Building Fuselage Frame Boats

: Building Fuselage Frame Boats
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Tired of struggling with that heavy plastic kayak? Are you looking for a lightweight boat but not willing to take out a second mortgage to buy it? What if I told you that you could build a boat weighting less than 35 lbs for $300 to $500?

In my book will walk you through the process of building your own skin on frame canoe or kayak. I start by addressing the space needed to build a boat and the few tool that are needed. Then I go into detail on laying out the frames from a table of offsets. I show you how to assemble the frame by lashing the members together rather than using epoxy, all about skinning the boat and the rest of the steps up to launching.

Included in the book are offsets for three of my boat designs. The StoneFly canoe which was designed as single person boat with fishing in mind. Curlew, a 15' Sea Kayak aimed at the average paddler. A new design, Poco Barta, a 17' foot sea kayak with a bit more performance potential for the stronger paddler.

All copies bought from our store are autographed by the author.

ISBN-10: 0615495567
ISBN-13: 978-0615495569

Reviewed by Max W, 06/24/2020

Of the 7-8 books on homebuilt paddle boats I’ve read, Horton’s is the easiest to understand.  He assumes the reader knows how to build in general (and before you begin on something that separates you from death you should), and doesn’t clutter the text down w details.  He does however, warn against many pitfalls which may occur along the way.
Horton’s background is in engineering, and it shows.  The designs are spare and modern.  The plans are simple, the instructions clear. It’s a step by step erector set explained at least as well as any lego kit.  The back of the book quotes a teacher as saying Horton doesn’t have much talent at writing, well, Horton has by this point gained enough skill to overcome the deficit.
If you want to design your own boat, I’d steer you towards Robert Morris’ Building Skin on Frame Boats. Morris leans towards ancient ways and directs the builder to making a boat w scrounged materials around their own body w no specific dimensions at all.  If you don’t know much about shop I’d steer you towards Hilary Russel’s Building Skin on Frame Double Paddle Canoes.  Russel's background is teaching High School shop classes, and directs the reader to ‘do this right here.'  An individual could end with a beautiful canoe even if they did not know what the project was intended to be.  Horton’s background is teaching others to understand instructions on a deadline.  With Horton’s you can read fast, see the process in your head, and jump right into making one of his many included boats.
I say get them all.  If you’re gonna spend a few hundred on materials, using a couple thousand dollars worth of tools: buy four to five $20 books.  The wisest man on earth, Solomon, said "plans succeed with many councelors.”  Even if you only get one good tip from a book, it might be the one that keeps you from death by drowning.

Reviewed by John H, 09/09/2019

Jeff has a way of explaining the lofting process in such a fashion that it is easily understandable. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in building skin craft, no matter what type.

Reviewed by Michael , 07/23/2017

This book is exactly what I needed to start my first Kayak. I'm building the Curlew from the plans in the book.  The plans are easy to follow, but more importantly, Jeff has done a great job explaining how to avoid common pratfalls during the construction process. Building my boat from the plans in this book has been a fun and rewarding experience!

Reviewed by gus , 11/15/2016

this book is great! very clearly written and easy to understand. i would definitely recommend it.

Reviewed by Jarrod , 01/13/2016

Wonderful book, very descriptive and makes me look forward to getting my boat in the water this spring.

Reviewed by TC , 12/07/2015

I used the Poca Barta intructions to build my first skin boat. Easy to follow with great tips especially on the coaming