A 9-Foot Sharpie

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Location of Mold

Cranks With Planks Present:

<> How to Build a Nine-Foot Sharpie <>

An Easily Constructed Craft
Which Can Readily Be Built by Anyone

[First published I'm not sure where or when. In construction this boat is very much a ringer for the longer "Skiff Found Behind A Barn" pictured on the Short Boats page, so if you desire to have a Barn Skiff, here's the scoop. To make a longer boat, start with longer side planks, and put the mold in the same relative place. Everything being equal a longer boat is easier to build. -- COD]

IN designing this boat the main object was to make it as simple and the drawings as complete as possible so that any one who might want to build a dinghy would not have to make any plans, tables, etc., but just go to work and build according to the drawings which are shown. A large variety of tools is not necessary as is usually the case in most boat building. A man who is handy with ordinary tools can build this boat in two days with the simplest equipment.


The first thing to do is to make the stem and false stem. Take a piece of oak two inches square by four feet long and draw a line down, the middle of one side. Be sure of your measurements in every case and you cannot go wrong. When I say draw a line down the middle of one side it must be absolutely in the middle. If the line which is the basis of all measurements for the making of the stem is not directly in the center, the stem will not be true, which will give the bow of the boat a one-sided appearance. Make the stem absolutely true and you will have a good start in the work of building this perfect little dinghy. After the line is drawn down the middle of the two-inch square piece of oak, measure one-quarter inch from each side and draw other lines, plane off the corners as is indicated in the drawing (Fig. 1) until it is V shape, measuring exactly two inches across the back and one-half inch across the front. When this piece is absolutely true saw it in two, one piece will be the stem, the other piece the false stem.


The next in order will be the sides. Cut two boards as laid out in the drawing Fig. 2. Would advise clamping two boards together so that both sides may be cut together, in that way they will both be alike in size.

Now comes the making of the transom (Figs. 5 and 6).



This may be made in either one piece or two pieces. It will be easier if made in one piece and will look a great deal better, besides when the boat is finished the transom can be varnished instead of painted if made in one piece. If the finishing is going to be considered, instead of allowing the heads of the screws to show they can be countersunk and wood plugs set in over the heads, set in glue, this is up to the fastidiousness of the builder. The wood plugs mentioned can be bought in any marine hardware store of any size desired. As the drawings (Figs. 5 and 6) thoroughly explain the making of the transom, there is very little to explain here, except to be sure of your measurements and keep all lines true.




The mold is made next (see Fig. 7). The best way to make the mold in order to get it true is to lay out the dimensions on the floor with a piece of chalk. When the pieces are sawed to fit they can be laid out on the floor plan and nailed together.




We are now ready to begin putting the boat together. Fasten the two sides to the stem as shown in drawing (Figs. 8 and 9), first laying several strands of cotton wicking soaked in white lead along the stem. Cotton wicking can be bought in any hardware or marine supply store. Get the ends of the sides, and the front of the stem in one straight line as the false stem is to be fastened against them later on.









Fastening Sides to Stem






Sides to


Now measure off the sides for the location of the mold, Fig. 10. Fasten the mold to one side with two screws, turn the boat over and with the aid of a friend fasten the second side like the first. We are now ready to fasten the transom. There is very little to explain in fastening the transom except that you will have to call upon your friend again to lend his weight in bending the sides to meet the transom. After this is completed your boat will begin to take on a little shape and you can now get a fair idea of how your little dinghy is going to look.



When the transom is thoroughly fastened, the bottom will be next in order. I may mention at this time that the mold must not be disturbed, and not removed until the boat is completely planked. The object of the mold, of course, is to give the boat its shape and is a very important factor. Turn the boat upside down and prepare her for the planking.


[Beats me what the "7 ft Radius" is all about in Figure 10, unless it's the suggested radius for the top of the transom. The curve to the top of the transom is very much a matter of personal preference. -- COD]


You will note that the bending of the sides has given the edges, the part where the planking is to go, an uneven angle, this edge must be planed down flat. To get this edge flat lay a straight edged board across the boat and you will readily see how much of the edge must be trimmed. A string of cotton wicking with lead should be laid along the bottom edge of the sides before the bottom boards are nailed on (Fig. 2). These boards are three quarters of an inch thick by ten inches wide and are planed at the edges so that when they are fastened to the boat they will make a tight joint on the inside and be open about one-sixteenth of an inch on the outside to allow for caulking. The caulking is done by forcing a string of cotton wicking and white lead in the seams with a putty knife or some other blunt instrument, taking care not to force the wicking through to the inside of the boat, and not to pack it too tight, as the wood will swell when the boat is put overboard. Care should also be taken in nailing the planking, that the nails are driven straight, and that they do not split the sides.


[Our correspondent does not elucidate the mystery of the keel piece or the skeg. After the bottom is nailed on, add the oak keel strip for sure, and skeg, if desired.

Nor does he talk about the position of the thwarts and how to fasten them. Risers or horizontal cleats are used on each side of the boat and the thwarts are nailed to them. They are important, after all, they keep the sides of the boat apart. Nail the fore and aft seats in. If you can't get the middle thwart in without removing the mold, nail a few pieces of wood across the boat to help it keep its shape and rip out the mold. -- COD]


As to the painting, the boat should have at least three coats, the first coat being very thin, using raw oil as a reducer. Oarlocks should be placed three inches aft of the center of the middle seat. Oars 6-1/2 feet long will be suitable for this outfit.


[I suspect that white lead will be hard to obtain, but I also suspect that PL Brand Polyurethane caulking woud probably make a pretty good bedding compound instead of all this wicking and lead, if not, wicking and Latex Acrylic Porch Paint will probably do the job, but this is an area for experimentation. -- COD]


Fig. 11:



List of Materials

One piece of oak 2x2 inch x 4 feet long for stem and false stem.

Two pieces of white pine, clear stock, 3/4 x 16 inches, 9 feet long for the sides.

Five pieces white pine 1-1/4 x 10 inches, 9 feet long for bottom and seats.

One piece of oak 1 x 4 inches x 9 feet long for keel.

One gross 1-1/2 inch brass screws flat head.

One-half dozen 3 inch brass screws for fastening stem and false stem.

Three pounds 8-penny galvanized wire board nails.

One pair galvanized oarlocks. One ball all cotton wicking. Small can of white lead paint.


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