19 foot Offshore Power Dory Build #1: Getting Started

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Blog entry by English posted 12-18-2014 03:55 AM 12474 reads 7 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of 19 foot Offshore Power Dory Build series Part 2: Continuing with the boat frame »

I have started a new project for the winter. I am building a 19 foot Offshore Power Dory Boat. I am 65 years old and have spent my life building things for everyone else. I have always wanted to build a boat, so with my wife’s blessing that is just what I am doing this winter.

I have spent hundreds of hours studying boat plans, reading about building boats on boat building forums and researching about every thing I would need to know to build a boat. I picked a plan. A 19ft Offshore Power Dory from Spira International Inc.

The design is simple, 2×4 lumber for the frame. Marine plywood for the skin, epoxy and fiberglass to keep it dry. Sounds simple right.

I chose to use Douglas Fir for the frames, and I plan to use Douglas Fir Marine Plywood for the hull and the cabin skin. I have got started and I will update the blog as I go. I have about 40 hours in the build so far.

Here is what I plan to build, This is the hull plan.

I hope this is the way it will look when I finish.

To build the boat you need something to build it on, something to keep everything straight. They call it a strong back, here is mine.

It is made from 2×8 lumber, I added the casters so I could move it back and forth in my shop to make room to work on it. It’s awful big for my space.

Then you have to build the transom and the frames. To do this you use a piece of plywood, a full sheet, and layout the frame dimensions. on the plywood.

Then you lay the lumber onto the layout on the plywood, mark your cuts, then assemble the frames on the layout.

You also need to layout and cut the opening for the “keelson” while the frame is on the layout.

Then you need to drill out the corners, drilling reduces the chances of the lumber splitting as well has supplying Limber holes for the bilge water to pass from frame to frame.

Once the limber holes are cut you need to cut out the notch.

Then as you build the frames you lay them out on the strong back.

Until all of the frames are built and all of the joints are screwed with Stainless Steel #10×3 ” deck screws and glued with epoxy glue.

Next you need to install the keelson, this is the structural piece that holds all of the frames together.

Here is the slots that the keelson will be installed.

For the keelson I had to use a piece of southern yellow pine, I could not find any Douglas Fir that size, needed 2×8 x 20 ft.

The keelson is now installed and glued with epoxy and screwed with Stainless Steel #10×3 ” deck screws.

As I progress I will add new blog entries with lots of pictures. I have about 40 hours so far in the build. And I have enjoyed all of it.

Thanks for looking!!

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

5 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 4719 days

#1 posted 12-18-2014 04:12 AM

You are making great progress in 40 hours!

When you epoxied the joints did you use fibre cloth to re-enforce the joints, or are you just relying on the epoxy alone? I am not sure how familiar you are working with epoxy but fellow LJ shipwright has a pretty good explanation of using epoxy in boat building.

Thank you for posting this I will be eagerly watching your progress!

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View shipwright's profile


8678 posts in 3805 days

#2 posted 12-18-2014 05:37 AM

It’s always fun to watch a new boat come to life . I’ll be watching and although I’m sure you’ve get everything covered, I’ll be available if you run into a glitch. I’ve built a few boats.

Have a ball with this.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View English's profile


690 posts in 2484 days

#3 posted 12-18-2014 12:48 PM

Mark, My plans just called for using epoxy or it said I could use a polyurethane glue like Loctite PL Premium. I researched and suffered with the decision and decided on the epoxy. In my research I didn’t see any mention of adding fiber to the joints. I do plan to put 6” fiber on all my plywood joints and 2 layers of 6oz cloth on the entire out side of the hull.

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 2624 days

#4 posted 01-17-2015 12:50 AM

Now I’m caught up, nice to see Paul is watching. This will be a project you will never forget.
After looking at all three posts, I’d be happy with the progress you’ve made.
When do we get to the point when we quit checking our hours, it’s a hard habit to break.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4341 days

#5 posted 07-05-2015 12:18 PM

I haven’t been following with on this build John, but I just read the latest installment where you are just around the corner from launching. I’ll be catching up on all the installments now as I find boatbuilding to be very interesting and since I have never built a boat all the more so. Thanks for doing such a thorough and well written blog on this so we can enjoy the build too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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