Wooden Boats Information Guide & Types


Wooden boats have been a means of transport that dates back thousands of years.

Wooden Boats History

The first materials ever used in boat building was a hollowed-out tree trunk in the shape of a canoe. In the early days, there was a massive surplus of trees in many undiscovered lands. More and more boats were built as more land was discovered. Thus this is what happened within Vikings communities.

I am a qualified woodworker, trade qualified with extensive experience building vanities, kitchens and furniture. I can tell you from first-hand experience working with wood is an enjoyable and measurable experience. You start with a pile of wood. You then spend a large of amount of time and turn into something special and magical.

Wooden Boats Still Used Today

For thousands of years, people throughout Europe have relied on Wooden boats for all types of fishing and travel. In particular, Malta has the oldest buildings in the world. As a result fishing off the Maltese coast has been occurring for more than 3000 years all with wooden boats. Marinas in and around Malta and Gozo are littered with Wooden Maltese fishing boats which are called A luzzu and still used for commercial fishing. Small inboard diesel engines power a Luzzu. On most Luzzu’s you will find a set of eyes at the bow of the boat. The eyes are a reference to the Eye of Horus and are said to protect the fisherman.

maltese boat luzzijiet

Timber Species & Materials used in Boat Building

Equally, there are a number of timbers that have been used for building wooden boats.

These include:

  • Cedar.
  • Cypress.
  • Elm.
  • Mahogany.
  • Oak.
  • Pine.
  • Teak

Australian Timbers that can be used in Boat Building Include:

  • Jarrah.
  • Tasmanian Black.
  • Tasmanian Oak.
  • Mountain Ash.

Today along with other timbers one man-made product that is used in wooden boat building is marine ply. This material can be used to form the sides of a wooden boat. While other hardwood timbers such as Mountain Ash. Teak, Oak or Mahagony can be used for the frame. If you decide to use a technique that includes using marine play then once you have finished building your wooden boat you will need to apply a few layers of fibreglass over the plywood so you can waterproof the exterior. Proceed to do to the same for the interior so this way no part of the ply or wood can get wet by any water.

Types of Wooden Boats

Namely, there are a few different vessels made with wood. This includes:

  • Canoes.
  • Row Boats.
  • Runabouts.

wooden boats for cruising

Why Use Wood in Boat Building?

There are several advantages for using wood in boat building.

The weight in wood is generally lighter than a fibreglass boat that has a wooden stern and floor. This means that a fuel-efficient low horsepower outboard can power these types of vessels with a saving on fuel. Working with wood is also easy and the tools you need today can be bought cheaply from your local hardware store.

Building a wooden boat is a great project if boat building interests you and you are in need for a boat. Sheets of marine-grade plywood are cheap enough to buy and this type of build helps you structure the hull how you like it very easily. If you decide to build a boat make sure you waterproof your boat by applying a couple of layers of fibreglass to the exterior and do the same to the interior. Then finish off with a good quality paint for the exterior and interior. This way the surface of the wood or ply is completely covered in fibreglass.

If you want to build a boat showing off the timber with clear lacquer you will need to plank your boat with a light strong wood. Issues with these types of boat is that the boat makes leak due to the timbers overlapping each other. Just remember wet timber expands and caulking would need to be done otherwise your boat will leak in water.

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