Build A Boat With Your Buddies

It’s probably a dream common to many groups of friends among the Hackaday readership: go away together to a sunny island some time in the summer, take a load of beer and maybe a BBQ, and build something. Some of us get close to it at hacker camps such as Toorcamp or EMF, but few do it as well as [KristianKalm] and his friends. Their time on an island resulted in a boat, and what a boat it is!

To be fair, this is not a craft you’d sail the high seas in, its unique hull design rendered in single-skin plywood might have some stability issues and probably would have difficulty maintaining structural integrity in a high sea. But it’s perfect for their summer time backwater, with its electric outboard, steering wheel, and seat from a Russian saloon car.

The plans are fairly simple, cut from two sheets of ply it has an angular pointed front, sloping sides, and a fairly narrow bottom. Our experience with river boats would have led to a wider flat-bottomed hull, but this one looks stable enough for their purposes. Everything is held together with PVA glue and extra pieces of wood over the joints, something that amazingly keeps the water at bay. It is fairly obviously a rather basic and ever some might say rather ugly boat, but we’d guess there are few readers who wouldn’t want to give it a spin as part of a summer holiday.

If this has caught your fancy, don’t panic, the Northern Hemisphere still has some summer left, and all you need to do is find a plastic barrel!

Thanks [Keith Olson] for the tip!

20 thoughts on “Build A Boat With Your Buddies

  1. I like fun builds like this. Kudos :)
    I tried for two full years to get my dad to help me build the MacGyver bamboo/ground plastic ultralight which he thankfully didn’t but this seems like a safer project to tackle and the steering mechanism is a fun bonus.

    1. This design shares the same error as the one in the article: it’s a planing hull when a displacement hull is called for. The difference is that a planing hull is designed to lift itself out of the water, but given they’re using an electric trolling motor that doesn’t happen. The result is that you get nasty vortexes at the rear of the boat and you lose all of your speed. If you’re using oars you’ll find that the boat stops pretty quickly the moment you stop rowing.

      Look for a plan where the back end of the boat is above the surface of the water for a proper design.

      1. Titebond II is a common PVA you’ll find in any hardware store and it will not fall apart when wet. It’s described as “Type II water resistant” but in woodworking terms that means it cannot withstand immersion in boiling water without weakening. If you want that level of strength though there’s Titebond III.

        In a practical sense the wood will rot before either glue fails.

        1. Neither Titebond II/III stand up to immersion.

          “…Note, neither Titebond II nor Titebond III is recommended for marine use or immersion in water….”
          – Titebond *

          I’ve had my own failings of Titebond II on an old garage door after around 4 months in the elements; in the glue’s defense I doubt the surfaces were ideal gluing surfaces, I couldn’t really get at them to clean them up much. Lots of other anecdotes across the internet recommend against PVA type glues on anything you expect to regularly get wet. If your joint won’t experience much strain when wet either should suffice but they lose most of their strength when the glue absorbs water, which will happen eventually.
          Mechanical fasteners and tight joinery work better and longer than most adhesives in wet applications. That said, if the joint isn’t designed well, the adhesive doesn’t matter. Fasteners can fudge poor design better but they only cover so much.


  2. We got a little ways into making an autonomous boat out of similar materials in Houston. Unfortunately the actuator we chose for steering wasn’t very capable, and other than on a glass-smooth evening, we never got it to successfully navigate on the water without a human in the loop. Good stuff.

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