wooden boat plans

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Uncle John:  

I developed the itch to build a wooden boat a few years back.  I finally got a little free time to scratch and decided to start at the library.  I asked a man at the information desk if they had books on boat building.  He smiled a knowing smile and began a 30 minute conversation with me about wooden boats.  It was his passion.  He sent me home with an arm load of books on how to build canoes, sail boats and essays on almost every thing that floats.  As I was leaving he said, “By the way Google up Uncle John and look at his John boats.  I think you’ll like it.”  I felt like a John boat would be the ideal first boat so I looked up Uncle John when I got home.  I was hooked!  I read and reread each article about how your customers had such great success and in a day or so I sent for your plans.  I can’t tell you how much joy it gave me to build the boat.  It saved me thousands of dollars in therapy sessions and I got a boat out of the deal to boot.  It was very easy to build and the time passed quickly.  I devoted an evening or so each week and some weekends to building and in a couple of months the boat was finished.  I am a pastor of a church and just for fun I named the boat Willitfloat and offered to take my parishioners for the maiden voyage.  With a name like Willitfloat they declined unanimously.  It floated very well and handles like a dream.  Every time I ran into a little snag I remembered what Uncle John told me, “Noah was an amateur and the people who built the Titanic were professionals.” 

The boat I built is 15’ 10” long with a bottom of 48”.  The beam is 54”.  It is a very comfortable and roomy boat.  It handles like a dream and is very easy to load on the trailer.  I could not be happier with it.  I painted it John Boat green, but I stained the rub rail, the inner rail, the floor treads and the seats with Minwax Provincial stain and covered the stain with a couple of overcoats of polyurethane.  It pleases me greatly and I would not change the color if I built another. 

I used ¼” inch Lauan for the sides and 3/8” exterior plywood for the bottom. If I had it to do again I would use 3/8” plywood for the sides although the ¼ inch is working fine.  I followed your plans with the following exceptions.  I trimmed the bow to 34” just for looks.  It gave the boat a fair look and as Uncle John says, “If it looks good – It probably is good.”  The second thing I did that was a little different happened because I could not figure how to connect the sides to the bottom, so I laid a ¾ “ X ¾” permanent nailer on the inside.  I am sure it made laying the epoxy more difficult, but it really made a strong joint.  I suspect the inside nailer gave the boat a little rocker action instead of the exactly flat bottom, but I am no engineer. 

I put a fishing deck on it and used a raised seat I had in my shop.  A foot controlled trolling motor makes moving around the Crappie beds a breeze.  To get enough storage under the deck and to make it high enough for the trolling motor battery to fit inside I had to set the deck just under the inside rub rail.  I used a doubled layer of ¾ inch pine plywood for the transom.  I have not attached a motor yet, but if I need to I will add a cleat to give it support. 

Thanks for the good set of plans.  It made building the boat possible even for a first-build.

Scotty L. Killingsworth

Walnut Grove, MO

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