Construction of a carvel rowing boat #2: Interior joinery

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Blog entry by Scotach posted 07-03-2008 09:29 AM 16226 reads 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The Davis 14' Part 2 of Construction of a carvel rowing boat series no next part

Here’s part two of the Davis boat construction. Let’s jump right in.

Here’s where we left off.
Ready for interrior
Shortly after turing the boat over, we get to see the inside of the boat. At this point there are only frames inside the boat.

Fitting the inwales
Here, I made some small test pieces to get the compound bevels at each end of the inwales…before cutting into the good material.

Inwales installed
Now we have the inwales installed, and under those you can see we have installed the thwart risers. Thwart riser serves as the landing for the thwart (seat).

Breast hook
Now we’ve made up the breast hooks, installed them and are beginning to shape and fair them into the sheer of the boat.

Here, you can see the guard on the outside of the hull is being clamped waiting to be fastened.

Alright, some structural support. Now the thwarts are being installed which add strength and rigidness.

A few other items go into the boat, floor boards, margin boards for the floors, oarlock pads, and a few finishings.
We’re also painting the outside of the hull and beginning to fill fastener holes with bungs and filler.

The first coat of many goes on. Putty sand paint, putty sand paint, putty sand paint….
almost there

At this stage we’re getting close. After many coats of paint the guards go back on. Oarlock pads installed.
Breast hook detail

Look at those woods, look at those joints. The fairing has been finished and stems cut down flush with the breast hook.

Turned over to complete the paint work. Lower guards have been installed and the brass fastened to the keel.
She is done.
Finished boat
And there she is! Floor boards installed, all oiled up and looking good!

Well, she turned out a beauty. Many hours of work went into this boat, and many generations of boatbuilders skills were gained in her construction. Thanks for letting me share this with you, while I could not show everything involved with the construction, I hope this gave you somewhat of an idea of how it was built, and possibly just how great boat building is.

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

16 comments so far

View Chris 's profile


1877 posts in 3412 days

#1 posted 07-03-2008 01:44 PM


As someone who grew up around a seafaring tradition let me say thank you!

God Bless!

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

View gizmodyne's profile


1768 posts in 3511 days

#2 posted 07-03-2008 02:46 PM

Very cool post.

Is this a group effort then?

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke."

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3195 days

#3 posted 07-03-2008 04:09 PM

Enjoyed seeing your posting. Very interesting and beautiful work. Thanks for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 3411 days

#4 posted 07-03-2008 04:18 PM

I suppose that boat will last many years in service. With all the effort that goes into building a boat like that, it would have to last more than one generation I suppose? Boat builders must have been revered in past cultures. I sure belong to those who know just enough to have the proper respect for such an effort. Thank you for sharing Brian.

-- Jim

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3124 days

#5 posted 07-03-2008 07:02 PM

Great work!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View Mike Vettori's profile

Mike Vettori

32 posts in 3115 days

#6 posted 07-03-2008 07:33 PM

Beautiful boat…excellent craftsmenship!

After I finish my kayak, that will be my next project (just don’t tell my wife)!


View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 3144 days

#7 posted 07-04-2008 04:03 PM

Brain, thanks so much for sharing this process. You’ve done a beautiful job….truly a functioning work of art.

I was wondering…do you have any idea how many manhours goes into this contruction process?

-- Martin, Kansas

View Texasgaloot's profile


464 posts in 3121 days

#8 posted 07-07-2008 10:18 PM

Could you give us a brief run-down of the various woods used? I’ve loved the photo sequence! Are you all doing a lapstrake next?


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

View Scotach's profile


72 posts in 3040 days

#9 posted 07-08-2008 02:44 AM

A lot of man hours! I can’t give you a run down simply because we did not track the man hours, or at least I didn’t. Sorry.

The woods on this boat were as follows.
Backbone (stem post, stern post and keel) – Sapele
Frames – White Oak
Planks – Red Cedar
Interior – Sapele

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

View Texasgaloot's profile


464 posts in 3121 days

#10 posted 07-25-2008 02:17 AM

Hey Brian, one other question (I’ve narrowed it down to one): You have identified this as a “Davis 14.” Is that as in, Arch Davis? Just wondering who the designer is, as a student of yacht design.

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

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 3590 days

#11 posted 07-25-2008 02:23 AM

Very cool. I’m starting on a strip Adirondack Guidboat in a few days.

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View Scotach's profile


72 posts in 3040 days

#12 posted 07-26-2008 03:19 AM

Hey TexasGaloot, these boats were originally designed and built by the Davis family, 3 generations of boat builders, in South East Alaska. The Davis family were Tsimshian (pronounced more or less, shim shan) indians from Metlakatla Alaska. There is little information about this family, and less about their boats. What we know is that they built a 14’ which we pulled the lines from. They were based on whaling and ships boats that they observed from visiting lumber schooners and whaling ships. Recently a former student found a 12’ Davis boat and pulled the lines from it. They also produced a transom stern boat once the introduction of outboards made there way to Alaska. Hope this helps.


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

View trice's profile


34 posts in 2976 days

#13 posted 09-02-2008 10:05 PM

Wow,that’s really nice. I love traditional boat building and boats. That’s some fine work!

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5839 posts in 3006 days

#14 posted 09-02-2008 11:35 PM

Beautiful !!!! I have had a few boats myself through the years living on the coast we used to do sailing a lot ,mostly with glass fibre boats around 30 feet .Anyway I have had such a boat as yours also but clinker built.During the construction you describe that the hull was puttied and sanded and painted you make no mention of caulking is this not needed with the putty.New products come out all the time so I am a bit out of date but you have made a really excellent job looks fantastic .Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Scotach's profile


72 posts in 3040 days

#15 posted 09-03-2008 06:18 AM


These boats are something else. They are not only beautiful, but are an absolute pleasure to row. We built 2 clinker or lapstrake boats as well, one had a small dipping lug sailing rig as well. I have yet to post those pictures up here.

Now, to answer your question, we did indeed caulk the hull of these boats. We used 3 strand cotton to caulk these seams. In part one of this blog series, I did show a few photos of the caulking. The caulking not only helps to make the boat water tight, it strengthens the hull putting all the planks in tension allowing them to act more like one large piece of wood rather than multiple.

-- 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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