Construction of a carvel rowing boat #1: The Davis 14'

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Blog entry by Scotach posted 06-30-2008 06:36 AM 13410 reads 1 time favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Construction of a carvel rowing boat series Part 2: Interior joinery »

OK, here’s my first installment on my LJ’s blog. Since there is much involved in the construction of a boat, and I have about 400 photos, I’ll try to show to my best ability, the most major stages of construction. We built 2 Davis boats over the past 6 months, one 14’ and one 16’. The boat shown here is the 14’. Prior to physically building the boat came the lofting full size on the floor. Alright, let’s get started, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Lining out the frames
Here we’ve built a strong back, set up the molds, placed the ribands and are lining out the frames spacing.

Framing the boat
Once we liked the frames spacing we worked out, we began to frame the boat. Frames came right from the steam box and were bent onto the boat, clamped and let sit to cool.

Spiling the first plank
At this stage all frames are on the boat, we’ve lined out the planks on the frames and are spiling the first plank.

Most of the planks are on at this stage, she’s looking like a boat now. Has anyone got clamp?

Spiling for the shutter
Here we’re set up to spile the last plank. This plank above all has to be hewn carefully, it’s a friction fit when placed on the boat, so all measuring and bevels have to be dead on.

Shutter plank on the boat
And here she is all planked up, you can see the shutter plank on the right side of the boat. It is still standing proud before hand planing. Notice only one clamp, the rest of the plank is held on by friction.

Caulking the seams
All the planks are on the boat, and have been faired. Now comes caulking the plank seams. We’re using cotton for this. The wet is from linseed oil, used to lubricate the seam for ease of caulking.

Caulking the seam
Here’s a student laying caulk into a plank seam.

turning her over
Look at that! Right side up. All the seams have been caulked and the hull has been faired. Now we get to see what she really looks like.

Ready for interior
The boat has been set on its lines, plumbed and leveled. We’re now ready to work on the interior.

Alright, we’ve made some headway here today, that was some fast boat building! I hope you enjoyed this first installment of my most recent project. In the next installment we’ll work on the interior of the boat. Now, go make some saw dust!

-- Brian S. --- "If you’ve worked on the building of a boat, it belongs to you the rest of your life." -Bob Prothero

12 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3734 days

#1 posted 06-30-2008 06:42 AM

Man this is interesting. I’ll need a glossary to look up some of the terms though.Thanks for posting these great pictures and descriptions!

-- "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 Scotach's profile


72 posts in 3641 days

#2 posted 06-30-2008 06:46 AM

It’s a whole different animal this boat building! I’ve acquired a whole new vocabulary since diving into this trade. LOL!!

-- Brian S. --- "If you’ve worked on the building of a boat, it belongs to you the rest of your life." -Bob Prothero

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3725 days

#3 posted 06-30-2008 04:41 PM

Very intresting!

Keep up the great work

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 3853 days

#4 posted 06-30-2008 07:14 PM

Very cool to see the process, thanks for sharing this with us.

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View Chris 's profile


1879 posts in 4013 days

#5 posted 07-03-2008 01:40 PM

It’s like reading a good book… Can’t wait for the next chapter!

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3809 posts in 4043 days

#6 posted 07-03-2008 02:06 PM

Very interesting topic.

Some boats are built with the planking on first then the ribbing.
Your model goes ribbing then planks.
What is the differnce in the two techniques other than the obvious?


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3896 days

#7 posted 07-03-2008 06:38 PM

Its a beautiful process. I’ve built two boats my self. I’ll have to dig up some photos and post them. Thanks for sharing this.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Obi's profile


2213 posts in 4259 days

#8 posted 07-03-2008 11:42 PM

I’ve wanted to build a boat for a long time… Looks possible even for a rookie.

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3745 days

#9 posted 07-04-2008 03:58 PM

Brian, even though we have a few lakes in “landlocked” Kansas, I can’t see myself ever trying something like this, but this is simply fascinating! Thanks for sharing this process…amazing.

-- Martin, Kansas

View Texasgaloot's profile


465 posts in 3722 days

#10 posted 07-07-2008 10:13 PM

Hey Brian, have they taught you what a “whiskey plank” is yet?

I’m really enjoying this, too. I’ve been reading about boat building for years; you’re living a dream of mine!!

-- There's no tool like an old tool...

View Scotach's profile


72 posts in 3641 days

#11 posted 07-08-2008 02:31 AM

Ohhhh, the beloved whiskey plank! We have indeed had quite a few of those over the past 9 months, I for one am a big fan of the tradition. Let’s see, 4 in our shop, 3 in the other shops. Hopefully we’ll have a few more before the years out!

-- Brian S. --- "If you’ve worked on the building of a boat, it belongs to you the rest of your life." -Bob Prothero

View Scotach's profile


72 posts in 3641 days

#12 posted 07-08-2008 02:40 AM

Bob #2,

Depends on how the boat is constructed. Carvel would typically have ribs on first, then frames, then planks.
Lapstrake planks go on first, then frames. Planks give the shape to the boat in lapstrake, whereas frames and ribs provide the shape that the planks conform to. Hope that helps.

-- Brian S. --- "If you’ve worked on the building of a boat, it belongs to you the rest of your life." -Bob Prothero

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