Oyster Sloop

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Project by mcsteff posted 09-02-2008 04:37 AM 3520 views 5 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was a glued-lapstrake plans built 17’ sloop designed by John Leather I built in 1994. The strakes are marine plywood (Okume) and the thwarts, coaming, risers, rails and sole are sassafras. The mast, boom and yard are spf from the lumberyard; and the tabernacle is SYP. This was the seventh boat I had built using the glued lapstrake technique. Since then I have built three more using that technique.

-- s

15 comments so far

View Bigbuck's profile


1347 posts in 3686 days

#1 posted 09-02-2008 05:00 AM

Very nice looking boat. Good job.

-- Glenn, New Mexico

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3790 days

#2 posted 09-02-2008 05:32 AM

I love hand crafted wooden boats. Your’s is no exception. Thanks for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Texasgaloot's profile


465 posts in 3724 days

#3 posted 09-02-2008 12:28 PM

And a proper gaffer, too! Just she sport a jib?

Have any of your others been Oughtred designs?

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

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3726 days

#4 posted 09-02-2008 12:39 PM

Great looking boat!

Thanks for the post


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View snowdog's profile


1164 posts in 4006 days

#5 posted 09-02-2008 01:37 PM

I have wanted to build a boat for a few years now. The boat looks great.

Since you have built 3 more you must like the design. Any suggestion son what I should be looking at as I review boat building books ( designs)? I saw the book on Amazon I think I will order it if I can’t find it in the local ship this week.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3736 days

#6 posted 09-02-2008 03:01 PM

Great project. Will you be building / blogging another? I think this would be a great project to follow…and some day when I develop some skill I would love to build a similar craft.

-- "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 trice's profile


34 posts in 3578 days

#7 posted 09-02-2008 08:48 PM

That is a beauty!! After I build a few plywood boats I am going to look more into this construction technique. I am very interested in traditional boat building. Again, looks like you did a wonderful job on this beauty!

View mcsteff's profile


10 posts in 4110 days

#8 posted 09-02-2008 09:21 PM

Thanks for all the kind comments. Yes she is a wonderful craft. I sold her to an English gentleman who took her to the east coast of Michigan at Port Hope which is on Lake Huron. Here she is a few weeks ago on a sail: I thought you might enjoy this.
Dave R – I have built a Nymph by Payson; Sunshine by Walt Simmons; Catspaw by Joel White; 12’ Semi-Dory by John Gardner (3x); Oyster by John Leather; 14’ Cottage Skiff by Kiefer/Workinger (which I still have); and Swallow by Andrew Wolstenholme (in process). I guess that’s nine.
Texas G – She has a jib; on that day I was trying to see what she would be like without it flying…docile but she didn’t balance well. I have not built any Oughtred designs. I have helped on a few. In fact a friend just down the road from me is building a Whilly Boat as we speak (write?).
I have only built one Oyster. She is a very capacious boat with a LOA of 17’ and a beam of 6”10”. It took me 30 minutes to rig her for sail at the ramp. Also she was a bit of a haul with my little car (Honda Civic). I am downsizing to a similar boat called Swallow designed by Andrew Wolstenholme. (google him…got a nice site)
Glued lapstrake is different from stitch and tape (sewed seams) or whatever you all that. I took a class in 1988 which got me started. Now there are many books out there…suggestions – John Leather’s “Clinker Boatbuilding” (my text in the first and only class I’ve taken.); “Lapstrkae Boatbuilding” vol. 1and 2 by Walt Simmons; “Building Small Boats” by Greg Roessel; “Traditional Boatbuuilding Made Easy” by Richard Kolin (2 volumes – “Building Catherine” and “Building Heidi”)
Mark S – I never have blogged but I will take a few pics while I build “Swallow” and come in time to time.
Thanks for all the comments. Wood is just a marvelous gift in all of its many aspects of use….what a material!

-- s

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3797 days

#9 posted 09-03-2008 02:18 AM

Beautiful craft! You did a great job on this. Thank you for posting.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4100 days

#10 posted 09-03-2008 05:35 AM

i love it…going in my favorites!! (for the future file…the dream file)...

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3736 days

#11 posted 09-04-2008 05:07 AM

Thanks for the video; what a beautiful day for sailing. It is great that both your wife and mother enjoy the craft as well. The references are really appreciated! Hmmm maybe those kitchen cabinets will have to take a back seat :-)

I look forward to the pictures and progress on “Swallow”.

-- "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 Blake's profile


3443 posts in 3898 days

#12 posted 09-07-2008 06:13 PM

What a beautiful and fun boat. I appreciate all the hard work that went into this.

-- Happy woodworking!

View Beeswing's profile


1 post in 3537 days

#13 posted 10-12-2008 07:07 PM

Here I am surfing the net and up pops Beeswing from a posting by mcsteff. The video is of my Wife and ninety three year old Mother who was visiting from the UK. Bless her heart when I suggested a nine mile sail from Port Hope to Harbor Beach in Michigan and she said ok. It is from that two and a half hour sail that the video was taken. To demonstrate the sturdyness of the Oyster I decided to do the same sail in a force five gale with four to six foot waves. Apart from a knock down when approaching Harbor Beach due to the shallower water kicking up near vertical waves the boat was outstanding and I did not even get wet. The wind was gusting over twenty knots and I had not reefed the sails at all. I had to let the jib spill and had the mainsail sheeted all the way out and she was still surfing the waves as it was a following wind. To give you some idea of the conditions that two and half hour sail took one and half hours so I will let you do the math. I do have to congratulate the builder mcsteff for two things. One is the quality of the build and the second is choosing the John Leather Oyster which is unusual in the US as he is not well known here.

View mcoyfrog's profile


4145 posts in 3618 days

#14 posted 05-20-2009 09:03 PM

Wow quite the undertaking, great end result.

-- Wood and Glass they kick (well you know) Have a great day - Dug

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3600 days

#15 posted 05-21-2009 05:57 AM

boats there all new to me. but it looks great. How about Dave R is there any thing he doesn’t know smart guy,

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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