January - February - March - April - May - June - July
August - September - October - November - December

Send items to for inclusion here next month.

A Bufflehead on Lake St Claire

Howard Rice was in town from Micronesia, working with Michigan State University on the World Park effort out there. Although he has a Bufflehead design hull, she's not done, & he's been sailing his Serendipity sister Sylph in the Pacific.

These were shot October 10th on Lake St Claire near our place in Michigan. "Bufflehead" is scooting along nicely in 7-9 knots, gusts 11-12. The rig is from Jim Renouf's Bufflehead Eden.

~Hugh Horton

A Simple Bevel Board

Get on piece of 3/4 plywood (Plexi-Glass works well too). Measure 5 inches width x 20 inches length. Use Protractor or Miter Gauge on your saw and lay the angles out (top is 0 Degrees) to 45 Degrees, Starting them 1/4 inch apart on the board. Just a note - When taking angles off the Half-Breadth Plan view the Stem & Transom are usually not 100% correct - check for the full sized views on another sheet

Just in case you were wondering how we did that, here’s a quick tutorial in marking out and cutting a rolling bevel.

REF: Instant Boats by Harold H. Payson


QT Skiff

Hi there Chuck,

Remember me? the guy who made the QT skiff into a sailing rig?... Well, I have a picture for you, and also some questions.

As it turns out the little boat is fun to sail, but it is very tippy and I have to constantly shift my weight to keep it upright - not a very comfortable day. But as I have now already gone off the reservation with this design, I intend to go even further by adding: pontoons on out-riggers, a jib and a mizzen. This is the winter project that I intend to undertake since I don't have the space or money to build Welsford's Pathfinder.

This will be a fun project, and I'm sure it will "work" (see also: "function somewhat without killing anyone" ), however, I could use some advice on how to rig and work a mizzen. I could also use some plans for making my pontoons ( I could use some scaled up or down plans from some other boat design - I prefer to make the pontoons by the stitch and glue method).

I intend to make a fixed thwart piece that will serve to mount the out-rigger assembly and also to mount a wheel for the rudder. I also want to leave enough room fore and aft of the thwart piece to allow for the pilot and a passenger. Ideally, I want to run all lines to the helm so that I can control all sails from there. I am thinking of mounting the mizzen on a rolling furler rig so that I can furl it in a hurry if I want to run. It will be a compact and complicated little craft with lines and pullies and cam cleats all over the place.

I am having a blast with this awkward little boat and look forward to seeing how nuts I can get with it. evryone loves to come and look at it, but out on the water it has trouble reaching upwind. I hope that the pontoons and the extra sail area will give me more windward ability so I will have more options of where I can go. Also if it is less tippy, maybe I can get my mother to go out in it - she wants to really bad.

Anyway, here is the picture of it in the park.

Jeff Edwards

Bird's Mouth Mast

Might be of interest for those attempting to build a bird's mouth mast. Nice clean pictures explaining the whole process.

Wilfried Vermeiren


This series of videos on Youtube by Red Barn Boats are very helpful. The use of a plastic bag for filleting and the use of different colour pigments for fairing are great ideas and the videos show you exactly how to do it.

Mike John


Mythbusters Paper Boat

The Mythbusters successfully built a powerboat out of wet newspaper and then froze it. They clamped a large outboard on the transom and it worked - for a while.

Mike John


I sent some of these to a guy who's interested in building a really kick ass boat so I'll give the rest of you a thrill also. These boats are fun, fast, comfortable, beautiful and safe. Everyone needs to build a  traditional classic boat to learn the craft but you also have to have one of these when you just want to bust loose and have fun, They have a gaff rig and are made of wood so they count. All of these plus a few more came out of my shop and it sure was fun watching them being built.  Roger Allen at the Cortez museum has plans, I think. 

David Lucas
Lucas Boatworks and Happy Hour Club

Meaning to Write

Have been meaning to write but on the road quite a bit lately. I've got lots of notes and pics from the past year or two that I need to stir into a good fish story. I did just finish up a rudder mounted windvane steering rig with a trim tab for my Dad's Montgomery 17, that actually worked.

I was up in WI on work a few years back - in Chippewa Falls. I didn't like the hotel options at the time, so I stayed at a B&B on the north side of the lake there. Good decision. It was just off-season but the folks that owned the place opened up the shed and let me have free use of their canoe for two weeks. Beautiful lake, friendly folks, good beer and those delicious fried cheese thingies. Nice memories; I hope to go back sometime.

Out in the shop, molds are complete for a Hugh Horton "Bufflehead" sailing canoe, but I'm in "waiting to afford plywood" mode right now. So just painting and varnishing until then. Here is Bolger Nymph "What, Me Worry?" getting a facelift and a kickup rudder conversion. My first, and still favorite.

Stacy Smith

LagunaDos Turning

Here are some photos of Mike Monies' Laguna turning. Since it is the second one to go 3D he is calling it LagunaDos. The next will be LagunaTres.

Ed Einhorn's Tennessee Turning

Toter2 Design Concept

click image above to enlarge

The need for small, one or two occupant, portable boats is obvious. They can be built and stored in confined spaces. They can be transported in almost any vehicle. They are low in cost to build and operate. And, they can traverse most inland waterways for hunting, fishing or just everyday recreational purposes. After reviewing a slew of different small boats, it seems to me that most available are of the manufactured type, plastic or inflatable, and tend to be somewhat expensive (a few hundred dollars). And homebuilt small boats, either kits or plans, are really not too portable either, unless you have a small trailer or a big vehicle. Anyway, not what I call portable. What about the rest of us who do not want to trailer ?

My original design in this area was the 'Toter'. It has good performance, is lightweight, inexpensive to build, but only holds a single occupant, and requires modification to a trolling motor. After much thought, some feedback, and a few other larger boat designs, I have come back and revised the basic configuration of the 'Toter'. The new 'Toter 2' is the result, and although no longer than the original (8 feet), it holds two occupants in tandem, is wider, has more freeboard, has built-in safety buoyancy, can carry up to 450 pounds, uses a non-modified electric trolling motor for propulsion, and best of all, it looks like a boat. As with the original, when nested, it occupies an area only 3 feet square, and 17 inches high. It will fit in most car trunks, and all RV's, SUV's and Trucks. No trailering or cartopping !

The initial design wish list was long, but first was the method of construction and assembly. Fortunately, since the original 'Toter' was designed, I have developed the 'Tape & Glue' method of holding all the pieces together, to produce a watertight and lightweight assembly. Of course, the new 'Toter 2' will use this process. Then came the decision as to how the 3 hull modules would be fastened together. Here too, past portable boat designs helped in the decision process. My favorite method is the use of dovetail connectors, but builder feedback has indicated it is too difficult to produce and fit. This left the bolt together method, and results from my 'Pollywog' design/build showed that even a larger boat could be safely bolted together. Placing 3/8 inch bolts on the center of the side panels, at the bulkheads, would ensure a strong and tight assembly. This is the same method most recently used in my 'Kayak+' design, and it works quite well. Easy to set-up, and easy to dismantle.

Finishing of a boat has always been a task for me. Sand, recoat, sand again etc. And what paint to use? I have tried exterior enamel, exterior porch and floor and polyurethane, none of which satisfied my long term requirements. I know, what about Marine Paint? One word, expensive! Most recently I have been using Marine Spar Varnish, and although somewhat expensive, I like the end result. It seals the wood and provides a natural wood finish that makes any boat look better, and it's a good way to show off your craftsmanship.

One more 'Toter' thing. Some people have inquired about adding a sail to the 'Toter' design. I have responded by saying the hull was too narrow, and there would be stability problems. With 'Toter 2' that is no longer an issue, as the base is wider and the sides are more generously sloped. So I will be designing a sail rig, similar to the 'Pollywog', just as soon as time permits. Not much different than a PDRacer, really, but a truly portable design.

As usual, any and all concept comments are always welcome, although not many have provided feedback on the initial inquiry I recently posted on the website. Maybe this information will be more detailed, and will foster real constructive conversation.

Best Regards,
Ken Simpson

Wes Farmer's Kingfisher

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am glad you are offering Weston Farmer's excellent designs.  Many years ago I bought plans for the Kingfisher from Mr. Farmer's son and started building.  I haven't had as much time to work on it as I would have liked, but I manage to make a little progress whenever I can.  Attached are pictures of the project. 

Please feel free to pass along my email address to anyone who orders a set, or to folks who are considering the project and would like to get in touch with someone who has taken the plunge.

It would be fun to connect with others building this boat. 

Phil Jans
Wenatchee, WA

LED Bulbs?


I crew/skipper on a 68 year old National treasure (See Pics). It has 36 volt light bulbs for the interior that soak up a lot of juice. Do you know of a source for 36 volt LED replacements. The 36 volt bulbs are screw ins that are about the size of a 40 watt AC bulb.

Harry James

To comment on Duckworks articles, please visit our forum