The first steps of boat building are the same as those already described under canoe building. The main features of the design are decided on, the drawings or model made, and from them the lines are laid down and the moulds made. The latter, being larger than for a canoe, are usually made of several pieces braced together, as shown in Plate 15, instead of being cut from a solid board. Rabbet and stem moulds will be required, as in a canoe, and also one for the stern or transom, the usual shape of which is also shown, as well as the shape of the mould, which is made of one piece of board, to correspond only to one side of the stern. One of two methods is usually followed in boat building, either the lapstreak or clincher, as described for canoes, or the carvel or smooth build; the latter being used only where planking is thick enough to caulk, and making a heavier boat than the former. Whichever way is adopted, the boat is usually built on stocks, keel downward; but unless of large size, it will be easier to build it on a table, as described for a canoe.
For a lapstreak boat, a keel or keelson (or if for a center board, a flat keel), will be used, as on pages 40 and 42. If the stem is nearly straight, a knee will not be necessary, but the stem may be cut out of oak plank, as at a. The keel, c is nailed to it, and the joint is strengthened by a chock e bolted to both. As a boat is usually fuller at the bows than a canoe, the thickness of the stem alone will not give sufficient fastening for the upper planks, so a piece b, called an apron, is added inside the stem; wide enough to fill the space, which the stem alone would not do. This apron is fitted just within the inner rabbet line, and extends from the top of stem down about to the waterline, near which, as the lines become finer, the stem itself will be thick enough for deadwoods. The apron may be from 1-1/2 to 2 in. in a fore and aft direction, its width depending on the fullness of the bows.
The sternpost in a boat is of the shape shown at f, the after side being cut away to receive the stern or transom h. The sternpost is nailed or screwed to the keel, and in the angle between the two is fitted the after deadwood g, in which the rabbet is cut. In a lapstreak boat, the keel batten d will run from the chock e, or from the stem, on top of keel and after deadwood to the stern.
The frame being fastened together and the rabbets cut, it is set upon the stocks, the keel is held in place by a few iron nails driven through into the stocks (to be cut off when the boat is removed) and the stem and sternpost are lined up plumb. and with the proper fore and aft rake, and secured by shores from above and below; see page 38, Fig. 9. The transom is next cut out from some hard wood, using the mould 1. A vertical line is first drawn down the center of a board of sufficient size, and at its lower end, at 2, the half breadth of the sternpost is set off on each side. A line is drawn at right angles to this center line at the height of the upper side of the gunwales, allowing enough above for the round of the top of the stern, and on this line is laid off the breadth of the stern, giving the points 1, 1. The mould in now applied to one side and then the other, and when both are marked the stern is cut out, allowing enough bevel, as the fore side will, of course, be larger than the after side. The stern is now nailed or screwed to the sternpost, completing the frame.
The moulds are next put in place, and shored from the ceiling or from the floor, and a ridge piece is stretched from stem to stern and nailed to each as well as to the moulds, keeping all in position.
The operation of planking is now proceeded with precisely as in a canoe (see page 45), the stop waters being first put in. The planking should be of cedar, in single lengths if possible, but where cedar cannot be obtained, white pine or even spruce may be used. The upper streak is usually of hard wood, oak, walnut or mahogany, and is a little thicker than the lower planking, and is sometimes rabbeted over it, as shown in the sectional view. A bead is sometimes worked near the lower edge, and just above the bead, if a gold stripe is desired, a shallow depression x, called a "cove," is plowed, in which the gold is laid to protect it from injury.
After the planking is completed, the timbers are planed up and put in as in a canoe, or if a neater job is desired; they are made a little heavier at the heels, each one extending only from the keel to gunwale, and are steamed and bent first, then each is fitted to its place, marked and cut to fit down closely to the planks, as shown in the section, after which it is riveted in. Between each pair of timbers a "floor" is fitted, similar to the timber, but extending across the keel as high as the turn of the bilge on either side.
After the timbers are in and nails riveted the next operation is to set the gunwales. These are pieces of ash or oak, i i, running inside of the upper streak, and covering the heads of the timbers, which are jogged into them as shown in the section of upper streak, gunwale and timbers. The gunwales, sometimes culled inwales, may be 7/8 in. deep, 1-1/4 wide at center and taper to 3/4 in. at each end. They are planed up, and if necessary steamed until they will bend easily; then they are put in place resting on the heads of the timbers, which latter have been cut off 1/2 in. below top of upper streak, and the position of each timber is marked. The gunwales are then removed and the jogs cut, after which they are replaced and fastened by a nail through the upper streak at each timber and one or more between the timbers.
After the gunwales are in, a breasthook l, worked from a knee, is put in the bow, fitting the inner sides of the gunwales and the after side of the apron. A rivet of 1/4 in. iron is put through stem, apron and throat of breasthook. At the after corners, transom knees k k, are put in, being riveted to the transom and also to the gunwale and upper streak. An oak bead, half round in section, is usually run round the upper edge of the upper streak to complete it, being nailed through into the gunwale.
The interior arrangements of the boat depend on the taste of the builder, but that shown is the usual one in rowboats. In the bows is a small, triangular seat n, amidships are one or more thwarts o o, according to the size of the boat, and aft are the sternsheets or benches p.
All of these rest on two strips m, about 2x1/2 in., which are called the risings, and are fastened to the timbers at a proper height to support the seats, which should be about 7 in. below the top of gunwale. The seats in bow and stern are also supported by ledges, and the forward ends of the latter are either long enough to rest on the after thwart as shown, or are supported by brackets. The thwarts should be strengthened by knees of wood j, well riveted. Sometimes a single knee is used in the center of a thwart, fitted on it and riveted down and sometimes two are used, one near each edge. The thwart in which the mast is stepped should be very strongly fastened. Lockers are sometimes built under the seats, but their construction is simple, and requires no special direction.
The floor is usually composed of several pieces, in the center the "bottom board," q, of about 12 in. wide, resting on the ribs and held down by buttons or staples in the keelson; outside of this the button boards r r, 3 to 5 in. wide at center and narrower at the ends. Several small strips are nailed across the under side of these to keep them from splitting, which strips project 1/2 in. from the inner edge, so as to enter below the bottom board and hold down r r. Outside of these pieces are two strips s s, about 3 in. wide, and screwed to the timbers. They are called the footlines, and on each are two buttons, which turn over the outer edges of the button boards, holding them down. Outside of each footline, and also screwed to the timbers, are the racks t t, to hold the stretchers for the feet when rowing. Where the floor narrows up in the stern it is raised a little, one wide piece, u, being fitted, resting on two ledges screwed to the bottom.
There are many patterns of rowlock in use, of brass or galvanized iron, and the old wooden thole pins are little used for pleasure boats. The center of the rowlocks should be from 9 to 10 in. aft of the edge of the thwart. The rudder will be hung as in a canoe, and fitted with a yoke and lines for rowing and a tiller for sailing. A backboard, v, is usually fitted across the stern, making a back to the seat. The name of the boat may be painted or carved on it. The stem is protected by a stemband of half-round iron or copper, running well down on to the keel, and the angle at the heel of the sternpost is usually protected by a similar piece, called a scagband. The final processes of finishing and painting have all been described in canoe building.
The construction of a carvel built boat varies somewhat from a lapstreak, the operations resembling more those employed in ship building. The frame is prepared as for a lapstreak boat, except that no keel batten is needed. The rabbets being cut and the frame set up, the moulds are put in place and a number of thin ribbands tacked over them. Now, instead of the planking being laid the frame is first set up complete. If the timbers are to be bent, as is usual for small boats up to sailboats of 25 ft. or over, a timber block is made of a little greater curvature than the midship mould. The ends are cut from a 10-inch board and cross pieces are nailed to them, making a width of 2 to 3 ft. A strip is nailed across each end, projecting a few inches, and to these two ends another piece is nailed, leaving room to insert the heels of the timbers to be bent. The timbers are sawed out and planed up, each being long enough to reach from the keel to the gunwale. They are about one-third deeper at the heel or lower end than at the head; for instance, 7/8 in. deep at heel, and 1/2 in. at head. It is well to get them out and bend them in pairs, that is, if the timber is to be 3/4 in. thick, 7/8 in. deep at heel, and 1/2 in. at head, the piece will be 1-5/8 in. wide by 7/8 in. at one end, and 1/2 in. at the other. This piece is steamed and bent on the trap, then sawed in half and the edges planed, making two pieces each 3/4 in. thick.
A steam-box of some kind is necessary for this work, the size depending on the dimensions of the boat. Steam may be made in an iron kettle supported over a wood fire in any convenient manner. A wooden lid is fitted, with a pipe also of wood, leading to the steam chest. This may be made of four pine boards, being 8 ft. long and 8x10 in. square inside. A light rack of lath is made to slide inside, on which to lay the pieces to be steamed. One end is closed permanently, and the other is fitted with a door, or a bundle of rags is stuffed in, to confine the steam. The timbers being ready, they are laid on the rack and slid into the box, which must be full of hot steam, and left there until they will bend easily. They are then removed one by one and bent over the timber block, the heels first being inserted under the cross-piece, then the heads slowly and carefully bent down, and fastened with a cord, a screw-clamp or a nail. Of course the timbers in various parts of the boat will vary in curvature, but all may be bent on the one block, some being pressed down closer than others. When they are cold they are removed from the block, and before recovering their shape are stay-lathed, a strip called a stay-lath being nailed across to prevent the piece straightening out.
All the timbers are treated thus, and left to cool. Each pair must be marked in some way to prevent confusion. The timbers do not cross the keel, but meet on it, and to join them a floor timber is placed next to each pair. The floors may be sawed from straight stuff in some cases, but toward the ends, and at the middle also if the boat is sharp, they must be cut from grown knees. If the boat has been properly laid down on the mould floor, the floor timbers are taken from the lines on the floor, each being sawed to the proper shape and fastened to the keel by a nail or bolt of round iron (not a screw bolt with nut). After the floors are in place, the timbers are taken, one pair at a time, and fitted in their respective positions. Some will not coincide exactly with the lines of the ribbons, but they may be made to do so by straightening them out a little. The tendency of boat timbers is to straighten out, so all are bent to a little greater curvature than the ribbands require, and in fitting are allowed to straighten a little. Every timber must touch all the ribbands, or there will be an unfair spot that cannot be remedied, as the timbers are too light to allow any cutting away. The timbers are nailed to the keel and the floor timbers, and also to a few of the ribbands to hold them in place, all being carefully set plumb, and square to the keel.
The widths of the planks are next laid off on the timbers, and stem and stern, no allowance for lap being necessary, of course; and a spiling is taken, not for the garboard, but for the wale or upper streak. This is got out and nailed to the timbers, and the streak below it is also put on; then the boat is taken from the 'stocks, turned over, and the garboards put on. The planking will be thicker than for lapstreak, not less than 3/8 in., which is as thin as will stand caulking. After the garboards are laid, the broadstreaks follow, then the planking is continued from top and bottom alternately, until an opening is left on the bilge for the last plank, which is called the shutter.
When this is in and fastened, the nails are driven home and riveted, the inside work completed, the bottom roughly planed off, when the seams are ready for caulking.
This operation is performed with a wide, blunt chisel called a caulking iron, and a wooden mallet. The iron is driven into the seam, opening it slightly, then a thread of raw cotton is driven in, using the iron and mallet. On small work, cotton lampwick is used instead of raw cotton. To caulk a boat properly requires care and practice, and the amateur, in default of practical instructions, will do well to employ a caulker. After the seams are caulked they should be well painted over the cotton, using a very narrow brush, as the paint will help to keep in the cotton.
The hull is next planed smooth, sandpapered and painted, after which all seams and nail holes are puttied, all is well sandpapered again, and painted with two coats.
If the boat is to have a deck and waterways, as shown in some of the designs, no gunwale will be necessary; but the upper streak will be heavy enough to take the fastenings at the edge of the deck. A clamp or shelf will be worked in place of a gunwale along the timbers inside, and low enough for the deck beams to rest on it. These beams will be fastened to upper streak and clamp with knees on each beam about the mast. The deck may be of 3/8 or 1/2 in. pine, either painted or covered with canvas. The dimensions of the boat given in the illustration are as follows: Length over all, 14 ft.; beam extreme, 4 ft.; depth amidships, 17 in.; sheer forward, 7-1/2 in.; sheer aft, 5 in. Waterlines, 3 in. apart. The waterlines are drawn for convenience parallel to the keel, but the actual draft of the boat will be 7 in. forward and 9-1/2 in. aft. Keel outside, 1 in.; keel, stem and stern sided, 1-1/2 in.; keel batten, 3/8x2-1/2 in.; timbers, 3/8x3/4 in.; spaced 12 in., with bent floors between each pair of timbers; planking, 3/8 in.; upperstreak, 1/2 in.; gunwale, 1 in. deep, 1-1/4 wide amidships, 3/4 in. at ends.