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Glued Plywood Lapstrake Construction

Building LOUISE, a traditional 14′ Pulling Boat, in plywood

August 11 – August 24
Brooklin, Maine
Bruce McKenzie
Experience Level
Activity Level

This is a two-week class ending Friday.

Epoxy-fastened plywood lapstrake construction is a modern building method with many advantages over traditional styles. This type of construction can create lighter, stiffer, and stronger boats that better stand up to trailering and require little maintenance, yet maintain all the romantic aesthetics and fine performance of their traditional cousins.

For all of these high-tech advantages, the skills required are still those of the boatbuilder-lofting, spiling, planking, Sparmaking, and so forth. In this two-week class we’ll combine our group efforts to scratch-build a 14‘pulling boat based on LOUISE, a MacFarlane design from the last century. LOUISE is part of the WoodenBoat School fleet and is also being recreated in traditional style planking in one of  our Fundamentals of Boatbuilding courses.

The class will explore plans, lofting, and mold making, then get right to it, laminating a stem and building a keel and transom. You will then begin planking the hull, learning the secrets of the rolling bevel and cutting gains. After planking, we’ll sheathe the bottom in fiberglass, and mount the outer stem and a keel strip to beef her up for beaching and trailering. Once the hull is done, we’ll turn it over and work on fitting out the interior with rails and breasthooks, floor timbers and seat risers, thwarts, stern sheets and floorboards. In addition to all this classic boatbuilding, the project will expose students to the wide world of epoxy construction techniques as well as the practical uses of modern marine plywood as “natural” lumber. The knowledge and skills gained here will prove applicable to a wide variety of boats by numerous designers.


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