Lying in a hospital bed in 2014 after a short illness, I decided it was time to tackle one of my lifelong dreams, building my first-ever boat—from scratch. Since our boating consists of leisurely trips on lakes and rivers, I wanted plans for an open cockpit design with space for four deck chairs. After a lot of research, the Albion seemed to be the answer. Along with the plans I ordered, Spira included his 50-page Illustrated Guide to Building a Spira International Ply-On-Frame Boat. His website has an extensive collection of photos, blogs, and videos for ideas. One builder had even contributed a very helpful series of videos of his Albion build to the Spira website.I started working on the boat in February 2015. To make sure the Albion would provide us with enough room, I drew a chalk outline of the boat on the garage floor. After I put four deck chairs on the area we’d have in the cockpit, I realized I needed an extra foot of deck space to be able to space the chairs comfortably. I contacted Jeff and he was completely amenable to this change—he notes that most of his designs can be stretched by 10 percent without having much effect on performance or cost—and worked out a new plan for the placement of the frames, adding a bit more than 1” to the span between each to add 1’ to the length.The plans recommend using “standard dimensional lumber” for the frames, but I decided to use clear Douglas-fir from a specialty lumberyard in our town. I thought the straight, uniform grain would be easier to work and that the fir would be less prone to rot than some of the species sold as common lumber. The frames are 2x4s and the decking beams 1x4s.

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