae and zebra mussels, though. In the case of Adagio, 44 years of sailing was starting to ripple the bottom of the boat. Simply put, it was time to fair the bottom.  Continue reading

Building the Dream

By Laura and Philip Harvey

We started building our dream boat, a DH550 55′ catamaran we christened Wild Vanilla. Our catamaran was built on a piece of land just behind Budget Marine in Trinidad, during a break in our long-term family cruise. Before we began, we had sold our boat building company, Harvey yachts in Cape Town South Africa, and set off on our 38-foot cruising cat. Onboard were our nine-month-old son and our cat, Velcro. Continue reading

Great Lakes Boatbuilding School

Keeping Our Maritime Heritage Alive

By Bruce Niederer — GBI Technical Advisor

On November 27, 2006, ground was broken on a perfect waterfront site overlooking the Les Cheneaux islands in Cedarville, Michigan in a ceremony that marked the end of a two-year fundraising effort and the beginning of The Great Lakes Boatbuilding School.

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26' North Canoe

Unconventional Adventure–Building North Canoes

…For an Unconventional Adventure

by Ron Frenette
Epoxyworks 37

Cover Photo: Modern voyagers traverse the water in a 26′ North Canoe.

Canadian Canoes has been building wood-strip epoxy canoes for some 35 years. We’ve produced many thousands of western red cedar canoe strips from clear planks which originated in British Columbia. Eventually, we realized that ripping the strips one at a time then adding on the bead and cove profiles was terribly inefficient. With valuable input from Peter Feindel from Taurus Craco Woodworking Machinery, we used a milling machine to produce consistently accurate canoe strips. What once consumed five hours of monotonous work producing the strips for one canoe now takes about four minutes on the milling machine. This huge increase in production allowed us to offer, along with Ted Moores and Joan Barrett from Bear Mountain Boat Shop, canoe and kayak building kits for home boat builders. Continue reading

SLIVER Project

At the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building
By Don Gutzmer – GBI Technical Advisor

After attending the 2012 Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, I visited the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock, Washington. School instructor Bruce Blatchley was excited to show off their one-of-a-kind boat project, Sliver. The 62-foot double-ended daysailer was designed by well-known yacht designer Robert Perry and commissioned by Kim Bottles of Bainbridge Island, Washington. The Northwest School students of the 2011 and 2012 contemporary boatbuilding classes worked on the project. For a school that teaches traditional wooden boat building, learning to build a hybrid of wood/composite construction using epoxy was a unique challenge. Continue reading