How to Build a Wooden Boat Using Lapstrake Construction

12 mins read

Last Updated on September 16, 2022

Building a wooden boat involves fine details. You will need to design the side ribs and build them to fit in their designated positions, keeping symmetry throughout the entire boat. To get a better understanding of this process, you can build a mockup of the bottom ribs using cardboard before you begin cutting out the wooden ribs. After that, you will have to assemble and glue the ribs.

Stitch and glue

Stitch and glue boats use multiple layers of marine-grade plywood and wire sutures to create the hull of the boat. These materials are combined with epoxy fillers and resin to create a strong yet lightweight boat. After the stitch and glue process has been completed, the interior seams are filled and cured using epoxy. Once the interior seams are completed, the boat can be further developed to meet the desired shape.

The best technique to stitch and glue a wooden boat is to make all the parts slightly larger than the actual size. Once the parts are glued, the gaps will be invisible. The process of adding small parts to the boat is often as time-consuming as forming the shape of the boat itself. The stitch and glue method uses extremely strong epoxy glue that can hold the pieces together better than wood. Because of the strength of the glue, there will be no visible gaps or seams when the boat is fully assembled.

The first step in stitching and gluing a wooden boat is to drill holes in the plywood panels. The holes should be at least one eighth inch bigger than the plywood thickness. This will make it easier to join the panels together. When you’re finished, you’ll need to remove excess epoxy and use electrical tape to mask the joint. After the glue has cured, simply peel the electrical tape off, removing any excess glue.

The next step in stitch and glue a wooden boat is to measure the length and width of the plywood panels. If you’re not sure how long each panel will be, you can draw a template on the plywood sheets and cut it out using a jigsaw. It is much easier to stitch and glue a wooden boat than to assemble a mold or strongback. The final result of the stitch and glue method will be a boat with a hull with an egg-crate design.

Marine plywood

There are several benefits to using marine-grade plywood when building a wooden boat. Typically, this material is made of tropical hardwoods. Although some woods are more durable than others, some have low strength, and they need to be treated with epoxy. While this solution is easy and inexpensive, it will not protect the wooden boat against rotting or rot. However, it will keep the boat’s exterior as good as new and prevent a dreaded re-work job.

Marine plywood comes in four-by-eight-foot panels, although longer lengths are available in Europe. Most boatbuilders must learn how to join multiple sheets together with a technique known as scarfing. Essentially, this involves cutting a slope on each side, sanding the overlap, and applying epoxy to join the two sheets. Make sure to leave a minimum of eight-inch overlap between the plywood sheets.

A key feature of marine plywood is its ability to resist water. While you may not want to use it on your boat’s deck, marine plywood is a good alternative to fiberglassing. It will be more durable than nothing and can also support a person’s weight. If you’re unsure of whether marine plywood is right for you, make sure you key the surfaces before using it in the boat.

If you’re concerned about environmental impact, you can purchase marine plywood with FSC certification. CLC imports marine plywood from France and Europe. When purchasing marine plywood, always check the thickness in millimeters. Depending on the thickness of the plywood, you may have to choose between a squeaky-thin 3/32″ lauan or a thicker material that’s sold as one-quarter inch.


If you’ve ever wanted to build a boat, then you’ve probably heard of lapstrake construction. This ancient method is historically resonant, seductively beautiful, and bloody difficult. But what is it and how to build one? Let’s find out. First of all, you’ll need some basic woodworking skills. You’ll need a square or rectangular boat mold, a plank and a backbone, and some kind of plywood.

A lapstrake, also called a clinker or clenched-lap, is a way to construct a boat hull. Lapstrakes are made up of one or more planks joined end-to-end. Each strake overlaps the one below it. To join them, copper nails are driven through the overlaps at regular intervals and hammered over a circular washer. This process is called rove, and it is what pulls the planks together.

The lapstrake technique involves the use of overlapped planks, which have less drying-leaks than carvel-plank boats. Carvel planking, on the other hand, uses smooth planking, which shrinks and swells in size. This creates bigger leaks because the width of the two planks is greater than their thickness. A lapstrake boat is commonly caulked with oakum or cotton in the seams between planks, but this method doesn’t always adhere to the changing cycles of swelling and drying.

The hull of a lapstreak is made of the same wood as carvel-planked wooden boats. The only difference is that the laps are fastened at the top and bottom edges. The traditional lapstrake method is prone to gaps and ridges, so a stitch-and-glue method fills in these areas with thick epoxy. This method is a relatively easy way to build a lapstreak wooden boat.


A wooden boat Clinker is made out of a lightweight, flexible structure. Unlike a wooden boat made of wood and glue, clinker boats can be repaired indefinitely. Because of their beauty and age, clinker boats used to be ubiquitous, but now they’re being slowly relegated to the history books. But don’t let their age fool you: a clinker boat still looks beautiful in its natural state.

Modern epoxies have made the building process much easier. Instead of using mahogany wood planks, today’s craft are made with marine plywood. Marine plywood is dimensionally stable and easier to work with. Instead of copper nails, thickened epoxy is used to hold the planks together. This resulted in a lighter-weight shell, but the process remains similar. If you’d like to build your own wooden boat, try clinker!

A clinker boat has two primary methods of construction. The first involves overlapping planks that are secured with copper nails. The second method uses a keel bearer, which is a long beam above the floor level. This bearer is used to form the central backbone structure. It may be made of solid timber or a laminated or glued veneer. The keel bearer is also used to create a central ridge or “rabbet” in the backbone structure.

Lapstrake construction involves slightly overlapping wooden planks. It has been used in Northern Europe for centuries, and is an elegant method of construction. Lapstrake construction creates a graceful curve to the planking and highlights the shape of the boat. It is difficult to follow, but once finished, the result is rewarding. Whether you’re an experienced boat builder or a first-timer, lapstrake construction is a great choice for both novice and advanced builders alike.

Strip planking

Although strip planking is a very common method of construction for smaller boats, it is only appropriate for experienced boatbuilders. Traditionally, strip planking is built with one or two layers of marine ply, which forms a lightweight monococque that is both strong and torsionally stiff. While it requires a great deal more labor, the process is worth the effort. Listed below are some of the advantages of strip planking.

A strip is a thin piece of wood, usually about three times wider than it is thick. While a wider strip is better suited for a simple hull shape, a narrower board is easier to bend around a more complicated shape. This method is more labor-intensive, but it is a great option if you’re a beginner building a boat for the first time. And while the process takes more time, it is highly flexible and suitable for boats of all sizes.

After building the keel, strip planks are smoothed. Ideally, there are no visible bumps on the hull. The smoothing process is easy with soft woods, like cedar. Harder woods like mahogany, pine, and oak are more difficult to smooth. However, cedar planks are difficult to judge from a distance. As long as the planks are tight against the form, you should not have to worry about them coming out of place and bending the boat. If you have to smooth out a rough section of the hull, you may use clamping strips to pull stubborn planks into place.

To build a wooden boat with strip planking, you will need to know about some of the fine details. You will have to design side ribs and build them accordingly. Once you have the side ribs, make sure to fit them to their appropriate positions, while ensuring symmetry and overall strength. A mock-up of the bottom ribs on cardboard will be useful when it comes to fitting wooden ribs onto the plywood.

About The Author

Wendy Lee is a pop culture ninja who knows all the latest trends and gossip. She's also an animal lover, and will be friends with any creature that crosses her path. Wendy is an expert writer and can tackle any subject with ease. But most of all, she loves to travel - and she's not afraid to evangelize about it to anyone who'll listen! Wendy enjoys all kinds of Asian food and cultures, and she considers herself a bit of a ninja when it comes to eating spicy foods.