Boat Build Pt 2

Here we go, part 2 of the boat build. This whole project wasn’t hard and overall, didn’t cost a great deal. I managed to keep the most expensive items to one full sheet of plywood and two new deep cycle trolling motor batteries. I used inexpensive paints since it is easy to touch up and it will get scratched on a working boat. The floor coating wasn’t too bad but I don’t think I would use that brand again. A bit more research into the product would have helped. The wiring is available everywhere and the seats I used were cheapies. I won’t go into how to wire things, that will depend on what you have and how you need to wire it. It isn’t difficult plus I don‘t want someone telling me they did what I said and their boat burned.

As I was putting the flooring in I was thinking about where I wanted to add some of the small items. This included running lights, cleats, depth finder and plug for trolling motor. Most of these are simple to install just requiring drilling holes where needed then bolting them down. I picked up light weight plastic/nylon cleats which were added at each corner. My boat has a flat area at each corner that worked great. I did the same for the running lights and depth finder. The trolling motor plug was added as close to the side of the boat as I could get it to keep it out of the way.

I installed everything that needed to be wired first, this way, once I started to run the electrical I could do it all at the same time. It also let me be sure what was needed and where. This boat wasn’t built to be wired so it took a bit of thinking to get things tucked away, hidden and safe. I started at the front, running the wires for the depth finder. I drilled a hole in the front deck as far forward and left as I could get it then put the transducer cable inside a plastic wire protector. I ran this under the front edge and down through the hole I had drilled so that in came out under the front deck inside the new battery compartment.

Look close and you will see the aluminum angle I added to support the front of the new deck. It runs across the back of the existing deck 3/4 inch down.

I drilled a ¼ inch hole at the base of the rear running light and ran the wires through. Now came the hardest part of the wiring. I wanted a switch at the bow to turn my running lights on so had to get the wires up there. I had done this with my last boat so knew what to do. These boats have hollow gunwales, I drilled 3/8 inch holes in the gunwale at the bow and stern on the right side then ran a fish tape down to pull my wires back. The easiest way is to put a string into one hole and catch it with the fish tape, pull it through, attach the wires and pull them back through. Once your wires are pulled just follow your diagrams for the equipment you are installing. DC wiring is simple. How many switches and where you want them will dictate how many wires you need to pull. I pulled power for running lights and later for a depth finder for the driver, from my starting battery rather than the trolling motor batteries since it recharges and I wouldn’t have to worry about being without lights some night.

Light and cleat mounted. Hole for wiring is near the lower screw for the light. The wires running to the bow are in the gunwale.

To mount the trolling motor plug I used a hole saw to cut the required size into the new part of the front deck. I rewired my trolling motor leads with a new plug end. I added several feet of #10 wire to the floor mounted plug to be sure I had plenty under the deck to remove it for access to the batteries. Later I found the plug mounted this way wasn’t fully water proof, held rain water and corroded. It needs to be mounted in a vertical position. Like I said I won’t tell you how to wire but be sure to check the size wire you need. Most of the time I will go one size larger where I can. Without a lot of trouble you could build or buy a pre built fuse box to connect everything to a central location.

I use a 12 volt trolling motor but the single battery was not holding up to a full day of fishing. I bought two larger ones to double the amount of storage. If you do this be sure to buy both batteries at the same time. If one is weaker than the other they will only charge to the amount the weaker one will hold. I connected them together using new cables from an auto supply store. This made a huge difference at the lake, instead of being out of juice on a half day trip now I rarely used 25% of the total. I attached the batteries to the new platforms using the supplied straps. Then connected to the trolling motor plug with #10 wire and the depth finder with the supplied wires.

You might want to label the wires to be sure you get the right ones when it is time to hook things up. I tape pairs together and mark each end with electrical phase (colored) tape at each end. Most DC wires are red and black, positive and negative, so it is easy to mix them up especially if you are using the same gauge wire. If you aren’t adding a fuse block it is a simple matter of connecting the reds to the positive side and the blacks to the negative side of the battery. Ok enough with the wiring, you get it, run wires hook them up correctly.

I added a piece of aluminum trim at the bottom of the new bulkhead to add strength and clean up the look. I did forget one step earlier about the front deck extension. I used the same piece of aluminum angle to create a lip on the existing deck so the extension would sit flush. I mounted it ¾ of an inch lower than the deck and simply screwed it in place. I also decided to build two small platforms for behind the back seat for the fuel tank and starting battery to sit on and let me secure them. These are just pieces of plywood cut to fit then raised off the floor with a frame of 2x2s.

And finally the color. For the floor I went with a roll on coating used for truck beds. I followed the directions and it is very easy to use. It works really well on the metal parts but didn’t like the wood in places. It wasn’t expensive and made a good finish but I would look into other options if I did it again. For the paint I grabbed a bunch of camo colors in spray cans.

To paint a camo pattern I got different shaped foliage from the yard. I painted areas of lighter colors first without using the foliage just patches of two or three alternating colors. Then I start going back over these using the leaves and grass as a pattern working with a darker color for each layer. The dark on light adds shadows and keeps the overspray from the light colors from killing your darks. Remember it is just paint, if you don’t like the look just go back over it till you do. I have done this on another boat and trailer making the pattern match to the point people thought it was bought that way. A little time and patience and you can figure it out.

The last thing to bolt on was my rod holders. I put two up front and two within reach of the driver. I had to add a small piece of wood under them to clear the gunwales. I drilled holes and bolted them in place and called this one done.

Well, there it is a look at how I did most of my boat. I added things later but hopefully this will give you an idea of how to tackle this project if you have a john boat sitting around that needs some love to become more user friendly. Hope it helped.


Functioning said...

Awesome stuff. Can't wait till I can afford a boat and the truck to pull it! (:

FHC Outdoors said...

Nice work! Our project was a lot of work, but they sure do look and perform much better!

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Born and raised in middle Tennessee.I'm a working wildlife and landscape artist specializing in watercolors. Now making cedar lures and custom turkey calls.



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