How They’re Made

Each boat hull starts as a collection of bass craft wood ranging from 3/8 inch down to 1/16 inch thick. Each piece is cut from a template and may be beveled or notched to allow other pieces to fit properly.

Key pieces necessary for structural support are dry fit to check for accuracy and then glued in place using cyan acrylic glue (the common super strong glue sold under a few brand names your probably familiar with).

If we were building a real boat, a form would first be made and the structural skeleton pieces such as the transom (rear), bow stem (front), spine (keel) and ribs of the boat would be very precisely placed and fixed in place.

Once the structural pieces are set, each individual plank is added starting with the one on the bottom and glued in place – often with the help of clamps. Depending on our mood we might do all the planks on one side then move to the other side, or we might move simultaneously up both sides.

Depending on a number of factors like humidity, and moisture content of the wood it is sometimes necessary to steam or soak the planks to make them pliable.

In real boat building this method is referred to as lap strake construction and a skilled builder would use little or no glue. Instead the exact fit of the strakes and the expansion of the wood from moisture would hold the pieces in place and make the boat watertight.

Excess wood is trimmed from the planks before very thin strips are bent to fit the interior of the hull to represent the ribs. Additional strips are added to the top edges inside and out to represent the gunnels (or “gun wales”). Again the excess wood is trimmed off. At this point benches are added. From here the fate of each boat depends on its intended final look.

Most are sprayed with a light stain which is allowed to dry before the exterior is hand painted with white glossy paint followed by detailing of the gunnels with black paint. When completely dry, a rope, bucket and oars are added. Town names and personalization are added to sides and rear of each boat before they are sealed and finished with several coats of polyurethane and then boxed for sale.

Some boats get more individual attention so we can more accurately duplicate a specific boat. The differences may be interior color, oar coloring, font styles, graphics and logos, placement of oar locks, structural details, gunnels’ colors and other differences. These can also be personalized to some extent. We refer to the boats as Special Editions.

The methods we employ to build the boats are sometimes unconventional. Some boat building hobbyists who are purists would probably be horrified by some of our methods but we have found they work best for the materials, designs and skills we have. This is not intended to be advice on how to build a boat model yourself. It is merely an explanation to satisfy the curiosity of those who may be wondering how we do it. If you are building a model boat yourself, please follow the plans, instructions and safety guidelines provided by the manufacturer.