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A Portable Folding Boat

By Stanley L. Swift

"A BOAT that is inexpensive, easily made, and readily transported is shown in the illustration. Since the bow section folds inside of the stern portion, it is important that the dimensions be followed closely. The material used is 7/8- in. throughout. Make a full-size diagram of the plan to determine the exact sizes of the pieces. Brass screws are best for fastening this type of work, but copper plated nails may be used. Tongued-and-grooved stock is best for the bottom. The joints should not be driven together too firmly, to allow for expansion, and all joints in the boat should be packed with red lead or pitch. The adjoining ends of the sections should be made at the same time, to insure a satisfactory fit when joined."

Braces are fixed into the corners.

"Metal straps hold the sections together at the bottom of t he hinged joints. These should be fitted so that there is little possibility of their becoming loosened accidentally. The front end of each strip is pivoted in a hole and the other end is slotted vertically on the lower edge. Their bolts are set firmly into the side of the boat being held with nuts on both sides of the wood. A wing nut, prevented from coming off by riveting the end of the bolt, holds the slotted end. Sockets for the oars may be cut into hardwood pieces fastened to the gunwales. The construction of the seats is shown in the small sketch at the left."

folding boat plan

Background and Notes on this Project

This "plan" is taken "as is" from "The Boy Mechanic" a series of books published in the early 1900's. These pages comes from a digital version published by the Gutenberg Project. Here is a link to various formats of the book with and without images. I like the pdf but it's larger.

If you are interested in folding boats Here is a link to my page on folding boats.

These plans were not actually built or tested and they are not necessarily very accurate.

They also use materials that are no longer considered safe, such as lead packing. Lead is poisonous, don't even think of using it.

This boat was intended to be built with solid boat planks. This kind of construction is not widely used now because it is difficult to get the material and marine grade, or at least exterior grade plywood is easier and less expensive to get. The instructions suggest 7/8 thick material but I expect that this could be reduced considerably if the edges were reinforced with epoxy fillets or chine logs.

If you plan to build this boat, you should start by building a model. Work accurately and any discrepancy hopefully will be caught.

This boat would be a good candidate for Stitch and Glue with fiberglass reinforcement. That's the method I used to build my Apple Pie Dinghy. It could also be built using chine logs on the edges. That is how I build my Puddle Duck Racer.

Gina Siepel made a version and posted on Youtube. Plans needs some fine tuning but it works. What is particularly interesting is the way it sort of rolls up in a compact-ish box. I think wheels could be attached and make this a more portable boat.

Another Video where the boat gets used in a rowing trip on Kennebec river

Links to all my plans for boats, paddles and Oars, Stand up Paddleboards, folding boats.

email me if you find mistakes, I'll fix them and we'll all benefit: Christine