10′ Rowboat built in Australia

Bob Commens from Toowoomba Australia has built a 10′ Rowboat. Bob has done a great job constructing the boat.

Check out some of the pictures here:

Bob wrote a few words about the boat plans package and his thoughts about the construction process:

I have recently purchased plans for a row boat from your company and am pleased with the results. I have attached some photos of the construction and the finished product for your viewing.

The five manuals provided were very helpful and were referenced extensively prior to, and throughout the construction project. I had no prior experience with boat building, however have been working in wood for a considerable time.

The boat construction was straight forward and easy to follow with good final product results.

Bob also sent some photos of his normal works. Bob makes jewelry boxes and the one on the picture is some 300mm x 200mm x 100mm. Nice work.

Read more about the 10′ Rowboat and buy the boat plans here:

Boat plans for the 10′ Rowboat

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Naval Architect

5 Professional Tips for Building A Better Boat – Part 1

Whether you’re building a boat out of necessity, as a hobby or as a “one day” dream escape, you know the job is more than a simple weekend project.  Part of the pride of building your own boat is the dedication and time you put into it.  While anyone can easily follow boat plans, the ones who build the best boats are those who learn from the experience of others.

When asked what my 5 best tips for boat builders are, I almost always say the same things.  The simplest steps can save lots of time.  Likewise, the simplest errors can cause major headaches.  Using these tricks and techniques will help you stay on track.

1.  Always Measure Twice

How does the old saying go?  “Measure twice: Cut once.”  It’s true!  You would be wise to check the lofting and other work that involves measuring. Few things are as annoying as wasting wood because of measuring mistakes.

2.  Step Back and Look At Your Work

Working at such a close proximity to your boat is just the nature of the job.  However, it’s always a good idea to step back and look at your work from a distance once in awhile. This is especially important when lofting and assembling. Inaccuracies and errors that are not noticeable at close range can become obvious when you look at the big picture.  Taking time periodically to view your boat from several feet back will help you identify – and correct – mistakes before you get too far along in the process.

To be continued…

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Naval Architect

3 Tips for Choosing the Right Boat Plans

Oftentimes, the hardest part of building a boat is choosing the right boat plans. Unless you have a longtime dream of setting sail on a particular craft, you’ll want to take several things into consideration before purchasing boat plans. This way, you can ensure you’ll have a goal you can accomplish without abandoning it halfway through due to lack of time, money or experience.

Tip #1 – Decide what type of boat you want to build

If you’ve never built a boat before, it only makes sense that you’d choose boat plans with a simple design. However, if you’ve got a little experience under your belt, you may be ready to step up to something more detailed and complex.

One of the most crucial tips for choosing the right boat plans is deciding on the type of boat. Your experience level, how much you have allotted to spend on materials and the amount of time you can allocate to the project are important considerations.

You’ll also need to think about where you’ll build your boat. Do you have space in a garage or workshop – or can you create a temporary spot – to devote to boat building for (possibly) an extended period of time?

Tip #2 – Understand what’s required to make it happen

More simplistic boat plans such as canoes, dinghies and row boats could feasibly be built in just a few weekends. The cost for a canoe, depending on where in the world you are located, would be reasonably low: around $300US on average. For a row boat; about $450US.

On the opposite end of the scale, it might take around $800 and several months to build a 19-foot pram or $15,000 to construction a 40-foot tug boat. Of course, the amount of time increases considerably with the scope and scale of the project.

With that information in mind, you should do a few calculations. For instance, let’s say you can only devote time to boat building on the weekends. If you put in 8 hours on Saturday and Sunday, that gives you 16 hours per week. If it takes 45-60 hours (on average) to build a canoe, you can estimate your launch date as X number of weeks away from the start of your project.

Something else to ask yourself is with regard to expenses. Can you pay for all the materials at once or will you need to build your boat in phases? Listing all the necessary materials and the cost associated with them is a good idea regardless of how you’ll finance the project.

If you do need to build in phases, check the boat plans to see which items you’ll need at which points along the way. Then you can design your budget accordingly.

Tip #3 – Look for complete, detailed boat plans with 3-D computer models

You might think all boat plans are created equally. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are no regulations with regard to boat plans so practically anyone who chose to could draw them up and sell them. You want to be careful to choose boat plans that were created by a professional and that will give you all the help and guidance you need.

Look for boat plans drafted by master boat builders and, when possible, opt for plans from Naval Architects to ensure quality and ease of use. You also would be wise to select boat plans that come with computer-generated, 3-D models. Imagine how much added help you’ll get from being able to rotate the model, zoom in, pan, view cross sections and more.

With a few calculations and considerations, you’ll be able to choose just the right boat plans for your experience level, time and money. The results? A vessel you can be proud to sail for years to come.

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Naval Architect

Can I Build a Boat? The 4 Basic Building Steps

Pushing off from the shore, you set sail across the water with an enormous sense of pride and anticipation. You’ve done it! You’ve built your own boat and are free to take on any water-bound adventure you can envision. That may be your dream, but for many building a boat seems like an impossible task. Take heart!

While it may require some patience and a few new power tools (nothing wrong with that!), there are really only 4 basic steps to building a boat.

Step 1: Choosing a Boat Design

What do you want to be the captain of? A simple canoe? A row boat? How about a skiff or dinghy? From catamarans to tugboats, you can choose whatever type of wooden boat plans you’d like.

Of course, the bigger the boat, the more complex the plans and the longer it will take to complete. For your first attempt, you might consider a canoe or row boat. But if you’ve been there and done that and have now set your sights on bigger fish (so to speak), you may be ready to tackle a speedboat or a pram. Once you decide, you’ll only have 3 basic steps to complete before sailing off into the sunset.

Step 2: Lofting

According to Wikipedia.com, “Lofting is a drafting technique whereby curved lines are drawn on wood and the wood then cut for woodworking. The technique can be as simple as bending a flexible object (such as a long cane) so that it passes over three points and drawing the curved line.

“Lofting is particularly useful in boat building, when it is used to draw and cut pieces for hulls and keels, which are usually curved, often in three dimensions.”

If you can draw a curved line on a piece of plywood, you have the basics of lofting wooden boat plans down already.

Step 3: Assembling

There’s a method to the madness when it comes to organizing and assembling the pieces of wooden boat plans. Once you learn a few tricks of the trade, the process goes pretty quickly.

Assembling each section in the right order and using the correct materials and techniques makes all the difference in the world. When you get expert help in the form of plans and/or boat building courses; putting together your dream craft is as easy as following the instructions and pictures.

Step 4: Laminating

Boats made from wooden boat plans are created from individual pieces of wood. Those pieces have to be connected in order to have a finished vessel. If this were anything other than a boat, you might just use nails or screws to hold everything in place. But since our creation will be placed in the water, connecting the pieces has to be both functional and also leak proof.

Although it might sound strange, water can be a boat’s worst nightmare. The seams of your vessel have to be watertight in order for your boat to stay afloat. This is where many a novice boat builder goes astray. There are 4 basic techniques for laminating correctly the first time. Each has its pros and cons. Taking time to learn all 4 and which would be best for the boat you dream of building will be well worth your while.

In essence, that’s it. That’s all it takes to build a boat. If you were wondering whether you could do it or not, the answer is yes provided you have the right plans and instructions. I recommend you start small and work your way up. Get a little experience under your belt then move up in size and complexity until you create the boat you’ve always wanted.

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Naval Architect

How To Create An Affordable Boat Building Workshop – Part 2

Continued from… How To Create An Affordable Boat Building Workshop – Part 1

Climate Controlled

The only reason (other than your own, personal comfort) to work in a climate-controlled area is the use of epoxy, which can only be used in temperatures of 41F (5C) and above.  Therefore if you are not able to heat your workshop, make sure you build during seasons where the lowest temperatures don’t fall below 41F (5C).

For those working in spaces that are not climate controlled, you can start building during wintertime when the temperatures are low. This will give you time to loft, cut and assemble the pieces from your boat plans.  Then, once the weather gets warmer, you can move on with using glue, fiberglass tape and epoxy.


In optimal conditions, your workshop will have electrical power for power tools, lights, etc. Drop cords run to the worksite will do nicely.  However, most boat plans can be built using only hand tools if necessary.


If you’re using power tools, either a circular saw or saber saw will be needed, otherwise, you’ll need a handsaw.  In addition, you’ll want to equip your workshop with pencils, a measuring tape, a lumber fillet (you can use plastic spoons for this!), a carpenter’s square and sandpaper.  That’s it!


Be sure your workshop is well ventilated when working with paints and stains.  It’s no fun building a boat when you feel queasy!  Also, you’ll want to wear gloves when working with epoxy, as it is highly dangerous if it gets on your skin.

As you can see, it’s easy to create a makeshift boat building workshop.  With a little space, some sort of cover and a few simple tools, you’ll be crafting your dream boat sooner than you think!

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Naval Architect

17′ Picnic barge being built

Marcel from Holland is building a 17′ Picnic barge. Marcel is doing great progress and a great job with the boat.

Check out some of the pictures here:

17' Picnic barge being built

17' Picnic barge being built

17' Picnic barge being built

17' Picnic barge being built

17' Picnic barge being built

Read more about the 17′ Picnic barge and buy the boat plans here:

Boat plans for the 17′ Picnic barge

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Naval Architect