As a child growing up in south Florida with a canal in my backyard, I always wanted to build a boat. I had drawn several designs as a young boy, but I never fulfilled my dream of building one. I recently moved to South Carolina and, living near a wonderful lake now, I needed a boat. It had to be sturdy, have an open floor plan for fishing, and be stable enough for two adults moving about. To build the boat, it had to fit in my garage and still leave room for my truck. After looking at hundreds of boats online and in person I came across Spira International’s 15′ Hudson skiff. Designer Jeff Spira specializes in boats that can be built by amateur builders with basic woodworking skills and limited budgets. I ordered the print version of the Hudson plans: four 24″ x 18″ sheets and a well-written 50-page workbook with detailed instructions, drawings, and color photographs that are easy for the first-time builder to follow.The plans call for inexpensive common dimensional lumber and plywood. While the frames are intended to be cut from 2x3s, the quality of the 2x3s that were available were not to my liking, so I bought 2x4s and cut them down to size. Surfacing the lumber with my jointer and thickness planer provided flat and true surfaces, making construction easier. The six frames are each made of three pieces, lap-joined at the corners and secured with 2″ #8 stainless-steel deck screws and PL Premium construction adhesive, as per the designer’s recommendations. The manual also specifies epoxy as a suitable adhesive. The bottoms of the frames have notches to set the keelson flush, with extra width to provide limbers on either side.The transom is framed with 2x4s, which I also surfaced, reducing their size just a bit, but not significantly diminishing their strength. The manual indicates these frame members can be butted together and held by adhesive. The joints will get the strength they need when the transom’s plywood face and gusset are applied. I half-lapped the transom frame members, which took a bit more time but provided some extra strength. The stem is a straight 38-3/8″ length of 1x6, which gets beveled after the chine logs and sheer clamps are installed.

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