Master craftsman, Yeung Chan, brought in the row boat that he built in his single car garage during Covid lockdown.
The design dates back to the 1800's. It weighs about 200-250 pounds, but he has not been able to weigh it but he able to get it into the back of his pickup truck if he lifts up one end at a time.
The boat is 11 feet 7 inches long and 50 inches wide. He used the lapstrake clinker method for the hull.
It is made the hull from 9mm thick Hydrotek marine plywood available from Moore Newton Quality Hardwoods in San Leandro. He was considering making the hull from solid cedar, but the cedar was way too expensive to buy and ship. He used a 2x12 as a base and bolted that to a 4x6 timber to give it extra rigidity. He hand planed the 2x12 to get it straight and square. He made a number of temporary forms to build the hull against.
Methods of building a boat
Upside down method
Right side up method
The forms were made based on dimensions from the plans he had.
Yeung started building the boat upside down, but decided to turn it right side up so he could see if there were any gaps between each lapstrake plank.
Hand told used
He rough cut the keel on his bandsaw. He had to make a ball bearing support at each end of the bandsaw to support the long keel. The transom knee and stem were laminated and formed against plywood forms. He used bronze screws and bolts to attach the keel to the stem
The plywood is not long enough to make the whole run from bow to stern, so he made planed scarf joints to make longer pieces.
All gluing was done with epoxy glue. He did not have any clamps with a deep enough reach to hold the lapped planks against one another, so he made a dozen or so plywood clamps to do the job
Once all the lapped planks were in place, he could remove the temporary forms and add ribs. The ribs were made from air dried quarter sawn oak that he steam bent. He made his own steam chamber. Copper rivets are used to secure the ribs to the lapped plywood.
Yeung said there are probably about 600 of them. Though they go from the outside of the hull to the inside of the ribs, the rivets are not visible from the outside.
The exterior of the hull is painted with white epoxy paint that he applied with a small roller. The interior, transom and gunwale are finished with clear varnish.
Paddle and oars
Handles of oars with sewn leather grips
Yeung made a paddle from ash and a pair of oars from spruce. He used the bandsaw to rough out the shape and then used hand tools (that he made) to add all the rounded edges. He covered the portion of the oars that sit in the oarlocks with leather that he hand stitched.
The bow of the boat needed a metal eye to tie up to, but Yeung could not find one that he liked, so he cut his own U shaped piece from 1/4" thick copper plate, threaded it, soldered it to a flat plate and was happy with the final result.
He also made a small wooden trailer so he could wheel the boat around from his truck to the water or the meeting room. Some of you might have noticed that he made wheel chocks so the trailer would not roll around while in the meeting room.
About the only things he did not make himself were the oarlocks, rivets and bolts.
Jon Kaplan got a chance to row the boat around the lake at Ryan Park in Foster City.
To say that the boat is a work of art is an understatement. It has beautiful lines, something that was important to Yeung when he first decided on the design. And this was Yeung's first boat build. I think Bruce Powell has sore hands from all the applause he gave Yeung at the end of the presentation.