Meet Appie. Hi Appie… (Pronounced sort of like “uppy”) Appie is the result of my little brother saying “lets build a boat”, and I'd secretly been saving up plywood for just that purpose :-) Not a lot of ply though, so Appie is a very small boat.

Appie was built in about a week, working pretty chill and relaxed. The ply used was mostly scraps I'd scrounged from here and there, and all the framing lumber came from pallets. The bottom is 4mm ply, and the sides and bow and stern are 7mm ply. All the work was done using only hand tools (I don't recommend ripping a 2m long plank in half by handsaw). We used gorilla glue throughout, and finally painted with leftovers from painting the house.

Building Pics

First launch, pool and lake.

Improvements and repairs

Includes making a sail, making oars and oarlocks and repairing the side. One side opened up where the bottom attaches to the chine. I used construction glue to close it up as much as possible and then painted a strip of canvas from an old bed sheet on. It's held so far on various outings.


The first three of these images were taken on the Waikato river, in a calmish spot next to some rapids. The boat is tied on using a long rope, because less than a kilometer downstream are the Huka Falls, which I think are a bit too much for this boat. And me. The rest was taken on lake Taupo.



No plans were drawn before building Appie. After some initial calculations a model was made in FreeShip to fine-tune the dimensions of Appie. Appie was then built without reference to this model, really, from whatever dimensions I could remember. I've measured up Appie and put a “plan” up here. It's the finished measurements, not the dimensions of the parts to cut out. All the solid wood used in Appie came from a single pallet, and the sizes used are in no way optimal or logical. For example the gunwales would have been better if they were a bit less high, but wider.

If you want to build something like Appie, I must warn you that the bottom profile is not good from a building point of view. The large flat area in the middle, with a sharp curve at each end is good for longitudinal stability, and is needed to get the required load carrying capacity. Unfortunately, good quality plywood any thicker that 3 mm will most likely not take the bend. If I were to draw up an actual plan for a one sheet boat, I would probably make the sides deeper, and the bottom profile part of a circle. This would make it much easier to build and allow using thicker plywood for the bottom.

So, a disclaimer then. I present this drawing not with the intention of having someone else build to this design. If you do build one, it may explode, sink, burn, break, and possibly all these things at once. I will not be responsible for whatever happens. I present this design purely as an inspiration, to be used by those individuals with good judgement. (But not judgemental I hope.)

plan drawing