Building a Traditional Wooden Boat #4: Strongback

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Blog entry by MattD posted 06-28-2009 04:04 AM 20072 reads 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Building the Molds Part 4 of Building a Traditional Wooden Boat series Part 5: Building the Transom »

The strongback is completed and the molds are in position. Starting to take shape! The strongback is the very flat, level and squared box in the photos below. It is attached to short (2 foot high) sawhorses on each end. The molds are attached and braced to the strongback. The boat will be constructed upside down over the molds. So far, I haven’t built anything that will be an actual piece of the boat when it’s completed! Everything in the pictures below will eventually go to the lumber pile for some future project. Ah well. More exciting stuff is coming up soon.

Next is building the transom (the back of the boat) and attaching that to the strongback. This will be the first “real” piece of the boat.

Thanks for reading!

Photos shows the view facing the front of the boat.

Strongback Materials List:

  • (2) 2×8x12, Lowes
  • (1) 2×10x10, Lowes
  • (2) 2×4x8, Lowes
  • Total for above: $33
  • Misc nails and scrap lumber

Project Materials Summary:

  • Plans and Book: $60
  • Lofting Supplies: $47.88
  • Mold Supplies: $36
  • Strongback Lumber: $33

- Total Project Expenses so far: $176.88

Labor Hours Summary:

  • 5/29/09 – 6/8/09: Lofting – 12 Hours
  • 6/14/09 – 6/20/09: Building Molds: 5 Hours
  • 6/25/09 – 6/27/09: Building Strongback: 7.5 Hours

- Total Project Labor Hours so far: 24.5 Hours

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

7 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4447 days

#1 posted 06-28-2009 04:14 AM

Looks nice!

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4351 days

#2 posted 06-28-2009 04:26 AM

looks good look forward to more.


View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 4135 days

#3 posted 06-28-2009 01:06 PM

Hey Matt,
Looking good…...but…......just a small suggestion… reduce lateral deflection in your jig, screw two vertical 4×2 to a 4×4 foot plate and mount it in the center of your jig… me… will bend over time…...been there done that.

View JoeC61's profile


34 posts in 4356 days

#4 posted 06-28-2009 03:34 PM

This looks like a great project! We recently visited Grand Marais, MN, on the north shore of Lake Superior. There’s a school there called the North House Folk School ( where boat building such as this is taught (among other wood working classes, timber frame, log home…).
Seeing your project makes me want to sign up!

-- Joe-Carver, MN

View MattD's profile


150 posts in 4718 days

#5 posted 06-28-2009 03:35 PM

Splinterman – Thank you for that suggestion. I’m going to add that center support.

DaveR – To make the stem, I plan to make a pattern picked up from the lofted plans and then cut the stem from the template. The stem will be a single curved piece of white oak with a knee section to join to the keelson and keel. 1.5” thick. I’ll carve out a rabbet for the planks to fit into.

-- Matt - Syracuse, NY

View cylis007's profile


56 posts in 4242 days

#6 posted 07-01-2009 05:04 AM

I am really enjoying following your progress. Great work! Thanks for sharing.

-- A life of leisure and a life of laziness are two things. There will be sleeping enough in the grave. ~Benjamin Franklin

View Napaman's profile


5533 posts in 4851 days

#7 posted 07-22-2009 06:55 AM

great stuff…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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