Building Boats Out Of Wood: The Different Construction Approaches

March 21, 2013 | By Guest | Filed in: Outdoor Camping.

You will find basically 4 building methods when building boats out of wood; strip planking, lapstrake planking, carvel planking, and plywood construction. Occasionally a combination will be applied for custom built wooden boats.

Let us start with the most undesirable of all building methods; plywood. Generally speaking plywood is limited to the deck, joinery and very small wood boats for the novice wood boat builder. That’s not to say that a boat can’t be built from marine plywood, some older wooden boats, typically v hulls, were often plywood planked over a sturdy framework of sawn frames and longitudinal stringers. After they’ve been covered in fiberglass cloth and set with resin they could remain seaworthy for many years, with a lot care. Contemporary plywood construction nearly always incorporates epoxy. If hull planking is laminated from two or more levels of thinner plywood, the result practically mirrors cold-molded construction. Plywood’s main limitation is its incapacity to bend in two directions at once, and some wood boat plans have adopted a radius chine to overcome the disadvantages of a chine hull form. Plywood is being more and more used as a planking material for lapstrake hulls bonded with epoxy.

Strip planking now brings together traditional techniques with much more contemporary developments. Traditional strip planking for small wooden boats is very much like carvel planking, in that the spine, set up and construction technique are the same. Furthermore the planking is connected spine and body in much the same manner. The more modern day strip planking has more characteristics of cold mold planking. Newer wood boats with strip-planked hulls are typically glued with epoxy, and could be built with no frames, with glass cloth or other reinforcing (set in epoxy) providing the required strength. Backbones are almost always laminated, making use of an inner and outer stem that simplifies both setting up and planking.

To define the form of the carvel plank hull, a ribcage of sorts is added to the spine. This is done first with molds, which may be thought of as temporary bulkheads spaced every couple of feet for the complete length of the boat. At this time once the form has been established, ribbands, or longitudinal stringers, are fastened over the molds. The molds and ribbands with each other form the framework over which a carvel wooden boat hull is built.

Lapstrake hulls usually make use of a spine similar to a carvel wood planked boat. Planks are lapped over each other and fastened at each lap, giving an even and unfinished hull with significant strength. This allows lapstrake hulls to be framed soon after they have been planked, as opposed to before, which means that ribbands can be dispensed with when setting up. Molds are erected on the spine as with carvel planking, but they are normally far more extensively spaced. Because there are less molds, the form of the boat will largely be determined by the flexibility of the wood.

Hagadone Marine can help you select an excellent classic wooden boat in Spokane, no matter the construction. It is best anytime you happen to be acquiring a wooden boat, to have it surveyed or to get it from a reliable wood boat dealer.

For more information about owning a boat built from wood, contact our Sales Center @ 866.525.3232 or via email For restoration services contact the Resort Boat Shop @ 208-667-5099 or via email You can also visit us on the web @ www(dot)hagadonemarine(dot)com

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