A Tail of Two Boats . . . 

(click image to enlarge)


First the johnboat, I wanted it for fishing in the Sopchoppy and Ochlocknee River and knew I would need a 15hp motor so I decided to beef it up a bit. I used 3/8" for the sides, doubled " plywood for the bow and transom (1 " thickness) and 1/2 " plywood for the bottom (took some determination to bend it). This "material over sizing" made the boat heavier but it is really strong. Solid but it handles well with the oar and the motor.  It planes quick and easy and handles well. I made the bottom 42" wide at the transom but narrowed to 26" at the bow. Nice look, stable and handles good at full speed. I added a scull lock made of oak at the rear. We paddle our boats with one oar out the stern in the Florida panhandle (we call it sculling). Sculling is the redneck version of the Venetian Gondola. Quiet and easy to handle the boat with one hand fish with the other.

I built the canoe at the same time. If I wasn't sure about a technique I tried it first on the canoe. The canoe was closer to plan since I used " plywood as prescribed by Uncle John. I was amazed at the strength of the canoe and yet it is extremely light weight. I made the sides 12" and the bottom 32" for more stability. I made the seats modular so they can be adjusted to passenger count and weight quantity. This little boat looks and handles great!!

I kept track of my time and it took me 195 hours to completely finish both boats, almost 5 weeks. However, this time was spread over 5 months. Time was lost because I had to stack the boats on one side of the garage at the end of each work session (she just wouldn't give up the entire garage). But the major loss of time was my epoxy learning curve. Still not a master but much improved from my initial blunders. If you can make a strong recommendation to beginners it should be to find a video on epoxy. I didn't but should have.

Uncle John, thanks for the plans and the experience! So much fun and satisfaction that I will likely build another boat in the future and incorporate what I learned on one and two.

John Brown

Novice Boat Builder Extraordinaire

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