Wooden Boat #1: Form Setup

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Blog entry by Clay Ortiz posted 08-25-2014 02:06 AM 1584 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Wooden Boat series no next part

I decided a little before last Christmas that I would take the plunge and build a wooden boat. My wife bought me a copy of Howard Chapelle’s book, Boat Building, as a Christmas gift. I read the book before deciding on the plan I wanted.

I have built a lot of things from bird houses to 12,000 sq ft homes and this little boat is the most intimidating project that I can remember. It took me about three weeks to loft the lines. I would work a little bit then read a while then I would get frustrated and take a day off.

I stumbled through lofting the lines and built the forms. It was at that point that I was forced to put the project on hold. I had to wait until I could get my shed built so I could make room in the basement to set up my forms. After a few months I finally got started working on the boat again today!

This is how my forms have been sitting for the last few months.

Here is my frame after I got it level and square.

I started to use my chalkline to keep all the forms lined up.

The chalkline didn’t work too well so I used a laser instead.

Here are all the forms.

That’s it so far. I’m really excited to get this thing done but I know it is going to take me a long time. I have about 40 hours in it so far and haven’t even cut any wood that will be part of the finished boat! My goal is to have it floating by Easter when those big stripers start rolling on Lake Lanier!

-- Clay Ortiz, North Georgia

7 comments so far

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3427 days

#1 posted 08-25-2014 03:42 AM

That is some big undertaking. Keep us posted on your progess; I look forward to following along on your journey.

Thanks for posting,

-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View shipwright's profile


8006 posts in 2851 days

#2 posted 08-25-2014 04:47 AM

Hi Clay.
First of all, congrats on taking the plunge ….. and there is no better teacher than Chapelle. There have been a lot of “how to build a wooden boat” books written since 1941 but this is still the best I’ve seen. My old copy was a constant reference throughout my working life and now, retired like me, occupies the place of honor … front and center in my bookshelf over my desk.
The plans look familiar to me but I can’t put a name to the design or the designer. May I ask what design/designer?

You are in good hands with Mr. Chapelle but if there is ever anything I can help you with, please PM me. I have a bit of experience and would be pleased to help.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3766 days

#3 posted 08-25-2014 05:25 AM

Hello Clay,

It’s great to read that you’ll be building a boat! I look forward to the next blog installment and wish you a successful build with minimal confusion.

I also would be interested in which boat you selected. If Paul has Chappelle’s “Boat Building” in a honoured space in his library it must be a good resource!

Enjoy the build and thank you for posting this!


-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View English's profile


659 posts in 1531 days

#4 posted 08-25-2014 11:47 AM

This something I have always wanted to do. So I will be waiting intensely for the next segment of your journey. Good luck and keeps us all in the loop.


-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View Clay Ortiz's profile

Clay Ortiz

83 posts in 3121 days

#5 posted 08-25-2014 01:30 PM

Thanks for the encouragement guys. The plan is the Skylark by Paul Gartside Ltd. it’s a 14’ lapstrake. I guess I should have mentioned that but I’m not too good at blogging. Here is a link to it.

Paul I really appreciate the offer and I’m sure I will be taking you up on it. I have read most of your blog posts and they were very informative. I am a total green horn when it comes to boat building so I will try to keep from bothering you too much. Lol

Thanks again

-- Clay Ortiz, North Georgia

View shipwright's profile


8006 posts in 2851 days

#6 posted 08-25-2014 03:28 PM

Never a problem Clay. I’m happy to help.
Paul Gartside is a good designer and that looks like a fine boat.
I’ll be watching.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3388 days

#7 posted 08-25-2014 06:20 PM

It will be fun to follow your build Clay. I will never build a boat, but I am fascinated with the process and I look forward to seeing how this will go. It looks like you are well on your way already.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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