Tag Archives: skiff plans

Norman Fuller launches his Ella plywood skiff built to free plans – and it’s a success!


free boat plans, boat plans, plywood boat, plans, skiff plans, ella skiff, gavin atkin, stitch and glue, tack and tape, wroxham broad, norman fuller

free boat plans, boat plans, plywood boat, plans, skiff plans, ella skiff, gavin atkin, stitch and glue, tack and tape, wroxham broad, norman fuller free boat plans, boat plans, plywood boat, plans, skiff plans, ella skiff, gavin atkin, stitch and glue, tack and tape, wroxham broad, norman fuller

Norman Fuller has launched his Ella skiff built using free boat plans from this website – and has pronounced it a success.

He launched the boat on Wroxham Broad, not far from his home in Norwich. Here’s what he had to say about the project when he emailed me late last evening:

‘Hi Gavin, after a slow start I finally got under way, having not been on the water for many many years.

‘Once I sorted the collars on the oars, worked out where they needed to fit and then nailed them in place, the Ella skiff performed very well. As you see I left the forward hatch open because thats where I kept the nails and hammer.

‘The boat’s very easy to handle and I think the skeg was doing it’s job, as I found I could row in a straight line, which could be some sort of indication the bottom is not skidding.

‘Only one was a little bit awkward, and that is the angle of the rowlock’s. I set them in the gapped inwale following the line of the side of the boat, but they need to be more upright, so I think I will change them. My friend Jenny was so proud of what I had done she took me for a carvery, not bad eh?

‘Till next time!

‘Norman’

From the pictures, I think the problem you had with the rowlocks is that they could be higher – the choice is between lowering the thwart and raising the rowlocks, or both.

I’d start by screwing a 4-6in by 1 1/2in by 1 1/2in block with chamfered ends onto the gunwale for the rowlock to fit into. It’s easy to do, you see it done very often, and when the block wears you can replace it. Small people and kids won’t need them, but I should add these blocks to the plans. Here’s an example of how it would work; and here’s another from intheboatshed.net reader David Luckhardt.

The Ella skiff is a lightweight general purpose stitch and glue flattie skiff for use in sheltered waters. She’s 12ft long overall by 4ft beam, by 400lbs displacement, and is designed for stitch and glue construction using 1/4in or 3/8in 4ft by 8ft plywood. It is meant to be a simple and quick stitch and glue building job of a size that is convenient for building in domestic garages made to take a small to medium-sized car – which probably describes the building area available to most people. For more on this boat and the plans, click here.

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intheboatshed.net skiff – drawings and coordinates for stitch and glue

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Drawings for plotting coordinates and building the boat
– use earlier printouts for model-making

In case you’ve been wondering, in addition to working on boats and digging the garden, I have found just a little time to work on the intheboatshed.net Julie skiff. Actually what I’m sharing with you today took about four hours!

The panels are now plotted onto 8 by 4ft rectangles representing plywood sheets, I’ve used letters to label each of the key plotting points to create the shapes, and I’ve made up tables specifying their positions. It’s dull but necessary work, and we’ve now reached the point where building can begin, particularly for people who know the stitch and glue process well.

In plotting coordinates, I always begin by squaring off the material in 12in squares, which helps with the plotting itself. Don’t be surprised if the material is a little longer than 96 inches – for some reason, in my experience ply is always 48in wide, but a little more than 96in long.

Download the drawings and coordinates in the form of a zip file, together with almost everything else needed to build the boat: julie-skiff-zip-package (To avoid confusion, this is now the complete package, by the way.)

All that remains is my little essay describing all the files, and commenting on issues like shaping or notching the tops of the frames to accept the gapped inwales, oar placement and so on. If you’ve built a boat this way before, you won’t need to wait for my text file on this subject to begin work, and you may not need it at all. Before building, however, I would counsel building a model as described in an earlier post (see below). Phew – after all this work I do hope someone will build it, as I think she’s a handsome, practical boat for rivers, lakes and sheltered waters generally.

If on marking out you find any errors or anything that looks wrong, please let me know – if there’s any doubt, please don’t make a cut but contact me immediately at gmatkin@gmail.com. Mistakes do happen and I’ll fix any you find as quickly as I can, and as soon as my paid work allows me to be at home long enough to deal with them.

These drawings are my work and my property. Individual amateurs are permitted to build one or two boats for their own use from these drawings for themselves but commercial boatbuilders and those intending to build more than two or three boats are required to contact me for permission to build.

I would also warn that I am not a professional boat designer and accept no responsibility for any damage or loss that may result during building this boat or in its use on the water or on land. I would ask that boat users take special care and always take sensible precautions when using this boat on the water including using lifejackets.

I still plan to work up a second set of plans for more traditional-style boatbuilding, and to work up a sailing rig. After all my hard work, though, I hope I can be forgiven for having a few days off from designing and drawing!

If you build this boat – even if it’s a model – PLEASE let me know by getting in touch via gmatkin@gmail.com

See the complete series of posts on this project:

Complete free plans package for the intheboatshed.net flat-bottomed 15ft 7in skiff
intheboatshed.net skiff – drawings and coordinates for stitch and glue
intheboatshed.net skiff – photos of our model, and maybe yours too?
Intheboatshed.net skiff – now we can make a model
Intheboatshed.net skiff progress
Early drawings for a 15ft 5in lightweight flat-bottomed American-style skiff

Don’t miss something good – subscribe to intheboatshed.net

intheboatshed.net skiff – photos of our model, and maybe yours too?

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The model’s parts all fitted, so far as I can tell at this scale,
which shows there are no serious mistakes here. The
glasses case isn’t essential…

Julie and I cannibalised the card from a pack of Lidl’s Soviet-style wheat bix (my favourite, for some reason), used Pritt glue to stick 55 per cent sized prints onto the material, cut the thing out and then assembled it in the traditional skiff fashion – attach bows, bend around central frame, attach stern, add bottom, attach everything else.

It only took a few minutes and yet again the magic worked – and a serviceable if rough model boat popped up in what seemed like a moment.

It was all very satisfying. All the parts went where they were supposed to, which at least proves I haven’t got any of the important components mixed up, and the darn thing looks the way most of us would expect a modern skiff to look – and no doubt it will perform like one too.

I think we’re set fair to finalise the plans for the stitch-and-glue/tack-and-tape version of this 15ft 6in flattie skiff in the next week or two. I’ll make them available for free from this website, and elsewhere. More traditional chine-log construction plans will follow, and after that, who knows? Perhaps a variation or two will suggest themselves…

If anyone else is following this progress and has built a model, we’d love to hear from you at gmatkin@gmail.com, and to be able to add your photos to this post!

See the whole series of posts on this project:

Complete free plans package for the intheboatshed.net flat-bottomed 15ft 6in skiff
intheboatshed.net skiff – drawings and coordinates for stitch and glue
intheboatshed.net skiff – photos of our model, and maybe yours too?
Intheboatshed.net skiff – now we can make a model
Intheboatshed.net skiff progress
Early drawings for a 15ft 5in lightweight flat-bottomed American-style skiff

Don’t miss out on something good – subscribe to intheboatshed.net for a weekly newsletter