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 Post subject: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:23 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
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Got most of my autum chores done and so I am trying to crank out a cheap plywood skiff that should be ready by the second duck open, we have a split season. I was trying to keep costs under $100 but with recent spikes in the cost of lumber it looks like it'll be about $100 for just lumber and fasteners. Building it by eye, so I will have to provide the transom and stem dimensions later but any one who has ever built a pirogue should catch on pretty quick. Here is the materials list-

Two sheets 1/4" 4x8 ACX- $55
One spf 2x4 8'- $6. (Six freaking dollars for an 84 cent two by four!?)
One spf 2x6 14'- $18 (!!!??)
One bottle Tightbond III - $8
One tube PL Premium polyurethane adhesive- $7
100 #6x1" zinc coated screws $5

Total, $99 , and hopefully all that's left to buy is a gallon of latex house paint.

Sides will be made 12" x 12' (12"x4' plus 12"x8' fastened with 12"x8" butt blocks) leaving me with a 36" x 8' and 24" x 8' to form the bottom and transom. The one center frame will be 31-1/2" on the bottom with 20 degree sides. I will try to post a picture and maybe plans when it's done. Finished hull might be about 11' long with less than 40" beam. Propulsion will be a double bladed paddle.

Man! I hope this works...



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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:31 pm 
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Location: Omaha, NE
I bought plans and hardware from Glen-L Marine oh, 30 years ago for a similar skiff. Good thing it was all corrosion resistant fasteners. I‘m all set if the mood strikes me to build it.

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 12:39 pm 
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I've built at least a half a dozen simple flat bottom plywood boats. This one will essentially be disposable like a Bic cigarette lighter. My experience tells me that if I can keep paint on her it should last two, maybe three seasons before it rots out and gets a Viking funeral. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:52 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5152
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
I built my first boat as a kid in about 1961 out of 5, 1'' x 12" pine boards. I built a pirogue in my kitchen in 1970 something when I got back from Vietnam (I was a bachelor at the time). I used a free plan from Sports Afield. I have killed at least a quadzillion clapper rails in it & quite a few ducks. I still use it! It is tied to my garage roof. It was made out of 1, 14' sheet of 3/8" marine plywood & a few cypress battens. It was originally covered in fiberglass but I recovered it in epoxyglass some years ago. I don't know how much you think your time is worth, but I would get some plans for anything more complicated than a plywood john boat. Spira International has some good & simple plans that call for regular construction plywood covered in fiberglass. They are not expensive & I think they have some free plans. I would at least get the basic lines from plans or you can take them from an existing boat.


Last edited by geometric on Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
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I tried to find plans for the boat I want, could not find them....

But that's okay, the only dimensions I gotta figure out are the angle of the bow and stern cuts to the sides, the angle of the leading edge of the stem, and the transom size- peice of cake. Just dry fit the frame and sides together by eye and take a bevel gauge to it.

The best way to build a simple boat is to throw your tape measure away as soon as the frame is built. So long as it is symmetrical it'll float right-side -up. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:42 pm 
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Location: Omaha, NE
Please post pics when you’re done.

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
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I'll try for pictures but no guarantee. I determined the sides at the bow will be cut at 12" to nothing- a forty-five degree angle.

I started at 10:am or so and got the frame done and the sides gluing up. As soon as my butt joints for the sides are dry I can stretch it all together and make the transom width pretty much whatever I want so long as I got enough material for the bottom. Right now it is looking to be 20" on the bottom of transom and whatever flare looks decent regarding the rocker. No worries.

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:18 am 
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Okay, got it dry fit. Still gotta cut out notches in the frame for the chine logs and cut out a stem. Leading edge of stem will be a forty-five degree angle, transom cut to the stern sides will be six inches forward at the chine to nothing at the sheer. Transom is 14" high, 20" on bottom and 24" at top.

That along with the dimensions previously mentioned should be all the measurements needed. The bottom will get cut to fit after it is glued on.

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 8:17 pm 
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Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:19 pm
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Definitely want to see some pics when it's done.


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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:03 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5152
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
I wish you luck, I think you might need it! A mortar box will float! You don't really need plans if you are a good craftsman but I would strongly advise taking the lines from an existing boat of a proven design. I guess a John boat is pretty much a mortar box with a transom in it. Are you going to put an outboard on it? Lines are much more important for a boat that moves through the water than one that planes on top of it! Also, another thing you might want to consider, there are usually a lot of old boats around, some needing work, that can be bought for near nothing or hauled off for free! I never got one for free but I have rebuilt a few. It is amazing what a little paint & tlc can do! You will obviously do what you want to do as it is your time & money but personally, when it is my time & money, I like to invest it in something that will serve me well & last a while!


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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
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No worries Geometric. Like I said earlier I have made about half a dozen similar skiffs and pirogue canoes. There are no complex curves. A flat bottom boat is essentially just a crooked box. I'm following the limits of the material lengths for the most part. These boats all go together pretty much the same.

Got the 1x2 chine logs and sheer clamps glued, then I fit and glued on the bottom. I can plane the bottom to shape after the glue cures. But, I had a great idea yesterday. I took a 1O t.p.i. ship point hand saw, jointed and sharpened it, then only set the teeth on one side. No need to plane. I can cut the bottom right flush to sides.

Then it's just two 1x2 keel pieces which will be structural holding the 2 piece bottom together as well as helping it track straighter when paddled. Some kind of seat too, also structural to the hull in keeping the sides from pulling in towards each other. Then paint.

No time for craftsmanship here, just hack, hack, hack, hack, hack like the used to build Mississippi steam boats! Oh, had to go to the store and fetch a box of 1-1/4" #6 screws for the bottom- six bucks. The bill is up to $105. "Oops" Paint that was mis-tinted can be found for about $10 a gallon.

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:38 pm 
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Location: Omaha, NE
Does a boat like that need to be licensed in your state?

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:26 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
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Nope. Only motor and sail boats need registration here. This hull will be paddled and poled.

Saw worked good! I got one side and half the other side of the bottom cut to shape. I'll have to do the rest with the block plane. I got a couple screw heads that did not flush up and I do not want to scratch my saw on them. Plane irons are cheap and easily sharpened compared to 100 year old cast steel saw.

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
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Well I made some errors in estimating material, I should have bought a ten foot 2x4 instead of an eight foot to make two 10' 1x2 for two keel pieces spaced 6" from center. I could have placed the bottom joint further back too, but I did not. Oh-well, it is not wrong it is custom! I'll stick with what I got and run a keel up the center as well. I got a 14' 1x2 ripped out of the 2x6 so I ran that from transom to stem. It will beef it up some, heavier, but with a couple of three inch decking screws I screwed the keel into the transom, frame, and stem --- because it wants it.

The thing about it is I don't really want more than about 2' between supports for 1/4" plywood. The most important factor in seaworthiness is that the hull does not suffer structural failure. That'd be catastrophic! This will be plenty strong, the 1/4" plywood is more likely to puncture than snap.

I had a canoe-pirogue made out of good five-ply 1/4" once. I had a cut down four legged chair in it for seating and one of the chair legs punched through the bottom one afternoon while I was setting decoys. I left my blocks and paddled like a bezerker for the shore. The boat went under 20' from shore in 6' of water. I don't want to do that again, too old now for that kind of nonsense.

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 7:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
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I'm ready for paint but the weather ain't. Good news is I might be able to move this project to a neighbor's basement, and he knows how to post photographs. The bad news is I like to wait a minimum of a week for the three coats of acrylic latex to dry completely. When you stick wet paint into water it tends to slag off. Duck opens Saturday and the shuts down for five days, iirc. Boat should be ready to float by the second open on Oct. seventeen. Hopefully.

I will check to make sure it floats right-side-up before I load the decoys. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:02 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5152
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
I knew the guy that recreated the plans for the Simmons Sea Skiff. We were not close friends but I met him at Simmons day in Wilmington NC & had a number of telephone conversations with him. He said good latex paint is good as you can get, for wood anyway. He wrote several articles about wood preservatives. I wondered, how does this guy know so much about paint & chemicals? Then I found out he retired from DuPont as a chemical engineer after about 40 yrs. He said the majority of research on paint in recent years has been with latex house paint. Also, glycol antifreeze is an excellent anti rot preservative for wood. It has to be reapplied periodically but it kills everything, including you & your pets if you drink it. Be careful with it if you use it & you should be ok.


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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 8:35 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
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I've used epoxy thinned with ethylene glycol on a rotten frame in an old fishing boat. The mix ratio is detailed in one of the West System manuals. Works good. Penetrates to kill all the rot and strengthens everything back up.

I'm also familiar somewhat with the Simmons Sea Skiff! I bought a copy of Wooden Boat magazine years ago with an article about them. From what I read Simmons didn't use jigs or even a strong back for setting frames, which is pretty much unthinkable for a 20' boat. Some pretty crazy craftsmanship came out of the Simmons shop.

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2020 10:01 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5152
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
Yea, Simmons was a pretty savvy boat builder. I have the plans for the 22' version & also the 26' Bartender. I would up having a Novi built for me up in Nova Scotia.


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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2020 4:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
Posts: 10231
That Barrtender is a decent looking boat judging from the ads. What kind of power does it call for?

I lost my construction photos today. Flip phone fell off a barn roof while I was helping a friend trim trees (in return for use of his basement to paint in) and the screen won't light. :?

Got on two coats of pink colored latex floor paint that was $7.50 for the gallon cause somebody messed up the color. I'll put on another coat on tomorrow and then a finish color, green or tan. Tan for the floor for sure if I can locate some.

I still hope to get a picture or two up, i will try when I can.

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 Post subject: Re: Build a duck boat for a $ea-note?
PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2020 5:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:15 am
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Just spent about an hour and a half trying to post photo but I cannot get them into the phot album. I got them on a desktop, but when I click "continue" I get and error message?

Any help would be appreciated.



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