A high-quality set of authentic boat plans are needed to start the process of self-constructing a boat in a preferred choice of build materials, styles and designs.
If planning to construct a wide, flat-bottomed boat for still or shallow waters, a sailing boat for a quiet cruise or a multipurpose pontoon boat to fish, cruise or entertain friends, there is a great selection of step-by-step plans, kits and supplies available.
Most, if not all the boat plans are designed to be within the grasp of the first-time or novice builder – although, it can still benefit to have a prior knowledge of some of the fundamentals of woodworking, welding, etc.
Boat kits come complete with detailed step-by-step instructions, patterns (full size), materials list, and hand or power-tools required to start the project as soon as possible.
Boat Construction Methods
Common construction materials consist of aluminum, fiberglass, plywood, and steel. Build techniques for the amateur plans include plank on frame, stitch and glue, panel assemble, strip planking, and cold molded.
- Stitch & glue construction – Self-build plans designed to use the stitch and glue construction technique is the simplest construction method. Plywood is the material of choice for someone with basic to moderate carpentry skills, while those with knowledge of welding, the build possibilities increase with the option to build in aluminum or steel.
- Skills – Basic carpentry skills required in the construction of a straight-framed or plywood vessel include the acquired knowledge of planning, cutting, wood grain, and fastening screws. Extra skills are gained in time as the built process proceeds.
- Building materials – Building kits include an itemized list of materials to assist in determining the volume of construction materials required, as well as the expected cost of these items. Visit several different hardware stores to obtain the most competitive costs for the hull materials, trim, and outfit.
- Tools – Many boat plans are made to be constructed with everyday hand and power-tools. A wooden built sailing boat for instance might need such tools as a sander, plane, circular saw, and drill to assist in the construction process. Also, hand-tools can also feature a tape measure, chisel, clamps, screwdriver, sander, saber saw, plane, etc. Other construction practices, such as those made in steel or aluminum, often call on high-grade industrial tools.
Choosing the type and class of craft to construct often comes down to a boaters person activities – if aiming to self-build a craft in a similar style to a professionally built machine, search for a detailed set of aluminum, fiberglass or wood boat plans offering a similar hull structure and design.
Costs Involved In a Self-Build Project
Building plans, materials and tools used in the construction of a boat cost a lot less than purchasing an all-ready sail or motorboat from a dealer’s forecourt. Plans retail at $35 to $695 based on the type and class of vessel. But this doesn’t take into account the cost of materials, tools, and labor. Boat building supplies sourced independently are often a lot more cost-effective than purchasing an all-in-one kit.
- Survey & Valuation – Other related costs; insurance. An amateur or self-built sail or motor-driven craft at 18-ft plus often requires a full out-of-the-water survey and valuation report carried prior to effecting all-risks boat insurance coverage. On smaller sized crafts, this requirement isn’t often implemented – and in the case of low-valued boats, a liability only policy is often enough.
- Free plans – Free boat plans often feature on the net, although these rarely offer the detailed, step-by-step instructions required. So it is worthwhile investing a small sum into a set of reliable plans to aid in constructing a sail or motor-driving boat to a high standard. Plans are also available for road trailers, dock structures, paddles, etc.
Savings at 15% to 45% are often possible in the construction of a self-built boat when compared to that of a commercial built vessel. A DIY built vessel might not come equipped with all the features of a brand-name model. But if the boat plans are built as directed and constructed to a watertight standard – it will do much the same job as any other watercraft.