How to Build a Small Fishing Boat

How to Build a Small Fishing Boat
When you are ready to get your feet wet in boat building, consider making a small fishing boat to start. A popular small boat design for fishing is a sea dory. These are small and handle swells and waves with aplomb. This style boat has been popular in Nova Scotia, Maine and Newfoundland for decades, with many local fishermen taking to sea in them.

For a dory you need a solid set of plans, available through many online retailers or shipwrights. Count on the project taking a solid one to two months to complete.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Boat plans
  • Wood steamer
  • Bench vises
  • C-Clamps
  • Wood glue
  • Gel coat resin
  • Power sander
  • Power saw
  • Power drill
  • Waterproof marine glue
  • Varnish and sponges
  • Work bench
  • Measuring tape
  • Protractor
Step 1
Study the boat building plans thoroughly. The more you read them and go over them before beginning construction, the better equipped you are to visualize the build. Gather all the relevant timbers and wood as dictated by the boat build designs.
Step 2
Build the frame of the boat first. Follow the instructions for your frame. Some of the timbers used for the frame may need to be steamed. You can make a wood steamer using an old oil barrel with a smaller set inside.

Make a double boiler that puts out steam. Place the wood to be steamed bent over the steam output. When bending the wood, steam it until when it is pushed it will bend without any cracking noise. Set the steamed wood into a bench vise and bend or set the bend with C-clamps.
Step 3
Steam and bend the paneling and side walls of the boat. Cut down the lengths of the boat's hull and paneling before you steaming. Cut the timbers to the design's specifications and then steam, bending to the appropriate angle. If needed, use a protractor to determine the angle.
Step 4
Attach the hull wall panels to the boat frame using wood screws with glue. Go around the boat once the bent wood panels have been attached to the frame. Place one dollop of epoxy or gel resin on top of each screw head. Sand down the boat hull to get a smooth and even surface.
Step 5
Varnish the boat in whatever color or design you wish. If you have a custom stencil design, paint that on. Mix the gel coat and resin after the varnish and paint have dried, and apply three coats evenly. This gives the boat the waterproofing needed to keep it watertight and afloat.

Article Written By Eric Cedric

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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