How to Build a Plywood Boat?
This article will serve as a guide for beginners of Plywood Boat constructor. As Bayou, we advise you, our valued customers, to use high-quality materials such as plywood in the wooden parts of boats and yachts. This is because your boat will come in contact with water and will be exposed to excessive moisture, assuming it will be stored near the sea. Therefore, you should use water and moisture resistant plywood material. Otherwise, you won’t have a long-lasting boat.
- For the construction of plywood boat we recommend you to use Okume Plywood mathoplywood.com/product/okoume-marine-plywood/ or Birch Plywood mathoplywood.com/product/birch-plywood/ material which is specially manufactured for this kind of works.
- Plywood varieties are always available in our stocks and we are able to send you as soon as possible.
First of all, we want to tell you a little bit about the history of wood material. Wood is an organic material used by humans since ancient times. So it’s natural. It is ready to reach us from nature. Many products have been produced using wood from the past to the present, and the field of use continues to expand. According to a determined opinion, the use of synthetic materials will decrease the use of wood, but this view is not true. If it is calculated on a per person basis, wood consumption per person increases with each passing day. Of course, the most important factor here is that the wood material has many productive and superior properties.
Today, wood is used in at least 6,000 different areas. Of course, what draws our attention here is the construction of wooden boats. Especially plywood types are the first material used for wooden boat construction.
There are several alternative materials for boatbuilding. The most well-known of these is steel. However, the steel is easily corroded. This shortens the service life of the boats. On the other hand, fibrous plastics are disadvantageous because they are affected by ultraviolet (UV) rays. The use of fiber glass is particularly attractive in the shaping of the hull part with the help of mold, as it requires both ease and low labor. However, boats made using fiber glass, both in terms of durability and the inevitable result of mass production in terms of uniform design (such as dozens, even hundreds of models), reflected as a driving factor given to the consumer monotony.
Here we need to think consumer-oriented. We need to offer consumer durable, high quality and different designs. And here we see wood material. Wood is quite aesthetically beautiful and durable.
- As a result, durable wooden plywood materials are frequently used in boat manufacturing.
Now let us begin to give you information about plywood boat construction. The Plywood boat construction is an area that can be realized in a few steps.
Plywood Boat Construction Stages
- Plywood pieces are cut according to the plan for hull construction.
- Small holes are cut into the edges of the cut parts to facilitate the assembly process.
- With the help of a wire we combine these cut parts to make them ready for assembly. Just like a puzzle.
- Required assemblies are made using adhesive materials.
- The materials to be used are then transported to the boat and the boat is ready for use.
What is the best plywood for boats?
As we mentioned above, we need to pay attention to the material we will choose in the construction of boats. Because of this material must be quite resistant to water and moisture. Today, plywood is the most widely used wooden material for boat manufacturing. It is necessary to use good materials at all times and ensure that the boat lasts longer. The best plywood for boats is Oukume plywood or marine birch plywood.
- Main Elements of the Wooden Boat
There are definitely parts on a boat. Now let’s explain them in order. At this point, we will introduce the parts of the boat to you and make the installation of the boat easier.
- Master mail
- Outer Coating
- Ballast Spine
- Shier Belt
- Deck Covering
- Deck Stringer Board
- Spine Construction
The spine is the most important part of the boat. It is the basic building block of the boat. If you want to build a boat, you must first do the backbone. Then you must proceed to other stages. The spine should be made as long as possible in one piece. However, since it is difficult to find monolithic material (wood) according to the boats of 10-15m length, it is possible to obtain the backbone of the desired length by the transverse bonding method as additions made in the direction of length in order to reduce the cost. Chestnut tree is generally preferred for making spine.
- Ballast Spine
Ballast is the part that allows the boat to stand evenly on the water surface. That way the boat won’t capsize. Ballast spine, which is usually made of lead and iron material, is mounted to the basic spine using salmon bolts.
- Front part of the boat
This part, which forms the front part of the boat, is manufactured inclined. It is usually made of Oak, Chestnut or Ash tree. The head basement (front part of the boat) can be made from one piece or by adding a few pieces to each other. While it is made in one piece, 12-16 mm pieces are glued on top of each other and squeezed by means of the mold. When the front part of the vessel is made of two parts, both parts are connected to each other with glue and bolts.
- Back of the boat
It is built in the same way as the front of the boat. It is usually made of chestnut or oak and is attached to the backbone by means of a connecting element called a scorpion. Depending on the situation, it can be made of single or double parts. When made of double parts, they are joined by glue and fixed with bolts.
The curves are made of self-sloping Chestnut, White Oak, Elm or Ash trees. Forms the form of the cross-section of the boat. We can compare this to ribs in the human body. These curves assume the role of ribs on the boat.
These are the parts that make up the underwater part of the boat. Depending on the size of the boat, they can be made of wood or a non-wood material. More oak, chestnut or elm can be used here. The mattresses are attached to the spine with glue and screws. In the curves, the metal mattresses are screw or rivet; wooden floors are fastened with 10 mm diameter steel bolts.
- Shier belt
It is the section made to form the upper part of the boat. Usually glue is used during assembly. The types of trees used may be oak, spruce and scotch pine, as well as metal material.
Boat Manufacturing Considerations
The construction phase is the most important stage for the boat construction. This is done to ensure that the boat stays on the water surface. As it is known, while the boats are on the water, they are exposed to many physical effects of the water. Therefore, the remaining part of the boat must be very durable. This structure is called the skeleton of the boat. There are many transverse and longitudinal structural elements forming the frame of the hull. The most common types of joining in wooden hull construction are straight joining and snap-on joining. These joints are mainly used as adhesives and mechanical fasteners such as nails, screws and bolts are used in combination with them.
- The skeleton of the boat is made first.
- Then the body is determined.
- Then deck coating is done.
- Finally, the interior of the boat and finishing works are completed.
After the construction of the first stage, the hull is formed. The next stage is the construction of the hull and deck. The latest interior design is done and the craft is finished.
- The keel is the most important part of the boat. The spine should be made accurately and the spine thickness should be determined correctly. 2-3 cm to the spine line drawn on the chipboards. nails at intervals. The timber to be molded is carefully placed on the nails and pressed to remove the nail marks on the timber.
- When constructing a boat, a strong scaffold should be constructed for the safety of workers and easy transportation of parts.
- Poli Polyurethane or epoxy adhesives should be used on the joints of the boat. If this connection is made, there will be no problems.
- Mattresses are located on both sides of the spine and consist of two parts. First, the mattress on one side is marked according to the jerseys and the desired shape is given by hand planing, then the mattress on the other side is placed on the tree in such a way that it is symmetrical. Thus, a pair of mattresses with the same row of dimensions are obtained.
- If the vessel is too large, the spirit level will not give enough accuracy. In such cases, a so-called hose balance is established. In this arrangement, which consists of a simple transparent hose with water inserted into it. This hose is held between the points marked at the same height of a pair of mattresses (twin) on the starboard and pier side and is understood to be on the scale of the boat if the water level coincides with the dots on both sides.
- In order to protect the wooden parts of the wooden boats, some protective materials are applied to these parts. For this purpose, it is preferred to increase the strength by adding copper compounds into the oil paints. The timber obtained from chestnut trees, which are curved in nature and left to dry naturally, is used in the construction of the skeleton that forms the skeleton during the construction of the wooden boat described in detail above, and also in the coating of the skeleton.
As a result;
- Materials to be used in plywood boat construction should be resistant to bad weather conditions and water.
- Strong and robust tree species should be selected.
- Tree species that do not physically expand should be selected.
- Particularly the hull parts that come into contact with water should be produced using high quality plywood material.
- Trees used for curved parts of the boat should be smooth fiber trees.
- Sea-fed animals can damage the boat. In order to prevent this, the vessel should be impregnated with epoxy resin.
As a result, both the wooden material used in the construction of the hull must meet the above criteria and the structural connections between the wooden hull bearing elements must be extremely robust. This is because a deformation in these joints can cause damage to the entire boat and even sink. For all these reasons, quality materials, good workmanship and very good construction should be applied in wooden boat construction. Otherwise, it is inevitable that economic losses that are difficult to recover will occur.