wooden boat
Small Boat “Louise Marion”     Materials












I wanted to keep the craft as traditional as I could so I tried using traditional boat woods when possible, at least in the beginning. I chose red oak for the keelson, skeg, stem, stern post, transom, floors, and centerboard logs. White oak is more resistant to rot but it cost more so I went with red oak instead.

The centerboard case sides are cedar. The frames are oak while the centerboard and rudder are pine from 2xs. I chose 1/2" signboard plywood as suggested in George Buehler's "Backyard BoatBuilding" for the bottom, topsides, decks, and bulkheads. It costs phenomenally less than marine ply, has no voids, and is laminated with marine grade glue. The paper covering on both sides takes epoxy and paint extremely well and needs little or no sanding. I chose plywood and fiberglass over planking the bottoms and sides because the boat would live mostly on a trailer. The sheer strakes, chine logs, carlins, and deck frames are pine, gotten out of 1x's and 2x's. The deck frames and carlins were laminated, and the sheer strakes and chine logs were scarfed for the extra length.

The mast and spars were gotten out of clear 2x's. Though not as light as spruce, pine used for 2x's is less expensive and easier to obtain. I used 8 foot 2x6's, scarfed for the mast. The sprit and jib boom I made from a piece of pine hand railing which I carved to shape. The oars are made from 3/4" ash, laminated and carved. The plans of which I found in "Skiffs & Schooners", R. D. Culler.

Cleats were made from red oak, cut and carved to shape.

The hatches are made from basswood because I had it on hand. The rubrails and rub strakes are oak, while the coamings are soft maple. The centerboard top is soft maple as well.

Iron work
You're gonna think I'm crazy, but I got into making all of the drifts and bolts myself. It started like this; I couldn't find the hardware I needed, things like gudgeons and pintles and a lot of other stuff. So I began making my own. The galvanized spikes I found downtown were mostly too short and too thick. Galvanized bolts often were too short as well. So I borrowed an oxy acetaline outfit and proceeded to cut, heat, bend, and weld what I needed. 1/4" steel rod worked perfectly for all the drifts. These were the easiest to make as all I needed was to cut 'em to length, heat one end and hammer and peen it into a nail head. I gave the other end a quick rounded point on a grinding wheel.

Initially, My plan was to use a gaff rig and I made a lot of hardware for it. Most of this hardware sits unused as I switched to the simpler sprit rig.

Most bolts were made of 3/8" steel rod. These were fairly easy. I cut 'em to length, threaded both ends, and sometimes welded a nut onto one end. I made a couple of 3/4" dia. bolts as well. One is the centerboard pin and the other is one too many. Screws used were galvanized deck screws of various lengths.

The gudgeons and pintles (basically the gudgeons as a rod goes through all of them) were more of a challenge though not difficult. This involved cutting, heating, and bending 1/8" steel 90° at the desired measurements, and welding a short length of center drilled 3/4" rod. The only other pieces of hardware are a couple of plates covering and sealing the centerboard pin and holes. All this stuff I had galvanized. The steel I obtained from a local salvage shop for $0.13 a pound.

I used 2 part epoxy to glue things up. Mostly for laminating and scarfs. I used the same epoxy and hardener for fiberglassing the bottom and sides. Tar was used to bed the keelson, skeg, stem, sternpost, transom, and centerboard logs. Red oxide paint was used to prime everything. Oil paint is everywhere. Louise Marion is patterned after a workboat so I'm not varnishing much of anything. I guess I'll varnish the spars, oars, and cleats. I'll consider using water based paints on my next boat as those paints are much improved and easier to clean up after.

Before I drifted, bolted, or screwed any wood parts together I liberally spread at least two coats of red primer oil paint to all surfaces. If possible the last coat still wet while the pieces were joined. Finish coats as desired. Interior Forest Green, outer hull vanilla, and rub rail dark red.