Brian King makes progress on his project to build Barton skiff low-power outboard boat

Brian King's plywood boat Barton skiff in build from free boat plans

Brian King's plywood boat Barton skiff in build from free boat plans Brian King's plywood boat Barton skiff in build from free boat plans Brian King's plywood boat Barton skiff in build from free boat plans


Despite all the tragic news from Japan, the apparently unnecessary attacks on the economy and our right to protest, the horrors in Africa, and the slow, sad procession of those who have inspired us ‘going aloft’, there are still things that please and excite us.

In our household one of them is Brian King’s progress on the first Barton skiff in Pembroke – see our free plans page for more information.

I haven’t much to add, beyond that it looks like the boat I drew (I’m so pleased Brian hasn’t changed anything), that he has been perfectly gentlemanly about a couple of errors that he found, and that, as he builds his little craft, he reports that he’s increasingly sure it’s the craft he wanted.

Myself, I can’t wait to see it on the water with its owner at the controls, sitting on the water as it should and rushing along making the most of its small outboard, as it is intended to do. To follow his progress, join the Yahoogroup gmaboatbuilders.

Low power skiff – the nested panels

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The nested panels for the Low-power skiff. Click on the thumbnail above for a larger image

This may not look like much to you, but to me it represents the latest stage in quite a few hours work, first defining the overall form of the 16ft small outboard skiff project I’m working on for a friend, then developing the panels required to create it, and then figuring out how to nest them into 4 by 8ft panels of ply for stitch and glue construction with the least waste.

As you can probably imagine, it’s been keeping me busy lately – and I need to get it out of the way because I have a VERY IMPORTANT new project to start and complete. Watch out for that, if you’re interested…

What are all the components I’ve plotted here? The top row are the heavy weights – the 1/2in components including the breasthook, bottom, central girder (my friend asked for that to ensure the bottom came out the right shape), the main frames, and the doubled frame on which we’re going to hang the outboard. The bottom row are the 3/8ths components, including the sides, bits of decks and so on. The next task is to plot about a million coordinates to enable my pal to cut the thing out accurately, and with all these parts to work with the task should keep both of us busy for some time!

One thing that doesn’t appear here that I’m also thinking about is a proper name, and I have to say that I haven’t thought of one that seems to suit it. I did wonder about naming it after my grandmother, whose name was Elsie, but she wasn’t exactly low powered. Then I thought about our sweet pet dog during my childhood, but her name, Sooty, doesn’t seem to fit. And then I thought about my elegant sister – but I suspect she wouldn’t thank me for naming a fairly utilitarian boat design after her. So how about a place name? How about the Barton skiff, which might be named after the place where I first conceived the notion that such a boat should exist. What do you folks think? Does this design look like it could be called the Barton skiff to you?

To find out more about this low-powered outboard skiff project, click here and here, and, for something I learned about after drawing this skiff and which seemed to endorse my concept, click here.

ALSO – see the latest post on this project.

A model of the Low-power skiff

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I’m charmed today that Edward Powers has sent me these photos of his model of the Low-power skiff I’ve been designing for a friend, and which I have written about here at

Thanks Edward! I’m grateful for the photos of his smart model boat, and for the reminder that there are people out there who would like me to finish the drawings – I will, just as soon as I’m confident I’ve drawn an outboard well that won’t cause any problems. For more on the Low-power skiff, including initial sketches and a download for making a model, click here.