The Solomons Island Skiff was designed to travel the back creeks behind Solomons Md to net peeler Blue Crabs. These crabs thrive in these Chesapeake Bay estuaries and these flat bottom skiffs allow easy maneuvering to get to the their shallow water hideouts.
The boat was also designed so the build would use relatively easily accessible materials and hardware.
The skiff was built using 4 sheets of plywood in mind which resulted in a 15′ long boat with 4′ beam. This flat bottom skiff was originally designed by rack of eye but this blog details all the dimensions, materials, and methods necessary for replication.
The skiff is constructed from 1/2″ marine plywood using air dried white oak to keep it all together. I would not recommend substituting the marine plywood but the air dried white oak is hard to find, so substitution is expected. If substituting, do a little research because some wood species should be avoided for extended outdoor applications.
The build doesn’t need unique or expensive tools however a “homeowner grade” table saw, compound miter saw, and a bandsaw will make the job easier. A router was often used with 1/2″ round over bit to remove sharp edges (a boat should never have sharp edges). A good handsaw is an absolute necessity, and good doesn’t mean expensive as newer tooth technology make these saws razor sharp (ex Stanley Fatmax). A random orbital sander makes finishing easier.
A digital protractor is also very useful but a regular old bevel will work just as well. Usually when building a boat, carpenter squares are used only to prop shop doors open, but since this boat is flat bottom there will be occasional use.
The boat is screwed together with hardware store grade stainless deck screws. These screws are primarily lower grade 18-8 stainless steel but certainly good enough for a fiberglass encapsulated boat. Drilling for these screws was easily done by a tapered bit equipped with a countersink. The tapered bit isn’t an absolute necessity but I would recommend a drill bit and countersink combo.
Hardware store bought adhesive were used for the construction with the exception of epoxy. West Systems was used for adhesion as well as fiberglassing. It is just personal preference as it’s such a user friendly product.
The boat was built in my garage over the winter and I worked on it only on the weekends, averaging probably 3 hours/day. If your going to build it good luck and enjoy it, as it was a very fun build. I can always be contacted for questions.