Boat Build

I had spent 5 days lying in bed with the flu quite sure I wouldn’t make it to see fishing season. Being so sick you can’t walk, feed yourself or otherwise function while living by yourself is such a joy. Fevered dreams involving space ships, cookies, some type of alien race and the cavalry gave way to more lucid thoughts after a very rough night ending with my fever breaking. I spent Friday feeling a bit better wanting to get out.

Saturday, I got in the truck and wound up heading toward the lake, this is a trip I make when I want to drive and kill time. Passing the boat dealer I decide to pull in to see what was there, I had an idea of replacing my 14 foot aluminum V hull with a flat bottom. I went in, took a look around and quickly realized I was in the wrong place. Everything was bright, shiny and made of fiberglass with more horses on the back than my truck had under the hood, when all I wanted was a basic metal hull. As I turned to leave a salesman asked if he could help, I told him no since I couldn’t afford what they had plus I wanted a john boat. He says wait, turns and asked another guy if they still have the john boat on the lot. Other guy says yes, it’s on a trailer parked outside.

We go and look, I know it is too much money, 16 footer sitting on a drive on trailer but again sales guy says hang on. The boat is several years old but has never been used. It was stored in a warehouse then forgotten about, later they stuck it on a trade in trailer to make room.
“How much?” asks I.
“$1000.00.” says boat dude.
“I’ll be right back.” says me, heading for my check book.
I hauled home my new boat.

Here she is. Just a plain ol’ boat.

A few weeks later I got a call from Jimmy asking if I still needed a motor. I said yes and he tells me to call, Tim, the owner of a dealership who has one waiting for me new in the box. I head down and pick up a brand new, commercial, salt water ready, electric start, 25 horse Johnson. I get home, get it installed, then spent the next few months happily catching fish. But one reason I bought this boat is so I could set it up the way I wanted. So after a bit of planning, some shopping, some head scratching, I set about rigging it out. Here is what happens when you have a plan, tools and too much time on your hands.

I spent some time drawing up plans. I wanted to add decking to the bottom, extend the front casting deck and add storage underneath. I tend to make decisions as I go along so plans are just a starting point. With some things in mind it was off to the store for bits and bobs. My list might be different than what others use but I will list the main items I used and why. This whole project was done with nothing more than a battery driven saw, drill and a few hand tools.
Here are the parts I started with. First, ¾ inch marine plywood for decks, paints for a camo job later, fasteners of several types, floor coating, seats, seat bases with swivels, running lights, a section of 1” aluminum L, plastic wiring protector, 14 gauge wire, battery boxes, battery cables, 10 gauge wire, trolling motor plug, cleats, rod holders for trolling and silicon.

A few of the parts I gathered up. I added to the pile as I went along.

Thus armed and with a nice spring day I headed out to get started. I started by measuring the bottom to get a drawing laid out of how to cut the flooring. Since my boat has ribs running from side to side I had to notch the boards. I also had to figure the amount of angle needed when the floor tapers toward the bow. Doing the math for this was the worst part of the build. Take your time, measure repeatedly and carefully lay out your cuts. I made cardboard templates to ensure I had it close to right. Once I had these done I cut out the decking, starting with the area in front of the rear seat since it had the least things to go wrong.

The first problem I ran into was the curve of the bottom. The plywood didn’t want to bend to conform to the ribs. To fix this I turned it over to work from the bottom, then set my saw to score a line about half as deep as the thickness of the plywood. I scored this line at the middle of the board running along the length, this allowed it to bend enough that I could attach it to the ribs using coated, self tapping deck screws. With the first board in place it helped me to understand how the rest would go. I followed the same procedure for the piece I need for the area in front of the middle seat.

The first piece of decking installed. By standing on the decking after making the scoring cut underneath I was able to screw the middle of the deck down with no trouble.

This is what the front sectioned looked like. A couple of pieces of wood with a battery box strapped to it. Nothing holding it in place.

This was not a fun piece to install but I got it done.

This piece was cut short since I was just going to where it met the new, extended casting deck. It goes just a bit forward of the new bulkhead so that it gives it a good surface to sit on and a way for me to add trim pieces later. This deck piece has complex curves and was a bit of a bear to get right. The bulkhead wasn’t fun either due to the odd angle of the sides and bottom. I got them in and the bulkhead test fitted. Note the gap at the bottom. This isn’t a problem since it gets trimmed out with aluminum. I made the final piece for the new forward deck and then got to work making things got together. I had to make deeper cuts down the centerline due to more curve in the bottom of the boat. I did the stand on it trick to get enough screws in to hold it then simply followed the line of the ribs to finish securing the wood. I screwed the new front bulkhead the stern side of a rib to create a good transition and clean look.

This left me with an inner area about 22 inches front to rear and the width of the boat to build my new battery storage area. I built a couple of platforms to hold the batteries near the centerline of the boat and got them installed. This is about all of the woodworking it took to get this project done. The rest was fitting and fitting again till I got the pieces the way I wanted.

The next part I will go into some of the wiring, small parts I added and finishes.

1 comment:

Functioning said...

Awesome deal on the boat! Looking to get one just like this eventually but I need a truck and $$$ first... Can't wait to see the rest of this build.

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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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