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How Long Would It Take To Build A Boat On Your Own
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How Long Would It Take To Build A Boat On Your Own?

The time it would take to build a boat all by yourself will take a significant amount of time. It will take a lot of patience and sheer determination. Most people just give up midway due to all the exhausting steps you need to take.

The key is to stick to the plan to utilize all the materials at your disposal correctly. However, the duration will depend on the type of boat you wish to build and the materials you are using.

To give you a proper idea of the required time, we are going to discuss the different types of boats you can build and the types of materials used.

Building Different Types Of Boats

Building a boat on your own is not an easy task. It requires a lot of hard work and takes up a lot of time. The building processes discussed above are two of the most straightforward methods available for amateurs.

If you’re an aspiring woodworker and haven’t built a boat before, we recommended carrying out the steps under expert supervision. Having an extra pair of hands will also reduce the time required significantly.

However, you need to have some necessary woodworking skills to construct a sturdy boat.

A Cedar Strip Canoe

Before you start building a boat, you need to gather all the necessary information beforehand. To do so, you can read individual books available online or just read some informative articles on boat building.

After you have a proper idea as to what you’re dealing with, it’s time to choose a design. You need to consider whether you want to build it as a hobby or you want to make a cottage or camping canoe.

Pick A Plan

The next step is to pick a plan for your canoe. There are several retailers that sell plans for building boats, which act as the blueprints. It contains all the design characteristics and a list of materials you need. Each set of plans can be different and, therefore, have different methods as well.

Build A Working Platform

You also need to build a working platform (ideally out of wood) that is thin, rigid, and strong enough to assemble the boat on. You then need to cut out the form on plywood.

You can use plywood, MDF, or particleboard. Simply draw out the cross-sections of the hull on the plywood according to the plan. The forms, which act as the base of the canoe, need to be built beforehand.

 Afterward, use drywall screws to attach the forms to the strongback. The forms should be strategically placed on the station blocks then screwed tight.

Attach The Cedar Strips

The strips need to be glued next along the edges and stapled together. A table saw is used to cut and mill the strips uniformly. A circular saw is preferred for this step. Another set of strips is then steamed and attached to the stem forms.

Before gluing them, you need to wait for it to dry first. The next step is to attach the inner stems. Two screws should be used separately for this procedure. One screw goes through the last hull form into the end of the stem; others go through the other end through the stem form.

The next step requires you to start attaching the long strips starting from the bottom to the center of the hull. The edges are glued together and stapled to the form. This process takes a lot of time.

Once all the strips are attached to the hull, they need to be trimmed to shape the bow and stern stems. Gouge out all the staples, but be careful not to leave any dents.

Sand The Hull Thoroughly

Now to give the hull a smooth finish. Sand evenly across the hull until all the square off edges have rounded off. A fiberglass layer is then laid on top of the hull and smoothed with a brush.

Three coats of epoxy and hardener are to be applied afterward in small batches. After removing the hull from the molds, the hull needs to be flipped upright. The inner hull is sanded next.

Sanding must be thorough using orbital sanders, and a bottle fitted with sanders can sand inside the hull curves.

Next, fiberglass is applied to the inner hull then smoothed in the same manner. Epoxy and hardened should be applied in the same manner as before.

Next step is to attach the gunnels, which will provide stability for the thwarts later on. Seat frames made of hardwood are constructed next. You can use leftover cedar strips for making the seat pads.

Finishing Touches

Then you need to sand the epoxy using a 220 grit sander to give it a rougher look. To properly seal the seats, thwart, and decks, you can have to use mineral spirits and varnish. With final varnishing, your canoe is ready to be used. The entire process will take approximately 120 hours for completion.

Building An 8′ Folding Kayak

Before building a folding kayak, you need first to gather all the essential materials. The materials include two ¼ 4’x 8’ sheets of untreated plywood, one piece of wood lathe, 1”x 2” wood for seating support, exterior latex primer, exterior latex paint, 200 inch heavy canvas, wood glue (waterproof), two 2 inch screws and matching nuts, velcro, contact cement, several C clamps.

Construct The Cockpit

For the cockpit opening, you would need to clamp two pieces of wood together. It can be of any shape you desire but must start around 41 inches from the front of the kayak.

The cut needs to be 28 inches long and 5 inches deep. To check if the cuts are symmetrical, clamp the four pieces of wood together. The front and back shouldn’t be too pointy, or else it will be hard to attach the canvas.

 After taping the wood together, apply primer to the interior of the kayak. After the primer settles, paint the interior as well.

Spacers And Spreaders

Next, you would need to build the spacers and spreaders. For the spreaders, you need to cut four 11″x 24″ pieces of 1x 4″ plywood. Two such pieces should be bonded together using C clamps and glue. It should form two 1x 2″ rectangles. To reduce the weight, cut out the center of the spreaders.

For the two spacers, you need to cut 2- 3×3″ pieces of plywood and 4 – 2″x 6″ pieces of plywood. After drilling a hole in the center of all the pieces, place the 3″ pieces between the 2″x 6″ pieces and attach them with 2-inch screws and nuts.

Prepare the Canvas

To prepare the canvas, draw outlines of the strips on it first. Apply to layers of contact cement on it next. Place the constructed spacer blocks on the kayak and assemble it accordingly. Apply contact cement 2 inches from the edge of the boat and wait for it to dry.

After that, you need to attach the canvas strips within the same boundary. Short ones for the front and rear, and longer ones for the sides. After the strips are attached to the sides, topple it over and do the same for the bottom.

Apply contact cement where the strips overlap. This entire step will consume a lot of time, so you need to be patient. Let it dry afterward.

Attach Stop Blocks

Eight stop blocks made of the wood lathe are needed to keep the spreaders in place. Attach the spreaders inside the boat. Next, you need to use waterproof glue to install the stop blocks.

The following step requires you to install the spreader boards. After determining the largest gaps from the front and end of the cockpit, decide the width of your canvas strip.

Install Center Canvas

An estimated length of the strip is 13 inches. Clamp the canvas onto the kayak and mark the front and back. After installing the canvas according to the width of the kayak, draw an outline around the canvas. Two layers of contact cement need to be added within that outline.

Assemble The Kayak

The seat and rails are installed next. You need two rails made of 1″ x 2″ pieces of wood and glue it to the floor of the kayak. The seats will be made of two pieces of plywood matching the size of the spreaders.

The width will be the same as the distance between the rails. After they painted and primed, attach the seats and rails with velcro.

Finishing Touches

Your kayak would now be ready to use. All you need to do is prime the kayak, the seats, and spreader boards, and you’ll be ready to go. You will need to apply at least three generous coats of exterior latex paint. Considering you’re an amateur, building a kayak like this will take about 250 hours.

Final Words

Always make sure you put safety first. Wear safety goggles and gloves when working with saws and sanders. Apply the paint and primer in a well-ventilated area. It is pretty hard to estimate how long it would take for you to build a boat without knowing your experience.

Therefore, we provided you with two of the easier boat building processes to give you a fair approximation. If you are an experienced woodworker, you might not take so long.