How to Build a Wooden Boat

Wooden boats have been used for ages as a means of transporting goods and people across the water. It is designed and engineered to hold people while going over large regions of water.

Tools required

  • Level
  • Saw (circular and table)
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Wood sealer

Materials required

  • Wood (Pressure treated)
  • Deck boards
  • Screws
  • Nails


  1. Start the building process by making the transom. Select the spruce board that is 16½ * ¼ *4. Then cut it to a length of 42 – 7/16. Use the saw and cut the board at an angle so the top is 8 inches shorter on each side than the bottom. This will create a trapezoid-shaped figure that measures 16½ inches tall, 42 – 7/16 at the base, and 31½ inches at the top
  2. The next step is to make the keel for this you will need a 2*4*16 board. Round off the ends of the board so that the last 1-inch tapers point at one end of the board. The flattened, tapered end should resemble a paddle about 6 inches long. Taper the remaining length of the board to ½ * 4 * 15.5.
  3. Then use two (2) 16*4*1 boards to make the sides of the boat. Cut a notch in the 10-inch width of the first plank that is 1½ wide and ½ inch deep. Then repeat the same process on the other board. The notches will run the length of the board. The two boards should fit perfectly together. Then nail the boards together. Repeat this for the other side of the boat
  4. Use two pieces of 16*4*1 boards to create the side of the boat. Make a notch into both pieces of plank. Cut the notch in the 10th width of the first plank that is 1½ inches wide and ½ inches deep. Use a nail to connect both pieces together so they fit correctly.
  5. Use a piece of white lead to put inside the length of notches in the stern. To provide the seam with waterproof support we put some twine into the notches of the stern, lengthwise. The stern should be 2 inches tall. Put in one end of the left side into the notch created in the stern. Place the top and bottom planks with nails about 20 inches in height so they fit well into the notch. Stagger and toe the nails and then repeat this step for the next side of the boat.
  6. Put up the transom with the groove up in the air. Use the other ends of the left side board tightly so they connect to the slanted height of the transom. Repeat this step for the next side of the boat. Connect the molding at each juncture of the side planking with the use of a hammer and nails. Use the drift to make sure each nail goes completely in.
  7. Put the boat structure upside down then cut out a 120-inch length of wood into strips. Make the first piece 42 inches long. Take the width of the bottom of the boat starting from inches from the wider end to get the measurement of the second strip. Take the first strip and make a groove that is 1½ * 1 in one of the sides lengthwise and cut out the next groove on both sides of the next wood strip.
  8. Take the transom and use the hammer to nail the first board onto it and then on both sides of the base of the boat. Lap the boards together and use the nail to connect the second piece of the board. Use the width of the boat as a basis to cut and groove the boards and then nail them in place along the entire length of the boat.
  9. Connect the transom, the keel, and the stem of the boat together with the hammer and nail. Look for all the cracks on the bottom of the boat while it is upside down and fasten the keel onto the bottom boards in the boat. Add oarlocks to keep the oars in place to move the boat.
  10. Use white lead to cover all the nail holes and metal sheeting to patch and cover large cracks. Then add the bench seating, using board planks across the width of the boat so that it flushes with the side of the boat. Make the seats so that they are about 2 – 3 feet apart.

Tips and Warning

  • When you finish building the boat, secure that the base section is completely watertight.
  • Make sure all the pieces of the boat are smoothed off and that are stained and painted before full assembly. This process will protect it from having to deal with the constant, water, wind, and rain elements.
  • To add your own touch of individuality to your boat, paint the boat and put your design and logos on it.
Scroll to Top