Documenting the Building of a Wooden 48′ DIESEL DUCK

Vickie & Harry Borchert were kind enough to send along these photos showing the 48′ DIESEL DUCK they’re building. It’s obvious that these folks are good carpenters. However, what also is obvious is how really straight forward this type of construction is. Don’t get me wrong; it’s heavy work. But it isn’t complicated. As I’ve likely said to many times before, if you’re interested in this stuff read my Buehler’s Backyard Boatbuilding. It describes the process step by step.

The keel is laminated up from normal “2-by” stock into 12″ timbers, which are then glued and bolted together. Note the steel building cradle! This will make moving the hull out of the shop easy. However, a cradle built of timbers will work well too and is advantageous because you can nail supports to it. However, see if there’s a decent boat moving company in your area. The new type “pickle-fork” hydraulic trailers don’t need or even want the boat on a cradle, and can pick up a boat that is only 6″ off the ground.
After the keel is erected, forefoot is attached, then the stem and transom. Note the slick “I-beam” with the chain-fall! Pretty handy but most of us don’t have such gear. A simple “A-frame made from two 2-6s clamped together and a “come-along” works easily too.
Deck beams being laminated on the mold. If you make one every other day while assembling the frames, you’ll have them all done when you’re ready to attach them to the boat.
Frame assembly table. The frames are built up from 3-by, with plywood gussets on each side at the chine. The “X” braces hold them in shape until they’re bolted onto the ship’s floor timbers.
The entire frame (NOT ribs!) is now standing. Now she’s looking like a boat!
The transom is being planked. By the way, these folks have a very nice shop which in the mid-west, where they are, is handy. But a “visqueen” tent works too!
The hull planking is going on. I’ve always started at the sheer and worked down for some reason. Looking at this, I think starting at the chine and working up makes sense because you can easily scribe the top plank to match the sheer rather then edge-setting into position as I’ve always done.

2/09: Here’s a note I got from Vickie Jan. 2009! “We want you to know how much we love the Vicki Lynn. We lived on her from April to November the last two seasons and we hate every minute of winter that keeps her on the hard. We enjoyed Lake Michigan last summer and planned on heading south in the fall, but once again a health problem got in the way We hope to leave Michigan this spring.

Everywhere we go, people love the Diesel Duck. We have met all kinds of folks who just come up and ask to see her. She is the boat of our dreams and we are always thankful for your wonderful design and the Backyard Boat Building book that got us started.” Shucks……. Since the financial rewards of this bidness ain’t the greatest, I’m glad I discovered many years ago that it’s the PEOPLE I get to meet through my designs that make it worth doing. That doesn’t pay the bills but believe it or not, is actually more valuable. Once the wolves at the door are fed of course….

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Skip ahead To LAUNCH and finishing up!