View Full Version : How many hours does it take to build a boat?

08-07-2007, 01:08 PM
I've been looking at the plans for this boat.

Outboard Dory 16 - Study Plans (

It says,

"An inexperienced builder with only a few hand tools can build this hull in less than 80 hours."

Is this really true or just marketing mumbo jumbo?

If I took a week off from my day job and put 10 hours a day for 6 days in a row do you think after 60 hours I would be more than half-way done with this project? I am a inexperienced, first time builder but think this would be fun project. Do you think I should take a boat building class first before taking on a project like this?


Tom Powers
08-07-2007, 08:32 PM
The key question is building or building and putting a finish on it. I find that I spend about the same amount of time putting 3 to 5 coats of varnish on the bright work and 3 to 4 coats of paint on the hull as I do building a boat. 80 hours probably is right if you have a feel for cutting things that are not square and using a plane. I say this because nothing on a boat is square and in the end every thing needs to be fitted.

For the building part often times size does not matter (i.e. for things less than 16 feet long). For instance I spent most of this weekend mounting 12 little pieces of wood that I cut during the week and bending (i.e. forming) up and mounting 4 pieces of copper for the bow and stern of two kayaks. I promise that it was at least 12 to 14 hours worth of work total.

The key is to not count the hours. Consider it a hobby and it is done when it is done. If you were to start a boat like that in Oct. I would not plan on it being done until March or April. Then your wife will be happier and you will enjoy the effort.

Oh and one more thing. . . How long does it take epoxy to dry, etc. Quite frequently you work on it for 2 or 3 hours then have to way 12 to 24 hours before you can move on to the next step. One of the trick that I have found is to know when to use fast setting epoxy and when to use the slow stuff. Even the fast stuff takes 6 to 8 hours before you can sand it well.


08-10-2007, 02:58 PM
I would not say 80 hrs. For an good builder 80 but if you are just starting out double it.

My boat has taken me well over 300.

08-11-2007, 10:38 AM
Thanks for the feedback. I have briefly browsed some of the other boat building forums and everyone always seems to say they have been working on their boats for 6 months to a year and still not complete. So I did think the 80 hours was misleading but just wanted some more input. However, some of the boats on - boat plans on line since 1993 ( do say they offer pre-cut package kits. But every time I click on one of the pre-cut package links to see the price, they say "out of stock". So maybe if you start with a pre-cut package kit then maybe it's possible to complete in 80hours.:scratchchin3:

The Apprentice for a Day program looks like a good way to get exposed to boat building. I may have to make a trip over there and take the class so I get a better idea what is involved before deciding to take on a project myself.

08-11-2007, 11:31 AM
rrr - The writeup on that Dory is really misleading, isn't it? They shouldn't make some of those statements just to make a buck. "No woodworking skills needed." I feel bad for people that read that stuff and get started, only to find out there more to it. Not that it's hard but that site makes it sound like you are assembling a shelving unit. Jim

I couldn't agree more. If the directions say no wood working skills needed in plans to build a boat made from wood I don't care who you are your going need to know a little something it.

08-11-2007, 11:34 AM
There are some good looking boats on that site but to build a 28' from nothing? It would be a god awful amount of work.

08-11-2007, 06:19 PM

I was workin on my steering today. My dad is in Ct taking the bridge off his new boat which will be here monday. Can't wait to put some pictures on here! Anyway it is very confusing and it took my and one of my buddies about 1 1/2 just to get mounted up. It should be rockin n rollin by wensday or thurs.:D

08-11-2007, 06:37 PM
haha I wish.

done workin
08-14-2007, 03:05 PM
The 80 hours quote is just to have the hull finished. This means wood cut, spliced together and the seams and bottom probably glassed and that's about it. Maybe paint before flipping. The decks, consoles, topside paint, wiring will require more than that.

Below is a quote from one of their VERY straightforward boats, the 18' garvey which is their version of the Carolina Skiff or jon Boat, note the claim between hull completion and finished boat.

The hull can be build in 25 hours but a finished boat will require 60 hours or more depending on the level of detail and the skills of the builder.

Complete boat at 2 1/2 times that of just building the hull, so a hull at 80 hours really equates to about 200 hours for the complete boat=5 weeks full time, probably about right for a 16' boat.

Bateau's building method is based on stich and glue. The plywood is cut with a circular saw or jig saw in some cases. then the wood drilled and either taped together or tied toegther with wire ties. Then the seams fiberglass taped and the bottom covered with glass and the sanding done. At that point the hull is built, as they claim.