Make fillets the easy way

When it’s time to bond the inside corners of your boat, a fillet is generally the way to go. This can require the use of a special tool and a lot of patience. Or you can make them the easy way using ordinary, disposable plastic spoons. To create the curved shape, just use the back of the spoons. The spoons are sturdy enough to handle the thick epoxy. They are also durable enough to hold up without dissolving in the resin. Using disposable spoons makes cleanup easier, too!

Watch this video and se the fillet process in action!

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Master Boat Builder and Naval Architect

Boat kits in all Europe

Some time ago I build my own CNC router and the machine is running really good and manufacturing boat kits in an increasing pace. Not only is the CNC router running but I have also been able to find really competitive shipping prices for all over Europe. Therefore I am really happy to announce that I have launched that will be the website in English for the European boat kits market.

As you may know I also have boat kit websites in German, Swedish and Danish language. Please have a look at them here:

Ohh by the way, do you want to see the new CNC router in action? Here is a video showing a test run of the machine.

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Master Boat Builder and Naval Architect

How To Create An Affordable Boat Building Workshop – Part 1

Boat building has long been a passion for many people. The relaxation of crafting something from hand, the pride in accomplishing a project and the joy of sailing away on a boat you made yourself all add to the excitement of boat building.  However, some never get to experience this leisurely pursuit because they think they have nowhere to build a boat. 

The launch of the television show NCIS has heightened the awareness of boat building as Mark Harmon’s character, Special Agent Gibbs, pours over his boat plans in almost every episode. Granted, building a boat in your basement might not be the best idea (Gibbs never explained how he got the boat out of his house), but there are other ways to create an affordable boat building workshop.

A Little Space Will Do Ya

Building a boat doesn’t require a large amount of dedicated space.  Most boat builders use whatever is available and will make due in a temporary situation.  A garage or shed, a pent roof or tent, even a few pieces of PVC pipe glued together with a few tarps tossed over the top will do.  The important thing is not the space itself, but what you put in your boat building space.

Stocking Your Workshop

When deciding where to build your boat, here are some things of importance to remember. You’ll want your workshop to be a bit larger than the boat you want to build. Three feet of free space around the boat is optimal, but less would certainly do.  You will want enough space to be able to freely move around all sides of the boat. You can use your boat plans to determine the finished size.  Then add two to three feet to each side to calculate the size of your workshop.

To be continued…

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Naval Architect

Handsaw for boat building

I think we have all tried using a handsaw and as such it does not require much introduction.

Most will properly say that it’s one of those hand tools that is easy to use but best for cutting something that don’t require much precision.

My point will be that this statement can’t be more wrong and handsaws are one of the most useful hand tools when talking about home and backyard boat building.


Lets start looking at the different handsaws. When you go to your hardware store you can find dozens of different handheld manual saws each with its own characteristic and more or less spectacular look. Some of them serve a very specific purpose like cutting keyholes other are hybrids invented by imaginative handsaw manufacturer.

This article is not about all the spectacular or hybrid saws you can find in your hardware store. It’s about the old fashion well known handsaw that has been used since our great grandfather’s great grandfather was a kid. That said the modern handsaws you get for almost nothing is in some aspect a hybrid, but more of that later.

There are two things to look at when choosing a handsaw. One is the length of the saw blade and the other is the number of teeth, normally called points to the inch, points per inch or TPI.

A normal all-round handsaw should be between 20” (500 mm) and 22” (560 mm) long. You can get handsaws that are both shorter and longer but my experience says that they are shorter that 20” (500 mm) you won’t get a good rhythm in your cut and if they are longer than 22” (560 mm) they get too flabby when cutting.

Another thing to consider when choosing the right handsaw is the number of points. Choosing a handsaw with some 6 to 8 points to the inch is ideal seen from my perspective. You will then get a handsaw that cut a relatively nice cut and still be able to make longer cuts without using much time and effort on the job.

Back in the old days there were two types of handsaws. Rip saws and crosscut saws. The difference was the way the teeth were filed. Also the saws were used for two different purposes. The rip saw used for cutting with the grains and the crosscut – surprise surprice – for cutting perpendicular to the grains. purposes. for two different puroor two different puroy the teeth were t using much time and effort on the job.   number of theet

rib sawRip saw
crosscut sawCrosscut saw

You can still get rip and crosscut saws in your hardware store but I have always found them to be expensive to buy. Also another interesting issue is the way the teeth are hardened.

Nowadays you get most handsaws with hardened and tempered saw blades. This is great since the saw will last much longer. On the other hand it can also be a problem if you use the saw for cutting old wood where there might be metal nails or screws leftover. If you once touch metal with the hardened saw blade it’s gone and will never be able to do a decent cut again.

I recommend you buy the cheapest handsaw you can find. I normally find them for between $5 and $10. Most times it’s not necessary to think much about rip or crosscut saws because the cheap handsaws most times comes with a bastard cut saw blade.

The bastard cut is a hybrid between the rip and crosscut saw. The teeth has the profile like a rip saw but are filed like a crosscut saw. This makes them suitable for cutting both with the grains and across the grains.

Some will say that the bastard saw is not good for either cuts but my experience says that with some practice you can make great quality cuts with the bastard handsaw and you don’t have to pay a fortune. If you are unlucky and cut in some metal it is no big deal, out with the old saw and get a new one.

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Naval Architect

Circular saw for boat building

Circular saws come in two different types. One is handheld and one is stationary (table mounted). This article is only about the handheld type.

The circular saw consists of a circular blade with saw teeth round the edge. The blade is connected directly to an electric motor and there is also some kind of fixture making it possible to guide the saw blade over the material being cut.

circular saw

The saw blades can have different numbers of teeth. The more teeth the blade has the finer the cut will be but the cutting speed will also be slower.

Using a circular saw is great for cutting straight and relatively moderate curvature. The cut can be done real accurate. Also the surface finish is good when using fine teeth saw blades and relatively slow cutting speed.

The circular saw can be adjusted to cut different thicknesses of plywood and wood. With most saws this is an easy operation only requiring operating one handle. Also most circular saws can cut different angles making it easy doing bevel cuts.

As mentioned earlier the circular saw can be really helpful when cutting moderate curves. However making the curves requires that the saw is equipped with an anti-snag device. The device can be seen on the picture below.

circular saw with anti-snagging

When cutting with the circular saw the forward teeth cuts the plywood. Since the saw blade is circulating the teeth also have to pass through the plywood with the aft part of the blade. When the aft teeth are passing the material there is a risk they will snag forcing the circular saw to suddenly move up the cut.

This is more likely to happen if you are making curved cuts. Now with the anti-snagging device this is prevented so the aft of the saw blade won’t get into the cut. This means that the cut will be of better quality and more important your safety will not be compromised by any uncontrolled snagging.

Basically the handheld circular saw is a fine tool for home and backyard boat builders, but with this tool and any other electrical cutting tool it’s important to use it according to the safety and security guidelines given by the manufacturer. It’s also important to be careful and focused when using the tool so you avoid any accidents. Because remember the best way to avoid accidents is to think before you act.

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Naval Architect

Kindle for boat building books

For some time now I have been the lucky owner of a Kindle from Amazon. The Kindle is an ebook reader.

My kindle for boat building books

I love the Kindle reading device simply because it’s now possible for me to go on holiday or weekends without having to consider which books I should bring with me. Also I minimize the risk of bringing the wrong books, meaning ones that I didn’t want to read after all, because I always bring my entire library with me.

Another thing I love is the screen on the Kindle. It simply lets me read anywhere even in bright sunlight where ordinary screens on cellphones, iPad or laptops must give up. The screen on the Kindle makes it possible for me to read where I would also have read a book.

I know there are many different ebook readers available and I am sure many of them are great also. I only have a Kindle, so therefore that’s the one this blog post is about 🙂

Amazon KindleBefore we continue the ‘Kindle for boat building books’ please allow me a small add. If you want to buy a Kindle please use this link (if you buy using the link I will receive a small commission :-)).

So since I own a Kindle and I am a boat building nerd I have of course bought a number of books about boat building to my Kindle.

First the topic of the book doesn’t change the overall experience of reading on the Kindle. It’s still the same fantastic experience and there are many fine reasons for using the device for that.

Second there is an issue with pictures and graphic. It’s something I have seen before with other books and honestly it looks like it comes from the fact that many physical book publishers don’t recognize that publishing on a Kindle is different from print.

I think the publishers see a way of easily expand their business without paying attention to the fact that publishing on a Kindle requires work. Some of the errors are so horrible that I think they didn’t even flip through their own book before publishing it on Kindle.

When publishing my own books to the Kindle I learned that the process requires much time to get the result look good, so you my friend as a reader of my Kindle books will get the best experience reading my boat building books on your Kindle.

However there is still one problem I can’t overcome. This is the drawings. Since there is no print function from the Kindle you can’t get the drawings on paper. That’s not good when you want to build a boat. Therefore I promise you that when you buy my Boat Building Master Course, Kindle version, and need the plans for building I will sent you the drawings as pdf free of charge.

Boat Building Master Course for Amazon Kindle

Boat Building Master Course as paperback

Boat building – Amazon Kindle booklet – Only $ 2.99 (+ VAT when applicable)

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Naval Architect