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Building a 2 man pirogue

Old 11-07-2009, 04:14 AM
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Default Building a 2 man pirogue

A pirogue: it is a 1 or 2 man boat used for duck hunting/fishing in the back waters/marshes of Louisiana. First ones were made by dug outs to which as other ways were made when other woods came along to the point plywood was used.

Both my son and son-n-law wanted to learn how it is done. So,not only will I teach them,but I will pass this along thru out the world here on THT.

This boat will be built out of fir thru out.

A list of things needed:

2 sheets of A/C fir ext 1/4" plywood
2 1"x4"x16' fir #1 grade
1 1"x6"x8' fir or pine #1 grade
1 2"x4"x8' spruce,pine or what ever you have
1lb of ring shank nails
1 qt of wellwood 2 part glue which comes in a 2 qt package
1 piece of fir or pine 3/4" plywood ext that is about 2'x4'
Tools:
tablesaw or circlesaw or both
wood clamps
woodplane
jigsaw
hammer
handsaw

I will be back in a few to finish this list out.

I'm back,had a brother came over that is from out of town.


Fisrt off,the lay out.

Lay both sheets of plywood out.
Then set up one end of the bow. It will be 14"(angle line) off set by 7" using a square.


Next,from the tip,measure 14' to set up the other bow using a square.



From there,use one of the 1"x4"x16',draw a line at the bottom of each bowstem which should be close to 13'


Next rip both 1"x4"'s in half at a 20 drg angle center.


From there,back to the plywood,from the short end(of plywood) measure 64" which should be at the joint. No big deal if its an inch off or so. At that point were you marked that bottom line that is 13',measure up 3" towards the outter edge. Once you have that done,take one of the 1"x2" 's,stand it on the end and lay it across from the bottom of each bowstem. Now this is the trick to get the arch which takes 2 people or blocks of wood and nails. Bend the 1"x2" towards the outter edge of the plywood,keeping the 1"x2" at both bowstems and bending it to that 3" mark at the 64" mark,then make the plywood. You should have an arch like thisfrom one end to the other.


Once you have that,cut each side out. Then flip it over to the other side and trace it out.



Cut the other side out in your left over center pieces of plywood should look like this.


Now,the bowstems which are made out of 2"x4" spruce which is easy to work with. Other woods will work.Cut 2 pieces that are 16"-18" long. Each end cut them at about a 30 drg angle."This doesn't have to be exact becouse you will be cutting them again in the future". Then, with them standing on the 2" side,I had past them thru a tablesaw,cutting them at a 17.5 drg angle and they should look like this.




At this point I will be joining the plywood together,but ran out of time yesterday and will not be able to get back on it till tuesday due to work.

Any questions,I will be more then happy to answer. I will be working nights this weekend.

Last edited by prockvoan; 11-07-2009 at 06:02 AM. Reason: n/a
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Old 11-07-2009, 08:19 AM
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VERY interesting....i will be following this thread for sure....thanks Stephen
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Old 11-07-2009, 10:06 AM
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Did a little bit more early before I go crash out.

Joining the sides pieces,I had cut up some 3/4" plywood that is 6" wide. They will be 6"x8 1/8" long. Placing them were they are centered over the joint,flush at the top,which will leave about 1 3/8" not covered up with the 3/4" plywood. Note* Mark that area. You will be applying glue in that area.


Clamp in and nail it with the ring shank nails. You will go all the way thru,but once the glue is set,I will be cutting them off flush.


Next,glueing bowstems on both ends of only one side.


Let the glue set. The glue I'm using takes 3-4 hours to set if temps are below 80F.

It will be tuesday before I will try to finish the build.
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Old 11-08-2009, 10:31 AM
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Good idea to post your build. My dad used to build them for folks when I was a kid. I still have one, thirty years old and going strong. Been a ton of bream, perch, crappie, and catfish go through that boat
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ParatusMS View Post
Good idea to post your build. My dad used to build them for folks when I was a kid. I still have one, thirty years old and going strong. Been a ton of bream, perch, crappie, and catfish go through that boat

For some reason,I caught more fish out of a pirogue then any other boat I had own. LOL


I been doing some research on the net for plans for building pirogues. Dam, most look like coffins and call them cajun pirogues. Dam shame,I would say. Most look like pure crap to me! Fiberglass over wood in a pirogue? NEVER!

The one I am building is a 2 man that is a bit asymmetrical in shape. The reason is when having 2 people on board,one wants the bow riding a bit high so you would be able to jump logs. Also there will be a very nice flair to the sides which will also put some arch to the bottom. With the arch in the bottom,if you get into a mud flat,that arch will help you from not getting stuck. A flat bottom creates a suction in mud.

Another thing is that when I build mine,I do keep the bottom less then 26",but I could go as wide 29". With the flair I put into the sides,that helps displacing water. Also with a wide bottom,I found them harder to paddle in hard winds. Now if it is someones first pirogue,I will build them at 26",but for me,I like 24" bottom,then again,I been using them for over 40 years.

Now,if Ida blows by tuesday and doesn't dump a sh-t load of rain,I should be able to finish up this first one of 3 that I'm building.
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:39 PM
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Ours are typically around twenty six wide at the bottom. Like yours, the sides are flared a little...adds a little stability when tipping...and the sides are eleven inches high measured on the inside. Pointy on both ends, eleven feet long. No glass, just seal and paint. The front has a bow plate or 'decked over' back about twenty inches for rigidity. The back end has a triangle shaped "trolling motor" bracket built onto it...foot controlled steering and rheostat speed control...not always used though, depending on where you're going/what you're doing. We also put fish boxes just ahead of center "between your legs" as you're sitting in a cut off chair...holes in the bottom to allow water to come into the box. The bottom is raked so that the very tip is out of the water when you're sitting in it....like you say, to be able to run it up on a log and over.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ParatusMS View Post
Ours are typically around twenty six wide at the bottom. Like yours, the sides are flared a little...adds a little stability when tipping...and the sides are eleven inches high measured on the inside. Pointy on both ends, eleven feet long. No glass, just seal and paint. The front has a bow plate or 'decked over' back about twenty inches for rigidity. The back end has a triangle shaped "trolling motor" bracket built onto it...foot controlled steering and rheostat speed control...not always used though, depending on where you're going/what you're doing. We also put fish boxes just ahead of center "between your legs" as you're sitting in a cut off chair...holes in the bottom to allow water to come into the box. The bottom is raked so that the very tip is out of the water when you're sitting in it....like you say, to be able to run it up on a log and over.

If you get a chance,post a few pictures of yours.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:17 PM
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OK guys,I did get some work done today. Please don't mine how I write. I had put in 36 hours at night in the last 3 days and it is taking its toll.Besides that,after I quite,I been downing some rum & coke.LOL Got one hell of a buzz now.

OK,now back to building a pirogue.

Last pictures show that I had join the sides and bow stems.


Well,it was time to join the other side. Keep in mine,keep every thing the same from the other side. This is a must. When I join the first bow stem,I did back off the point around 1/2". There is a reason for that. It will come in time.

Apply your glue to one bowstem and spreed the other side outward a good 10'. On the side that is about to be nail,set a nail at the top and bottom before you are ready to nail them in place. Bring the two pieces together and make sure they are even. That is a must,as close as you can.


Once you have that,its time to do the other side. You will need a piece of scrap lumber. Anything that is 1"x2" will work. Have a piece that is 3' long and put it at the bottom were you join the 2 sides. Then bring the other bowstem and side together,nail. As before,they must be level together from side to side. You should have something like this.


Once you have that done,its time to flip it over and time to install the battens on the bottom. Those 1"x4"x16' that you had cut in half. Two of them will be battens. The angle slop will point towards the center. That is a must!. They should be very close to 149 1/2" long at the bottom were they will meet the bowstem. You will have a angle cut to make. To get that right,had a piece of scrap 1"x2" about 12" long. from the outside,put it flat,running it out at the bottom,flush,pass the bowstem and mark/ cut it. Transfer the angle to one end of one of the battens. NOTE* make sure again that the angle of the batton is running with the high point to the center. Mark and cut. At that point,the bottom side of that batton,measure 149 1/2". Do the same for the other side. After that,preclamp everthing in place(both sides). Note,you might have to recut one end. Allways cut long,this is a must for the battons. You might have to adjust a couple times. Once that is done, clamp every thing in place. You should have something like this.


Onceyou have that,it is time to glue.,but before doing that,release all the clamps but one end at the bowstem. I repeat,leave one clamp in place at the bowstem. Mix your glue and paste it on the plywood side. NOTE* spreed it for the bottom towards the top ONLY about 1 1/2". You will be leaving some of the batton sticking out passthe botton of the side for planning down. Apply glue,you shoul be able to apply 3/4 of the side. Once you have that done,pull the batton in place,clamp it then nail it. Once you get about 2/3 the way,remove the end clamp that doesn't have any glue. Then apply glue as before and clamp back in place. Finish nailing. Do both sides. You should have something like this.


Once that is done,I had came back and had cut the nails off as close as I could then I had grind them down flush the the battons on the inside. After that,I had flip the boat right side up and left a clamp at each point were the sides were join,were the battons overlap.

Now is were you can really build a pirogue to what flair and rake to the bottom you want. With this plan,way back when laying it out,that 3" offset at the bottom at 68" will help you out for both flair and rake at the bottom. That can be adjusted as you like.

With scraps of 1"x2"'s,play with the flair. Me,just at were the 2 sides were join,I had put a pices of scrap that was 32" at the top. At the bottom at the 68" point,I put a piece of rope to pull it in were the bottom will be 26" wide. You can play with this till you really like what you want. Adjust the bottom for rake and adjust the top for flair. As I say before,thats up to you and have fun doing so.

Anywaythis is what I love.


And a side view somewhat.



Once you have the shape you like,its time to start cutting some ribs. I'm not installing them,just placing them in place to get what I want out of the shape of the pirogue. Those lift over pieces that was cut for the 2 battons will be use for ribs for the bottom. You do want to place tehm were the first one will go in place just towards the center,but right behine were you join the sides.. For me,that one was 24" ID. That will be the widest point of the boat which will be the front of the 2 man pirogue. This is were a bit of wood skill comes into play. If you don't have master skills, use some scrap lumber till you get the double angle cuts right for the bottom.

Anyway,the front seat will be mounted just in front of that first bottom rib. The other piece of 1"x2" that is left over from the batton will be use towards the back,just at the base of the back seat. From the back bowstem for me,I had set that rib at 49" inside of the bottom of that stem. It was 20 1/2" for me. From there,the 2 pieces that was left over form the first 2 cuts,I had adjusted them were they would fit/cut them into place.

This is what I have at this point. The bottom ribs are just sitting in place,not installed at this time.


Till tromorrow! I hope I didn't loose this,got kick off thr internet
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:30 PM
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I'm on dial up at the house and PC people sucks. If there is any questions,feel free to ask. Hope to finish tomorrow on this one. I will be starting 2 others. One close to this one and a one man pirogue that is 12' long. I will take pictures of the lay out of the one man.

Oh,time for another drink.LOL Think the oldlady might get hot.Screw it rum& coke is good for the guts!
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:46 PM
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I thought you were building a 2 man pierogi.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Brad1 View Post
I thought you were building a 2 man pierogi.

This one is a 2 man. I got a request for a 1 man. Its very close build to a one man. I might throw in a bit of difference to a round bowstems on it if I have time. That was trhe way I was tough 38 years ago. All by hand,
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:40 PM
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Do you put gunwales on them to increase the height of the sides?
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:56 PM
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It'll be Friday before I can some pics up....Dad is three hours away, going down on Thursday. My boat is in his shop.

Last edited by ParatusMS; 11-10-2009 at 07:56 PM. Reason: .
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Old 11-11-2009, 03:32 AM
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Originally Posted by bsmit24 View Post
Do you put gunwales on them to increase the height of the sides?

There is no need for gunwales. This pirogue will hold two 200lb men and gear with no problem.

To figure how much weight it will hold,it goes something like this.

For every gallon of water that would fit inside the boat,that = to 8lbs of displacement (weight of a gallon of water). In this case that would = to around about 1500 lbs give or take 75lbs. You take that number ,div it by .3 which would give you close to 450-500lbs safe weight that it will suport.

I might be off some and maybe someone will correct me.
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Old 11-11-2009, 02:45 PM
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Prockvoan,

I live in NOLA but I'm working in Lafayette. I want to build one of these. If I pick up the sheets of fir over here, do I need to pick up anything else in Lafayette, or is the rest available in the NOLA area? I might need to ask you a few questions

Last edited by knotcrazy; 11-11-2009 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 11-12-2009, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by knotcrazy View Post
Prockvoan,

I live in NOLA but I'm working in Lafayette. I want to build one of these. If I pick up the sheets of fir over here, do I need to pick up anything else in Lafayette, or is the rest available in the NOLA area? I might need to ask you a few questions

I live just north of Baton Rouge,about 75 miles from Lafayette. If you have time,we can get together at my house and I will help you lay it out and from there you can finish it at your house. As you build,if any questions come up,you can call me.

Anyway,yesterday I had just about finished building this pirogue(about 90%+). Only problem,I didn't have a chance to up load the pictures. I will do that tonight. All that is left is to install the rub rails,handles and finish capping the bowstems.
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Old 11-12-2009, 11:34 AM
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Paul and knot,
I forgot about it last week, but there is a Doug Ashy lumber yard in Breaux Bridge. If they have the plywood there it would save some time for sure.
I'm having some trouble following your description as you go. From the pics I can pick it up mostly. I'm sure there is a reason, so I'll ask. Why no biscuits to join the plywood? Too thin? So far it looks like a much simpler build than starting with the frame. I might be tempted to give it a try.
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Old 11-12-2009, 12:34 PM
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Beenie,yes,the plywood is to thin. You could always lap join them if you want to take the time. Another thing that can be done is cut the over all side down 1' and then were you mount the one of the seats,it would fall right at the plywood joint.

Frame boat building is only one way to skin the cat. Building a boat this way gives you a chance to change things as you build. You can build any boat like this. If you have any questions,pm me and I will give you a phone number to call.
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Old 11-12-2009, 06:21 PM
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OK,now for the up date from yesterday.

It was time to start planning the battons flat across. Using a straight edge,laying it across,working from one end to the other.


Once that was done,it was time to set the bottom ribs. First mark there places on the battons. From there,I had backed off the rope about and inch. Starting at the widest point rib,I had drilled a hole for a #12x2" wood screw on each end. Also counter sink for the head. Then applyed glue and install one side,tighen the rope and install the other side. NOTE,extend them about 1/8" lower then the batton bottoms. You will be planning them flush once set.


Once that one was done,complete the others.

After that,it was time to install a piece of 3/4" plywood were the bottom will be join together. That should be at the same point as were the sides are join. Setting them in place after glueing,I use some #6,2" finish nails. This piece must be flush with the bottom of the battons. Counter sink the nails. For some reason,I didn't get a picture.

Once that was done,flip the boat over,bottom side up. Its time to lay out the bottom pieces. Start with the short end and slide it to were it matches up with the side joints,temp nail it in place. Now do the other side too. Both pieces,have the "A" grade outside. From under,mark both pieces and leave at lease 3/8" extending all around.Once you have that done,remove and then cut them out.


From there,plane all bottom ribs level with the battons. Once that is done,plane the bowstems to the point were you are just touching plywood.


Take a sander and sand it flat.

Now its time to set the bottom. Lay up glue on the battons and ribs up to the point of were the side joints are.From there,put the bottom piece of plywood in place, Line one side up at the side joint,nail one side(just one nail,then the other side,one nail). This will hold it in place. Nail about every 5" apart. Work your way about half way,then go to the other side. Finish nailing. On the ribs,support them from under, then nail them too! I used a piece of 2"x4" mounting it from the ground up. After that side is done,do the same to the other part. After that,cut and grind off the nails that went thru the 3/4" plywood.

Time to install some seats. Laying them out you can put them were you want. What I did was cut some pieces of 3/4" plywood 10" long by 3 1/4" wide. One end straight,were the other end at a angle so it would be flush with the bottom. You will need 4 of these. Once I located were I wanted to install them,I glued and nail them for the outside inward. Did all 4 pieces,then grind out the extra nail that went all the way thru the plywood. Now,seatting. I used some 1"x6" #1 pine. Reason,its stronger the fir. Cut one piece,dry fit,then a second piece. Glue and install them. After that,do the other seat.


After that,you can remove the scrap lumber that you were spreeding out the top for flair.

Flip the boat over and plane the bottom to match the sides. If you have a beltsander,stop planeing about 1/6" and use the sander to sand it flush.
At that point,I had to stop for the day. Next will be to install the top rail,handles and finsh the bowstems.

So,this is what things look at this point.
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Old 11-14-2009, 04:12 PM
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Just about finish. Today,I had finished the bowstems. Took a piece of 2"x4" and ripped it 1"x36". This will make both end caps. From there,I had ripped again,cutting it at a 17.5 drg angle to make a point. The base going next to the boat area bowstem was just a hair over 3/4" wide. Leave a bit extra,you can sand it flush. Cut the top of the bowstem that is in the boat flush at the top of the plywood sides. Mark and cut the cap bowstem at the bottom angle and then do the same for the top. Drill 4 holes along the tip of the cap thru to the base of it. You will be using #6 finishing nails to nail it on. Apply glue and nail.

It should look like this.


From there,its time to install the rubrails. That is what the other 1"x4"x16' is for. If you didn't rip it in half,do so at a 20 drg angle,center.
With the angle cut pointing towards the bottom of the boat,clamp one end at the bowstem,then pull it around adding clamps as needed till you get to the other side. BIG NOTE* within each end,over extend the 1x4 till the outside edge is about 1/4" above the sides for about a 24" run at each end. All the rest should be flush with the side top. You will be planeing it flat when installing handles at the bowstems. Once you have it in place,cut your end leaving an extra 2" extending outward on each end.

Remove,glue and then reinstall. At the bowstem,I installed a #12x2" screw.Then I nail it in place,I took the ringshank nails and had cut them so they wouldn't go all the way thru the plywood and 1x4.

Once that was done,I planed a section at each bowstem to were I had cut a piece of the 1/4" plywood which was cut in a Vee which is around 8" from the tip of the rubrailing inward. Glued and nailed in place.

All that is left is sanding,wood putty and painting.



Rubrails


Sideview
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