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Free Boat Plans

Updated on August 15, 2008

Free Boat Plans

An economical way to for you to create and enjoy a boating lifestyle for yourself is to use free boat plans. I really love the challenges, uncertainty and relaxation this amazing lifestyle offers and by building your own boat you also can get the satisfaction of knowing you built your own boat then share all that experience with other boaties and builders. It makes for some great conversation while sipping on a 'lemonade' together.

There are also plenty of builders who can build your boat for you so if you want an economical way to get on the water quicker, or if you are not interested in building your boat yourself, this is another good way to enjoy the boating lifestyle more quickly as well as economically.

If you decide that building your own boat is right for you and you are new to the world of building your own boat - then you are probably asking yourself a number of questions, including how hard is it to build my own boat and what are some of the more common building methods. So I will provide a little information below on both of these questions.

How Hard Is It To Build My Own Boat.

Well this is where the real value of boat plans comes in. If you are new to boat building then getting a boat plan from a reputable source will mean they can assist you by advising the best and easiest boat building methods available. Another advantage is that boat plans from most good companies will come with very detailed building notes making building from them easy and also means that you don't need to have to have expert woodworking skills or special tools.

Some Common Boat Building Methods.

There are a number of boat building methods. Described here are a couple of the more common ones.

Stitch and glue boat building (often used mostly on smaller boats).

This is a boat building method that combines plywood, fiberglass and epoxy. A stitch and glue boat hull consists of plywood panels assembled with fiberglass tape. Unlike traditional boat building where a mold defines the hull shape, with stitch and glue the hull plywood panels define the shape. The framing of a stitch and glue boat including the chine, keel and bow are often made of fiberglass.

The building method for a smaller sized boat would usually consist of these type of steps:-

1) Cutting the plywood panels for the sides and bottom 2) Assembling the panels (with butt blocks) 3) Cutting the frames and transom 4) Assembling the hull, sides and bottom around frames and the transom 5) Building the fiberglass seams on putty fillets 6) Installing the seat-tops 7) Building the rub-rail 8) Fairing the hull 9) Installing a keel 10) Sanding and painting

The earlier stitch and glue boats were made of plywood parts glued with fiberglass tape and resin, more recently though designs have been using fiberglass techniques which result in stronger and lighter boats that are also easier to build. All beveling and wood joinery work is eliminated. In more sophisticated designs the plywood is 'sandwiched' between fiberglass layers.

Sheathed Strip.

This is a combination of fiberglass sandwich and strip planking methods. Here the hull shape is built on molds from small strips of (inexpensive) timber then covered with layers of glass on the outside. The hull is then turned over, molds removed and more layers of glass put on the inside giving a strong fiberglass sandwich with a wood core. This is a method that produces strong hulls and is an easy and inexpensive way to build.

Foam Core Sandwich.

This is a composite boat building method similar to sheathed strip using a core material that is sandwiched between fiberglass. Basically a hull is built with longitudinal battens and is covered with sheets of foam which in turn are covered with fiberglass layers. The hull is then turned, the molds removed and more layers of glass are laminated inside resulting is a hull that is light and strong.

The cost here can be a little more than a sheathed strip but the hull is lighter for same strength. The method generally requires more skills and better working conditions than sheathed strip.

This boat building methods described above I hope provide you an insight into some of the more common boat building techniques. However as I mentioned earlier if you buy boat plans from a reputable dealer then they will be able to provide plenty of information, advice and also forums that will assist you step by step throughout the process.

There are many people world that use free boat plans as a reference for ideas and also for boat building. You can search for free boat plans on the internet but just a word of warning - take your time to make sure they suit your needs and that they are from a reputable dealer before relying on the information provided.


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    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 7 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      Great hub. I will rate up and I am now I fan too!

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      theo emanuel 9 years ago

      i am looking for 5 axis cnc facilities to have boat hull plugs and moulds manufactured. The size of the hull is: lenght of 17m and width 5.5m. If anyone can direct me to facilities in Australia or the far east will help me a lot. Thanks. Theo Emanuel