Learning to build a small wooden rowboat will be something that will give you personal pride and may give you a skill that can use to earn you a little extra money. The process of building a rowboat is relatively easy once you understand the basic steps involved. This wooden rowboat will be 8 feet long by 4 feet wide with a seat in the middle. The boat will be built upside down and then flipped over for easy construction. Once finished it will provide you many years of usefulness.

There are a few things that you will need to accomplish this project. First you will need, two pieces of 2 feet wide by 8 feet long 3/8 inch thick exterior grade plywood, and two pieces of trapezoid shaped 1 inch thick exterior grade plywood that are 3 foot long on one side and 4 feet long on the other side and 2 feet high in the center of the trapezoid. Following that you’ll need, one piece of 4 feet wide by 8 feet long ½ inch thick exterior grade plywood, screws, a drill, a screwdriver bit, and a saw. The other materials needed will be a tape measure, a pencil, some plastic window screening, and exterior grade latex paint. Then you’ll need five pieces of 2 feet long 2-by-4’s, two 8 feet long 2-by-4’s, three 4 feet long 2-by-4’s, and one 4 feet long 2-by-6. Finally you’ll need some rope and a two feet long ½ inch diameter oak dowel. Now it helps to have a person to help on this project and to work in an area with flat level ground. Once you have all of this you can begin the project.

The following steps are what you need to follow in order to build the strong back or foundation for the boat to be built upon. First, attach one of the 4 feet long 2-by-4’s on the same end of the two 8 feet long 2-by-4’s to begin a 4 feet by 8 feet rectangle. Next, attach another 4 feet long 2-by-4 on the opposite end of the two 8 feet long 2-by-4’s to close a 4 feet by 8 feet rectangle. Thirdly, measure and mark a point in the center of the rectangle at 4 feet in length on the two 8 feet long 2-by-4’s. Fourthly, attach the remaining 4 feet long 2-by-4 at this point between the two 8 feet long 2-by-4’s creating a center brace in the middle of the 4 feet by 8 feet rectangle. Finally, lay the 4 feet by 8 feet rectangle on the flat level ground area. The foundation to build the boat on is now complete.

The next steps are what you need to do for building the boat frame. First, attach one of the 2 feet long 2-by-4’s in a vertical position to one end of the 4 feet by 8 feet rectangle. This will form the bow or front of the boat. Next, attach one of the plywood trapezoids to the center brace of the boat’s foundation by connecting it from one face of the plywood to the side of the 2-by-4 brace with 2 of the 2 feet long 2-by-4’s. Then, put the 4 foot long side of the trapezoid toward the ground and make sure that this side is parallel to the center brace of the foundation rectangle. Now, attach the other of the plywood trapezoids to the end of the boat’s foundation where nothing is currently attached by connecting it from one face of the plywood to the side of the 2-by-4 end with 2 of the 2 feet long 2-by-4’s. Then, put the 4 foot long side of the trapezoid toward the ground and make sure that this side is parallel to the end of the foundation rectangle. Following this, make sure that the sides of the trapezoids are parallel to each other. This is important because the trapezoids form the center support and transom or back of the boat. Now, check that the top and bottom sides of the trapezoids are parallel to each other. This is important because the bottom 3 feet long sides of the trapezoids will form the bottom supports for the boat. If all of the sides are parallel then the boat frame is finished.

Now we will discuss how to attach the sides to the boat frame. First, attach the 2 feet long by 8 feet long 3/8 inch thick plywood pieces to the 2 feet long 2-by-4 at the front of the boat to on opposite sides from each other. This will cause what looks like a 90 degree angle to be formed with the 2-by-4 being the center point. Following this, bend the sides toward the center support and transom of the boat frame with the help of your helper person. As the two sides get close to one another loop the rope around the pieces to where the rope can hold them close toward the center support and transom of the boat frame. Now, use the 2 feet long ½ inch oak dowel to twist the rope by lifting the bottom of the rope loop over the top of the rope loop until the rope loop is twisted and is pulling the sides in toward the boat frame. Once the sides are curved into the boat’s frame have your helper keep the tension on the twisted rope loop to hold the sides to the frame. Next, attach both sides to the center support of the boat frame. Finally, attach both sides to the transom of the boat frame. The sides are now fully attached to the boat at this point.

At this point we will discuss how to cover the bottom of the boat and painting it. Follow the following steps to accomplish this. First, lay the 4 feet by 8 feet sheet of plywood over the boat to where it is completely covering the bottom of the boat. Then, attach the 4 feet by 8 feet sheet of plywood to the boat using screws. The boat’s bottom is now covered. Now, cut off any of the 4 feet by 8 feet sheet of plywood that is hanging over the sides of the boat. Fourthly, drape the plastic window screening over the boat completely covering the boat in the window screening. As the fifth thing, paint the boat with the latex paint. As you do this, the latex paint will glue the window screening to the boat. This gives the boat protection from the elements. The sixth step is to flip the boat over when the paint has dried. At this point, unscrew the boat’s 2-by-4’s coming from the boat to the foundation frame. The next thing to do is to remove all 2-by-4’s from the center support and transom of the boat. Now, attach the 4 feet long 2-by-6 to the top of the center support of the boat. This will form the center seat of the rowboat. Following this, fold any excess window screening over the sides of the boat and into the boat’s interior. Then, paint the interior of the boat with the latex paint. At this point the boat is finished once the paint has dried.

Following this guide will guarantee you success in building your own wood rowing boat. Good luck and here’s to seeing you on the water in your own rowing boat.

Sources

Personal experience building rowing boats

Chest of Books.com: How To Build A Rowboat

Mother Earth News.com: Build a Wooden Boat