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By Phillip McCracken - Rotorua - New Zealand


A while ago I had a member from my boat design group One sheet Wonders at Yahoo message me that he had tried to build several designs and they had all ended in failure. So lets take the head ache away by eliminating - side flair bevels and have vertical sides like a Bolger`s June Bug, take away framing bevels, take away the amount of plywood parts to be cut, take away stitch and glue problems and get back to basics with good ol glue and nails. Let’s go for the round nose bow idea?


Round bow, - punt/kayak design. – THE U.F.O

She carrys 110 kgs and is stable on protected waters. She is best suited for quite slow rivers and swamps/ ponds and lake shorelines.

For the least cost and building time it’s a good solution for the first time builder to get the confidence under their belt and move towards another boat building challenge. U.F.O CAN BE BUILT AS 10/12/14 FT VERSION BY EXTENDING LENGTH OF THE ORGINAL PLAN.

So if simplicity and speedy building of a small portable fun water craft to get you fishing and boating is your goal, then the round nose bow of the U.F.O Punt offers a 3 piece less material as easy as it gets 2 hour build. It may take longer for the first time builder depending on skill level, but I’m confident that almost anyone can build one of these little crafts. I knocked the U.F.O up using Polythene glue and stainless screw and nail in about 2 hours (unpainted) then used a 2 hr sealer primmer latex house paint system to finish.

Important note's on the build

Using a half sheet of 12mm for 2 sides at 12 in each, then using half sheet 6mm for the bottom 24 in, is a way of not stitch and gluing the original one sheet design, so it could be argued that it isn’t a one sheeter technically.

When screwing, space the nail and screws alternatively, pre-drill the pilot holes and be careful not to split the sides by spacing fasteners every 4 inch staggered, not in a straight line, and let the glue do its work to hold it all together. Trust your glue - polythene glue for this small boat is more than strong enough to hold her together. Bottom skids on the Jon boat below are 2 x 1 inch – 3 of them.

When bending the bottom, use a jug of hot water to pour on the 6mm plywood to get the desired curve. Some pine and softer plywood’s will need very little in the way of assistance to bend. Some hardwood ply will crack if not bent slowly and patiently with wetting out the panel and fastening curve alternatively from side to side until it needs to be attached to bow/transom spreader. Failure to read this will more than likely end up sending you to the lumber yard for more plywood!

Round bow – dinghy Jon boat design

The same round nose bow concept can be applied to a range of Jon-boats similar to a Bolger Tortoise and Skimmer. The rounded bow vertical side concept is in my opinion easier than having to fill and cut joins like that of the Bolger square punts. They make Ideal fishing and hunting stable boats for the family on protected waters. I’ve been busy making the Dragonfly Jon-boat N.Z range for a while and have tested and found them to be stable and fun to build and use with electric motors on protected waters. The concept came from my original U.F.O plan from the One Sheet Wonders Yahoo Group and some old books on Jonboats.

Kayak design – 1 and a half sheet as simple as it gets

If Kayaking is your thing, here is a one and a half sheet design that is basically an extension of a one sheet wonder design called the Bojak/Boyak. Its a little harder to build because of the chine logs, but it could be built with exterior chine logs and no deck covers if need be.

10 ft 9 in, long – 10 inch / plus 2 inch gunnels sides – 28 inch beam, spread to 34 inch at top of gunnels.

I believe the U.F.O – THE UNIDENTIFIED FLOATING OBJECT – Round bow dinghy Jon Boat`s are the easiest and fastest way of building a row/sail/paddle dinghy for the amateur. If you want more info on these designs/ free plans/ go to One sheet Wonders Yahoo group, or my own boat works site Ariawood wooden boats.

Here is the link to the discussion group that Phil runs:


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