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A Light Home-made Boat






Category: THE TRAPPER'S MISCELLANY.

The following gives an easy method of making a light and serviceable
bateau, which any boy, with moderate ingenuity or skill, could
easily construct:--

Select two boards, about three-quarters of an inch in thickness,
eighteen or twenty inches in width, and twelve feet in length,
which we will consider the required length of the boat. These boards
should be well seasoned, and free from knots, and at least one of
the sides should be straight.

Next, with the aid of a draw-shave, proceed to shape the ends of
one of the boards, as seen on our diagram, (e) representing the
forward, (g) the stern. The curve of the bow should commence at
about four feet from the end, and take a rounded slope upward,
leaving about ten inches of width at the end of the board (e).
The stern should be cut at the angle shown at (g), commencing
at about two and a half feet from the extremity of the board and
continuing upward to about ten inches from the upper edge. The
board thus shaped should now be laid evenly on the other, and the
outline of the cut portions carefully scratched upon it, after
which the second board should be cut in a similar manner as the
first, so as to form an exact duplicate.

This being accomplished, the two should be laid evenly, one over
the other, and the exact center of their long edges ascertained.
Marking off about five inches on each side of this centre on both
boards.



Next procure another board about ten inches in width, three feet
in length, and perfectly squared at the ends. Nail each end of
this piece securely and squarely in the space marked on each of
the long boards. Then turn the pieces carefully over and

nail another board across the bottom, directly opposite the first.
We will now leave them and give our attention to the bow piece,
which is the next requisite. This is shown at (a), and consists
of a solid piece of oak, or other hard wood, well seasoned, and
hewn out in the arrow shape, indicated in our illustration. It

should first be cut three-cornered, the inside face being about
eight inches, and the other two ten inches. Its length should be
about eleven inches, and its under side should be sloped off on a
line with the under curve of the bows. At about five inches from
the inner face, and on each side, a piece should be sawn out, one
inch in thickness, thus leaving on each side a notch which will
exactly receive the side-boards of the boat, as seen at (a).



The piece being thus ready, the bow ends of the boards should be
drawn together, fitted in the notches and securely spiked with
large nails. A bow piece of this kind adds greatly to the strength
of a boat, and will stand much rough usage. The board for the stem
should next be prepared. This should be ten inches in width and two
feet in length, and should be securely nailed between the ends of the
boards at the stem, as shown at (g), being afterwards overlapped
on the top by a board of similar size, as our illustration shows,
at (c). The bottom of the boat is now easily made by nailing
boards crosswise, sawing off the projecting ends close to the curve
of the side-boards. After the pieces are all nailed in place, the
seams and crevices should be caulked with hemp, using a blunt chisel,
or hard wooden wedge, and a mallet. The seats should now be put
in, as these are not only a matter of comfort, but of necessity,
acting as braces to the sides of the boat. They should be two in
number, one being placed three feet from the stern and the other
one foot beyond the brace board originally nailed across the top
of the boat. The seats should be cut at the ends in a curve
corresponding to the part of the boat in which they are placed,
and should be situated about a foot from the bottom of the boat,
their ends resting on short boards beneath them against the sides
of the boat. These are indicated by the dotted lines (h h) in

the diagram. When thus resting they should be securely fastened in
place by strong screws, driven through the sides of the boat into
their ends (f f), allowing some one to sit on the seat meanwhile
to keep it in place. Small cleats should now be tacked to the bottom
of the boat, beneath the seat and underneath the seat itself, in
order to keep the props in place; after which the original brace
board across the top of the boat may be knocked off and the bateau
is complete and ready for service. A boat thus made is quite comely
in shape, and may be painted to suit the fancy. Should a rudder
be required, the broad board at the stern offers a good place of
attachment, and oar-locks may be adjusted at the proper places.
These may consist of a pair of cleats attached to the inside of
the boat, as seen in the illustration. In case it may be found
difficult to obtain the large single boards for the sides of the
boat, two or more narrow ones will answer the purpose, although
not as perfectly. In this case they should first be firmly attached
together by cleats, securely screwed to the inside. When first put
on the water the boat will probably leak in places, but if left
to soak for a few hours the wood will generally swell sufficiently
to completely close the crevices. If, however, the leak should
continue, that particular part of the boat should be re-caulked
and smeared with pitch. This latter substance is of great value
to the trapper, not only in boat building but in the construction
of his shanties and in other various ways. It will most effectually
stop almost any leak in a canoe or boat, and of course should always
be applied hot.





Next: The Scow

Previous: The Indian Or Birch-bark Canoe



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