Build your own boat

nf10Building a sailboat is not an easy task. There are a million components and things that can go wrong, yet there are also a million things can go right. You need a lot of patience and elbow grease to complete such a monumental task effectively!

Choosing your sailboat

You must begin with plans specifically designed for boat building. It is not hard to source some online, but if you have a specific design in mind, you may want to hire an architect. Alternatively, you can decide to purchase either a new or second-hand vessel. You may consider a style that is easy to transport without the help of major moving equipment. Cost is another factor to consider, as the bigger the sailboat, the higher the cost. Keep an eye on your budget, to ensure you don’t overspend.

Getting started

With plans in hand, you will need to trace some the parts of the boat onto full-sized marine ply, which is a form of waterproof plywood. This requires meticulous care in the transfer of measurements, as the slightest deviation can wreak havoc on your ability to build a perfectly working vessel.

To draw the curves, you can use a 1″ brads, nailed into the panel along with a flexible straight edged ruler that follows the curve, to be traced with a permanent marker. It is noteworthy that symmetrical sides only need to be traced once. You can cut two sheets at once. This way the vessel would not be skewed to one side, as both would have the exact same shape.

This guarantees the vessel will not be out of line. By clamping or screwing the two sheets together, this ensures they can’t move and cause issues later.

A craftsmanship needing skills

You can cut all the traced parts out with a Japanese pull-saw, allowing you more control over the cutting of the curves. Be sure to just cut outside the marked lines. This way you have some wiggle room in the event you make a mistake. The rough edge can be sanded away at the end.

If you have steady hands, by all means use power tools. These get the job done quicker, while exerting minimal effort. However, if you are not very steady, I implore you to use hand tools as you will have greater control. Glue your parts together with waterproof glue and a couple of stainless steel lag bolts to ensure nothing comes apart. For gluing pieces together, be sure to entirely coat the outer side with a thin layer of glue. Using a flat edged of piece of left over wood, line up the edges carefully and then clamp together. Waterproof glue usually sets in approximately six hours.

It is always simpler to do all the ‘woodwork’ to any parts to be attached to the vessel before assembling. There are some situations that once you have screwed all components, you will have to purchase more material and trace, cut and sand again.

You can also choose to chalk the seams of the boat to ensure that no water can get into the vessel. Applying waterproof paint specially designed for marine applications is not necessary, but it offers a little extra to the life of the vessel.

Hole it a minute

For cutting holes to locate any device on your vessel, you can use a coring drill bit about a half-inch from the necessary size. The idea is that you can always make the hole bigger but you can never make it smaller. Use sandpaper to sand the remainder for a tight secure fit.