"Not all those who wander are lost."

J R R Tolkien

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13 January 2013

Building the river scow. Side panels

I have now finished the building platform and today, I have been able to cut up the first panels. I have decided to do the side panels first, while the platform is free of the bottom. I have a small set of plans, which I am modifying as I go along. As the boat is going to be longer and wider than the plan, some alterations will be necessary. One major alteration I have already made is to add 6" extra freeboard for the hull. The cabin will remain at the same height, so the windage and weight won't be altered, or at least, not by much.

I haven't yet decided if the boat is going to 32' or 36' in length! The hull is so simple that I still have got time to make up my mind. 32' is 4 sheets long, 36' is 4 1/2 sheets long. It does not seem much difference. But there are differences:  in amounts of material, (wood, glue,epoxy, paints etc) therefore costs, time of building and, in the long run. 32' would cost less in moorings, insurance and so on. Of course a smaller boat should also be easier to handle. Do we really need the bigger boat? I am not convinced.

The first cuts. This is the bow transom.

I am using a hand saw for cutting those panels. Mad as a hatter, I hear you say! But a sharp hand saw, lubricated with candle wax is a fast tool to use. I can cut right on the pencil line and I can cut fair curves much more easily than I can with a jigsaw. So, this was a faster way to do the job. It hardly took me any work with the block plane to clean the sawn edges. It's also much quieter!

The first 8'. The carpet off cut is there to save my knees!
The four panels together

Tomorrow, I'll cut the other side's panels. I'll use the first ones as templates, so it will be quicker still. My shelter is nice and bright, but the down side of a big plastic tent is that I have to knock the water droplets that condensed on the inside. It was like rain for  moment. I now have a tarp to cover the ply when I am not working.


  1. I love to see a boat start to come together. I'd say go smaller, but I'm a small boat fan.

  2. 4`is a wardrobe. A BIG wardrobe. But I daresay you do not want to be weighted down that much anyway. A smaller boat makes for smaller rivers, smaller rivers mean solitude. And it will be cheaper. I´d say, go smaller, too.