What To Look For Before Buying Wooden Boat

For a water lover, spending the day out in the ocean sounds like a dream come true. You get a chance to take in beautiful coastlines and share the wonderful experience with your loved ones. It gets even better if you are using your own boat.

However, very few boats in the market have the elegance of a wooden boat, which is becoming increasingly popular by the day. If you would like to purchase a wooden boat, here are few things that you may consider:


Wooden Boat ConstructionThis is the first thing you should consider before you buy the actual boat. You have to know where you will store your boat when not in use.

You can use a marina for storage, although it’s considered an expensive option. This comes in handy since you can easily access your boat from the dock. Moreover, there is shore power and water available for your boat while it’s docked.

If you cannot afford a marina, why not try out a swinging mooring? Reason being, it’s cheaper than a marina. A swinging mooring is a buoy, which is usually anchored to the ocean bed. You tie your boat to the mooring when it’s not in use. One of the major downsides to this is that it’s less convenient than a marina. This is because you’ll have to transport your boat to dry land using a dinghy.

Alternatively, you can opt to keep your wooden boat at home, in a trailer or a truck.

Is It New Or Used?

Did you know that most wooden boats in the market are second hand? The good news is, if you can afford it, it’s totally possible to order for a new boat.

Second hands boats may be already used, but they may give you a good price for the value. This is especially if you are lucky enough to come across one which has been well maintained and crafted of exotic hardwood.

For a new boat, opt for handcrafted ones if you want high durability and quality. Moreover, you get the chance to work with the builder, so that they can design a wooden boat with your specific needs in mind.

If you are good with your hands, why not build your own boat from scratch? Today, there are numerous designs made of plywood in the market.This trend has become increasingly popular especially with firms selling boat kits.

Are you buying alone or as a group?

Given that wooden boats are classics, they can be quite costly. Therefore, you may want to consider either purchasing one alone or as a syndicate. If you can purchase one individually without breaking your bank, then why not? Otherwise, get a few friends with the same goal and buy one that you can all use.

Terms Of Use

Before buying a wooden boat, you should know what it is you want to get out of the boat. Is your boat for day sailing or cruising on rivers? Do you prefer a sail or power boat?

River sailing is quite affordable and also convenient, especially if you are looking to buy a small boat. However, most people prefer sailing along the coastlines.

Another factor you might consider is the type of boat you like. If you want to experience nature, go for sail instead of motorboats, which are much more about speed, so much so that will not even get to take in the surroundings and breath in the air, because of the noise they produce, and diesel.


Wooden boats may be overly elegant and beautiful, but they require regular maintenance to preserve their condition. You can choose to take care of the maintenance all by yourself, which can be quite rewarding.

It’s a great choice if you are a DIY enthusiast, as you can take care of the painting, varnishing and replacing won out bits. Leave other technical tasks to a yard or a freelance built builder. However, you need to have ample time to attend to your boat and be patient as the maintenance takes time.

Another option is having the boat moved to a boatyard or shipwright during winter. Your wooden boat gets all the maintenance it needs, thus its ready for use during the next season.

Big Boat Build Testimonials


Barely audible whispers, mutterings and body movements were being exchanged by the three experienced shipwrights, brothers Liam and John Hegarty, and Fachtna O’Sullivan. Selecting suitable lengths of beautiful Irish oak from which to cut the individual scantlings and futtocks was a task not to be rushed. Fachtna disappeared repeatedly into the bowels of the old Ilen at this stage of the process, emerging each time clutching a handful of bevels and carefully marking each massive length of virgin timber prior to cutting it on the band saw

I had wondered would the presence of inexperienced men and women unnerve or annoy the shipwrights. As I tip-toed from frame to frame, at times swaying about unsteadily, there was no rebuke from the sure-footed shipwrights. Not at all, all three of them displayed admirable patience and good humour, pausing occasionally to listen to a story or to exchange good-humoured banter. Before I finished up on the Friday, I was convinced that not only did these shipwrights appreciate our assistance – however inexpert – they enjoyed too the colour and the banter and energy we brought with us.

Críostóir Mac Cárthaigh UCD National Folklore Collection   Download the full testimonial (PDF format)

AK Ilen is out west in Oldcourt
Rebuilding her frames was some sport
with chain-mould and fresh oak
and the very best folk
Some day soon she’ll sail far from Oldcourt

Bridin Cannon – Workshop Participant

The workshop takes very practical and hands-on in approach and you are encouraged to get stuck in to the work from the start. Watching Fachtna select the most suitable sections of oak, helping to shape them into new frames and refit them inside the hull of the Ilen was extremely rewarding, especially when you can see the results of your labour on the last day.

Michael Dunne, Limerick   Download the full testimonial (PDF format)

The whole process of taking a mould from the existing 80 year old frame, transcribing it to a huge oak plank and carving out the new frame initially by chainsaw was fascinating. Many hours were invested into each rough-hewn new frame to get the bevels bang on and hone each one to the precise, complex, three-dimensional, curved shape required. A little like Eve being created (allegedly) from Adam’s rib, bits of my DNA are forevermore part of the ILEN’s number one and number two frames.

Paul Murphy, Limerick   Download the full testimonial (PDF format)

What can I say about Big Boat Build ? Where do I start ?

I really didn’t know what to expect before I went down to Baltimore.The workshop was fantastic, the crew in the boatyard were great, we all gelled together as a team and despite the busy social life, we managed to complete our work !!! The workshop really is only suitable for crazy people like me who have ‘Wooden Boat Disease’. I will be down again to help out and will round up some more recruits. I will stay in touch.

Mike Ruane, Co. Wexford

“I really enjoyed my few days at Big Boat Build in Cork. The shipwrights were a great bunch of lads. It reminded me of my early days as an apprentice electrician in the 80s. The work was REAL and you could see what you had achieved every day. It was fascinating to see the work of people who had spent their life learning their craft and trade.

The local people were very homely and the banter in Mary Ann’s pub was gas and everyone was included. Its easy to fit in there.
We fell into a great singsong in Baltimore which went on into the early hours. A great night.
We ate in some of the local restaurants which had great food and good value too.

All in all, I can’t remember a better break away (especially in January). I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in boat building or timber construction methods.”

Eddie Cleary, Co. Tipperary

In 2009, through my efforts in campaigning for the salvage of ASGARD 2, I learned of this wonderful maritime adventure which was taking place in West Cork, in Hegarty’s Boatyard, on the banks of the Ilen river, where one of my father’s fishing boats had been built in the early 1960s. I was surprised to learn that for a small contribution towards the restoration costs I could actually work in the boatyard, see first-hand these revered and amazing skills and be involved in the re-build of AK ILEN.

‘tis rare indeed, in these materialistic and self-serving times, to meet kindred spirits enthusiastically giving of their precious time and money to preserve and restore our proud maritime heritage and pass something beautiful on to the next generation.

For 3 days I was lost in time, watching and helping Fachtna & Liam turn out intricate frames from the rough-sawn slabs of oak, learning the facts about Irish Oak from Anthony and getting a run-down of ILEN’S history from Gary.

Every lunch-time we were fed to the gills with the finest West Cork Food in the adjacent Oldcourt Inn and new friendships were forged on the tranquil banks of the Ilen river from which the ship received her proud name.

Captain J.G. Burns, MNI, Serving Master Marine   Download the full testimonial (PDF format)

The three days were very enjoyable. I found the Hegarty brothers to be very welcoming and friendly.
I worked with Fachtna for the three days and I was fascinated by his natural talent and ability. Watching him was like taking a trip back in time.
I enjoyed every moment spent at the yard and I am looking forward to returning again in early 2011 if workshops are still running.

Charles Hurley, Co. Cork

I really enjoyed my time on the Big Boat Build in Oldcourt. It was fascinating to see how the Ilen is being rebuilt. Watching a skilled craftsman like Fachtna at work was just amazing.

The whole team were very patient at showing us new skills. As well as the practical side we also learned of her history, thanks to Gary.

Lunch time was a treat at the Oldcourt Inn. The West cork hospitality is second to none. Special thanks to Mary Ann.

I would recommend this course to anyone with a love for old boats and can’t wait for the day when I see her sail again.

Maybe it would be a good idea to see her used as a training vessel whatever happens, I for one would hope to return.

Peter Collins, Co. Cork

Facthna and John explained everything as we went along – why some planks were more suitable than others, as regards quality of timber, and the job they would be doing in that part of the boat…

The last day dawned fine and dry and we were anxious to finish the task, we were now more competent so the work moved a bit faster still under the watchful eyes of Facthna and John. Everyone was allowed work away to their ability we were learning more all the time. I certainly enjoyed every minute of being involved in the actual building of the boat, and talking about boats and voyages to others who have the same interests. I will certainly be back at the next stage to learn more, if not just for the chowder in Oldcourt.

Dominic Falvey, Co. Cork

Simple Steps For Building A Wooden Boat With Plywood

Wooden boats are a thing if you love to enjoy nature by the sea. Imagine a time that you will be riding a boat, sailing with the people you love while listening to the chirping of the birds, the breeze of the air, and the calmness of the surface. That is why people would love to do and spend at most to create their own wooden boat.

build wooden boatHere are the simple steps on how do you build a wooden boat using plywood:

  • ·         Plan out your boat.  

Do not just create a boat just for fun. Make sure to have a definite plan when you are about to create your own boat. Planning out before starting the job is vital because it will make you not get lost during the process. It is also a very good guide for you when you will be starting.

  • ·         Make sure to have quality plywood.

Before you start, make sure that you have a high-quality plywood. Cheap plywood can work too, but it may only work for a short matter of time. High-quality plywood is worth the investment, as it will last longer and will provide service.

  • ·         Be sure to also have quality materials and tools.

Quality materials are perfect to be used with quality tools. Invest in the quality tools that you can find in the local market. These are very expensive, but it is surely worth the spend. With these quality tools that you will have, you may be using it by the next time you will be creating another wooden boat.

  • ·         Have a correct guide with dimensions.

You cannot just cut and slice different sizes of plywood just to make it look like a boat. To know where to put the different parts and sizes, where to cut the plywood, and what to cut, you need to have a correct guide with measurements and dimensions. Have yourself a physical guide from someone else. Or you may find different guides found in the large resource of the internet.

  • ·         Follow the guide properly and be cautious.

Be careful while doing all the different steps shown in the guide. To ensure that your boat will properly work, you must follow all the given steps correctly. You do not want to have your boat to have holes and broken parts.build wooden boat with plywood

  • ·         Have someone to help you during the process.

Don’t try to own everything as if you can do all the carrying and the cutting. It is very nice when you have someone with you creating the boat. Both of you will have the sort of achievement together.

Now you are done! Great job on finishing your own wooden boat made of plywood! Now you can enjoy using it, may it be used for fishing, adventure, or just a simple boating around the river. Make sure to help others too when they need to create their own wooden boats.

How To Have Fun On A Boat Cruise


Going on a cruise could be the most fun you’ve ever had, or it may bore you out of your mind. As an individual, you’ll either be anticipating or dreading your time on a cruise ship. This article will tell you how to make the most of your time on a cruise ship.

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  1. Explore The Ship

Fun On Boat CruiseCruise ships are usually huge, so you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the location of places such as the deck and the dining room.

Take a walk around the ship and identify its uniqueness.

  1. Play Games Like Ding Dong And Knock Knock Run

Go to a floor with bedrooms on it with all of your friends. Have 2 or 3 people hold the elevator doors open.

The rest of the people all go kick or knock on someone’s door. After you knock on the door, run for your life, because the person who was just asleep is wide awake now and is about to open up their door! The object of the game is not to get caught by the person in their room.

  1. Party In The Cruise Ship Club

Partying will at all times make your stay on a cruise ship more enjoyable. Request catchy club songs and Just Dance. Make sure that your friends know where you are, so they won’t bother you for the night as you interact with others. Drink responsibly and avoid fights in the club.

  1. Visit The Teen’s Area

Most ships nowadays have a spot where teens hang out and socialize.  So for teenagers, it’s important to find this spot so you can make friends and mix with other teens. Look for a group/individual who looks friendly, and approach them with a casual introduction. A great conversation starter is talking about where you’re from since cruise ship passengers generally come from different places.

Go to the teen area as soon as it opens and stay for a pretty sizable portion of the time. It may be awkward at first, but later on, in the night you will begin to meet the other teens and form your groups of friends. Remember, generally, no one knows anyone here, so everyone is feeling how you are. Don’t be scared to start talking to people! You only have one week, make the most of it!

There are so many ways you can have fun on a cruise boat besides the above-stated ways. Seek for other ways such as playing cards and make your adventure memorable.

5 Essential Elements of Boat Building Plans

In every building, having a plan is very essential. The same thing implies to boat building as well. It is evident that any building without a plan will not achieve success.

A well-detailed boat building plan is needed for a successful project completion. However, there are some important things to consider before acquiring or working with a boat building plan, and they are as follows:  Iportance of Boat Building Plans

  • designer’s experience
  • cost of plans
  • quality of the plans
  • appropriate skill level
  • appropriate plans

1. Designer’s Experience:

As we know that a good boat building plan contains great details and information, so it will be wise to research for varieties of boat designer online.

You also need to investigate and look keenly at their feedback and customer review. Noteworthy, the quality of the boat building plan can be directly in line with the experience of the designer.

Find out if the designer is an all-rounder or a designer that specializes in a particular style of boat construction. Going for a boat plan by a specialist is better than that of an all-rounder.


2. Cost of Plans:

The cost of acquiring a boat construction plan varies, depending on the designer. It could cost few hundreds of dollars or even thousands for a set.

The internet has made it cheaper to get a good plan as you can go online and source for a good one. If you do a diligent research, am sure will find some high-quality ones for less than one-quarter price of others.


3. Quality of the Plans:

The quality and outcome of a finished boat building project depend on the quality of the plan.

Constructing a boat is not theoretical, but you need full confidence that d boat plan has been used and well-tested many times and is of high quality and long-lasting benefit.

A designer that has lots of experience would have tested his plans several times and also updating it in case any loopholes is detected in the cause of the testing.


4. Appropriate Skill Level:

Skill level is also one of the crucial things in boat building as it boils down to common sense to choose the plan that you would understand better in line with your skill level.

Although we do like to challenge ourselves, but it will be better to try out small boat rather than trying to build a yacht instead.

Furthermore, either you are a profession or a beginner, its advised that you go for a boat construction plan that can easily be understood and follow.

Such plans should provide you with a step by step guild so you can build with ease and also make efficient use of time.

You won’t want to lay your hands on a plan that is confusing, not well-detailed or written in a language you do not understand.

If this occurs, it could make you frustrated and turn out to be a total waste of time and money. Sure you don’t want that to happen.


5. Appropriate Plans:

Just as getting a plan for your skill level is crucial, so also the purpose of building the boat is essential. You need to decide on the kind of both you aim to develop and the reason. Some of this question needs to be answered before venturing into it:

For what purpose is the boat?
Who is it for, you alone, with family or with friends?
What size is it going to be for and what number of people can it accommodate?
Do you intend to make it a living place for yourself alone or with family?
What kind of material can you afford for the construction?
Is it for fishing(day/night) because that will require a different plan?

The type of materials you have access to is also important because if you plan for a steel boat and the elements lasted up to 2 weeks to source for materials; this could discourage you and lower your enthusiasm.

There are varieties of boat construction materials that one can utilize. They include fiberglass, aluminum, plywood, and steel. Wooden and plywood boat construction is more comfortable for beginners to start.

Choose an experience designer with quality plans in line with your skill level.

This entry was posted in Blog.

Is Aluminum Boat Building Plan The Right Choice For You?

If you intend to build a boat that will last and stand the test of time, then aluminum could be the best choice for you. It’s is a form of metal that many boat builders consider the best material for constructing their boat.

Aluminum will make an excellent material for building either big or small boat, depending on your size choice because of it longer lasting features.Boat Building Guild

For the fact that its a lightweight metal makes it suitable for boat building and also easier to work with for any construction.

Furthermore, it is a durable material and also last longer than another kind of metal materials.

Maintaining it is not a difficult task compare to other kinds of metals or wood. It doesn’t need anti-rust or corrosion as it doesn’t rust at all like iron metals.

Aluminum can also be cost effective as it doesn’t need painting. One important thing you need when building aluminum-boat is a fundamental welding skill in addition to your woodworking skills. The beauty of the finished boat depends significantly on how well the welding is done.

In case you don’t have aluminum welding skill, you can consider using other materials like wood or fiberglass in your boat building quest.

One of the wearisome responsibility of making aluminum boat from the beginning is the challenge of bending the sheet to various shapes and size that is needed to form every part of the boat.

Hence, you can go for pre-cut aluminum materials for building your boat if cutting and bending is too much a task for you.

Just ensure that all the measurements and dimensions are accurate because any mistake could be a very costly one.

Also put the alloy, type and size of aluminum you going to be using for your boat building plan into consideration. This information is specified in the aluminum boat building plans. You can always go for an alternative if the specified ones are not available.

I can categorically tell you that, a good aluminum boat building plans is essential to accomplishing such project. The idea will play a huge role in the success of your boat building project.

Make sure you are using a boat building plan that is well detailed and also has easy to understand instructions.

Finally, you would also need to consider your boat building skill level to choose the right and more comfortable plan for you.


For the past year people from Ireland and beyond have been making their way to the impossibly picturesque workshop location of Oldcourt on the Ilen River. They come from all walks of life, but share a common desire to learn new skills and to find a new way of sustainable living while discovering a timeless craft with some of Ireland’s few remaining traditional wooden shipwrights.Workshops Boat

At weeks end participants have made new friends, learn new ways of doing things and ultimately depart with an inspiration and revitalization that can only be discovered from working on a boat like the Ilen in a place like Oldcourt.

Big Boat Build workshops offer an enjoyable and unique initiation into the wonderful craft of West Cork wooden boat building. Prior wood working experience is not required – workshops are open to everyone they are simply all about learning.Working On Site

Our workshop leader is the noted boat builder Liam Hegarty. Liam welcomes anyone interested in wooden boats to join him in his charming grain store where in his Oldcourt way he reveals the mysterious skills and techniques of the West Cork style of wooden boat building.

To get confirmation of the next workshop dates or to book your place click here.

If you have any questions please call us on 086 2640479.

This entry was posted in Blog.