Wooden Boat Building

Wooden boat building is one of the oldest forms of engineering that allowed man to create everything from small dinghies to vast floating cities, all aimed at conquering these massive oceans. Wooden boat building was quite popular mainly due to easy availability of wood, a material that was easy to work with, light enough to float and naturally waterproof. Over the years, amateur boat builders have turned to wooden boat building to learn the basics of the art and this has been one of the most incredible forms of engineering that has lived on despite the onset of technology.

Wooden boat building is one of the most basic forms of boat building with wood being the most basic of materials used for the process. Usually, Cedar and Oak wood, two forms that are resistant to rotting, are used for wooden boat building. With the growth of modern technology, the hull of the boat has another added ingredient in the form of an epoxy coating that allows the water resistance levels to rise as well as keep out marine & fresh water organisms that add to the deterioration.

Wooden boat building involves some serious engineering principles, especially when building boats with curved hulls or wooden planks. There are several different methods of constructing the hull of the boat and each of these techniques requires a special kind of expertise in that particular field.

The different wooden Boat building Types are:


The most common form of wooden boat construction, Carvel involves creation of a basic frame on which planks of wood are placed in curved shapes, similar to the staves of a barrel. The hull is completely smooth and the gaps between the planks are filled with cotton or oakum before being covered with a waterproof substance.


A very popular form of wooden boat building, brought about by the Vikings, the Clinker or the Lapstrake involved planks of wood being placed along their lengths, with one plank slightly overlapping the other. The overlapping part was beveled for a tight fit and that meant that there would be no gaps for water to seep in. In Britain, the Lapstrake form of wooden boat building was known as Clinker.

Strip Planking

A form of wooden boat building popular with amateurs, strip planking involves edge-gluing of strips of wood that are further reinforced with nails or staples. Once the glue has dried, the staples or nails are removed. Flexible strips of wood are used for the process, securing them around narrow, temporary forms, which are later removed to leave the shape of the wood in the glued shape.

Sheet Plywood Boat Building

This is another form of wooden boat building wherein sheets or panels of plywood are used to form a round hull. These panels are fitted to a frame while another technique involves something called a "Stick-and-Glue" method wherein pre-shaped panels of plywood are simply pasted together.

Cold Moulding

One of the strongest structures of all wooden boat building techniques, cold moulding involves the use of different layers of thin wood, called veneers, placed in different directions. The structure is similar to a fiberglass hull and is commonly used in making super yachts.

Once you have decided on the design and the material that you will be using for your wooden boat building hobby, you need to get your hands on the right tools. With the right tools in place, you would then need a blueprint to create your wooden boat. There are many websites that give away wooden boat building plans and these can either be downloaded for free, or for nominal fees. Most hardware stores as well as specialized boat building equipment stores also provide these blueprints that have varied levels of difficulty.

Alternately, you can also buy a boat building kits that are available for people with different skill levels. These kits allow you to build boats based on a pre-designed plan, and contain all the material that you will ever need to build your boat. Depending on the kind of wooden boat you are building, you will need to get some glue to stick things together, at most.

Wooden boat building is a fascinating hobby for people of all ages. If you are an adult and are looking to spend some quality time with your children, what better way to get together, than build a boat that can, latter, be taken to a nearby lake and tested. You can spend hours of fun-time building these boats and then days on the lake in these wonderful creations, built with your very own hands.

People looking for a hobby can certainly take up wooden boat building, not just for the pleasure that you get from building things with your own hands, but to enjoy the joys of heading to the waters with these wonderful creations. Although it may not be a very cheap hobby to take up, you might still end up with some great prices if you look at the right places for materials and equipment.

All in all, there are hardly better ways to spend those nice long summer vacations than taking up wooden boat building in earnest.

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