Design by Steven Lewis - Sioux City, Iowa - USA
Steven Lewis won our "Economy River Cruiser" design contest a few years ago. In the mean time he has been busy designing all kinds of small, utility boats for amateur construction and posting them on his website. This design he designated as a Duckworks exclusive - it is a free download that is available nowhere else. Thanks Steven!

Duckskiff is a 14 foot skiff I designed for a buddy of mine named Tim that I work with. Tim is an avid Duck hunter and wanted a fairly lightweight boat but in nice quiet wood rather than noisy aluminum. He also wanted something a little boatier than a Johnboat styled craft. What I came up with for him is a 14 ft long 5 ft wide at the shear (45 inches wide at the bottom) kind of semi-dory hull. I did this to make it an easier and dryer proposition when pulling a large dog over the side and back into the boat. The additional ultimate stability of the 23° flare to the sides allows a lot of weight to be right at the sides of the boat while at the same time getting the shear lower to the water. He wanted to be able to use his 7 hp motor to get around now with the probability of upgrading to a higher hp later on. As the hull was originally derived from a rowing style hull I was playing with a few months previously I tweaked both of them so that they were brother and sister similar and decided to present them to you here. Enjoy…

Specifications for Motorized version:

14’ 3”
5’ 2” (with trim)
Depth at midships
Draft at design weight of 860 lbs
Approximate boat weight
180-220 lbs
to 25hp
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Motorized Version

Specifications for Rowing version:

14’ 1”
5’ 2”
Depth at midships
Draft at design weight of 600 lbs
Approximate boat weight
130-160 lbs
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Rowing Version


Using these instructions, along with the accompanying sketches, drawings, illustrations, photos and tables, you should be able to build either version of DuckSkiff14with relative ease over the course of 2-6 weekends. The original instructions were written for just the motorized version but have been added to, amended to and revised in the appropriate areas where the information or building instructions differ for the rowing version. Please take the time to read ALL of the information as better than 90% applies to both forms of the boat and in both methods of construction. The photos are not of this particular boat but are used to illustrate what a certain method or outcome should look like. Do not be thrown off by a Vee bottom or a differently
shaped hull but use it as a visualization of one possible way of doing something. The Photos are also not all mine but are courtesy of my many online friends in the various forums and groups that I inhabit

Steven's plans consist of 61 pages of diagrams, detailed instructions, offsets, and even photographs. The plans are free to download and you can build as many as you wish.

Bill of Materials:

1: Two sheets of 3/8” (Row) or 1/2”(Motor) plywood or MDO (Medium Density Overlay) for the bottom (Note: the longest life can be expected from marine grade plywood and MDO…lesser grades can be expected to have a shorter life span)

2: Two sheets of 1/4” (Row) or 3/8" (Row or Motor) plywood or MDO for the sides

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Panel layout for Motorized version.

3: One sheet of 1/4" plywood for seat boxes (if building them)

4: One sheet of 3/4” plywood or MDO for transom and doubler and also knees and breasthook if not using solid wood (required only on the motorized version). You can use 3/8” ply for the transom on the rowing version provided you add some framing t o stiffen it up a bit. The knees and breasthook can be of 1x stock.

5: 12’ and 16’ lengths of 1x stock. The amount will depend on the intended building method and finishing. At a minimum you will need 2”- 3” wide strips for the inner and outer wales, floor stringers, bottom rub strips and cleats… plus additional 1 1/4” wide strips for Chine Logs if building that way. You may also wish to use 1x stock for seat planks. If you choose to space the gunnel you will need to factor that in too. Sit down and calculate what you need by how you are planning on building the boat. You should only need the 16’ stock for the gunnels, but you can get away with shorter stuff if you don’t mind joints. All joints should be in the aft sections of the boat. The better the quality of the wood the easier to finish and the longer lasting.

The Duckskiff plans have 18 detailed illustrations like this one to guide the builder through the construction process:

The plans

6: Stem piece: 28” long piece of 2”x3” or 2”x4” fir or hardwood

7: A bag of 100 4” plastic wire ties or a roll of copper wire for the Stitch and Glue version

8: Epoxy…the minimum amount of epoxy needed is about 1 quart, for taping, gluing and filling on a boat built with Chine Logs. Stitch and glue will require another quart, as will glassing the bottom. If you wish to totally seal the boat (not a bad idea at all)…you will probably need all of the above and an additional quart…so about 1 gallon of epoxy. I don’t recommend polyester resin as it is not useful as a glue, isn’t really waterproof in the amounts you would use and doesn’t stick to wood nearly as well as epoxy does. To save some on epoxy you can use a glue like PL Premium polyurethane glue when gluing parts together, but it tends to foam up so it doesn’t work so well as a sealer.

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Panel layout for Rowing version

7: Filler for the epoxy…I like wood flour mixed with Cabosil (fumed silica…wear a dust mask) 2 lbs of wood flour and ½ lb of Cabosil will do the trick for Stitch and Glue, half that for Chine Log.

8: Fiberglass: Tape =10 yards for Chine Log, 25 yards for Stitch and Glue Cloth= 50” width x 5 yards 4-6 oz cloth if you plan on glassing it the bottom.

9: Mixers, mixing containers, tongue depressors or shaped applicators (for fillets) latex or plastic gloves, dust masks, sandpaper, 3/4" Stainless screws (if leaving them in) or drywall screws (if removing) Clamps (cheap plastic ones are fine, or cut some 4”-6”schedule 40 PVC pipe into 1” slices and split one edge for a really cheap clamp), primer and paint. Deck and porch paint or any good exterior heavy duty paint is fine along with a good primer, Painters plastic or plastic sheet for covering windows (better).

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There are 18 photographs in the downloadable PDF plans so there can be no confusion about the instructions

10: Tools: The absolute minimum I would want to get by with is a circular saw and a power drill/driver for power tools although if you are good, a jigsaw will do the job. Hand tools include a tape measure, a square, a small block plane, a small hand saw for trim work and a screwdriver. An Orbital sander is a definite nice thing to have when it comes to rounding the Chines over and feathering the tape edges in. A table saw makes cutting bevels on long pieces a snap too, so you might want to borrow or rent one for a couple of hours and get all your parts cut out ahead of time. If you don’t want to use screws to hold things together…you will need a bunch of clamps. Cheap spring clamps work most of the time but you could probably use a few C (or G) clamps for any tough stuff. You can also make cheap clamps out of 6” Schedule 40 PVC pipe…just cut 1”-2” slices of the pipe and then cut a slit in them so you can open them up.

11: Batten: Personally I use a 1” x 1/8” x 8’ strip of aluminum as a batten and I recommend you do too, especially if you are building the Chine log version. You can use a wider batten on the Stitch and Glue version but you only have 1/2" space for your batten and nails on each side when laying out the bottom panel with the Chine log version.

Following is the outline of the building instructions:

  • Step One Laying out the panels:
    • Option One: Stitch and Glue Construction for both versions:
    • Option Two: Chine Log Construction.
  • Step Two: The Stem Piece:
  • Step Three: Assembly:
    • Joining the panels for either version or method of construction:
    • Assembling the hull (both versions) Stitch and glue method:
    • Assembling the Hull Chine Log Method:
    • Bracing pieces:
    • Seating:
    • Finishing the interior:
    • Finishing the outside-Stitch and Glue method:
    • Finishing the outside-Chine Log method:
    • Painting:
    • Powering:

List of Pictures and Illustrations:

• Panel shapes (Motor)
• Panel shapes (row)
• Frame Detail
• Plank Seat Detail
• Boxed in motor area
• Stitch, Fillet and Tape detail
• Non-spaced gunnel detail
• Spaced gunnel detail
• Center mold
• Chine log detail
• Knee detail
• Spreader measurement and marking detail
• Breasthook example
• Transom half layout detail
• Transom bevel detail
• Short shaft detail
• Long shaft detail
• Transom framing for rowing version detail
• Stem detail
• Squaring the hull detail
• Layout picture one
• Layout picture two
• Batten
• Fiberglass butt picture one
• Squaring the hull detail
• Layout picture one
• Layout picture two
• Batten
• Fiberglass butt picture one
• Fiberglass butt picture two
• Fillet on inside
• Smoothed fillet
• Tape on inside
• Stitching one
• Stitching two
• Knee, Butt block and box seat picture
• Another knee picture
• Boxed in Motor area
• Non spaced gunnel
• Spaced gunnel (plywood plank edge covered)
• Spaced gunnel (solid planking edge left exposed)
• Outside seams dry taped and stapled into place
• Outside hull with fiberglass
• Skeg picture

If you like the looks of anything you see here, please feel free to download the free plans. Oh, and thank Steven while you are at it.

Click HERE to download free plans for Duckskiff