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by Mal McKenzie - Minden, Queensland - Australia

Part One - Part Two

The design is a twelve foot Jon Boat designed by William Jackson of many years ago. The plans are available as a free download on some web pages. Originally, it was included as a free plan and article in one of the popular magazines.

About ten years back we built a nice Summer Breeze sailing dinghy which we still enjoy. As we have some great man-made lakes close by in SE Queensland, Australia, we looked for a simple dinghy to build so that our young grandsons may crew with us and enjoy fishing too. A boat that would be quick to build and carry a few people plus some gear on protected waters. I liked Bill Short's Pelican designs so looked for something similar and simpler to build.

I decided on the Jon Boat after much study of several boat building books by Payson, Michalak, Nicholson, Welsford etc plus trawling through many web pages including Duckworks. Our boat trailer limited the size to thirteen feet by five feet so the Jon Boat will fit perfectly. Timber used so far is a mixture of local Hoop Pine, Tassie Oak and Radiata Pine. The glue used mostly is a polyurethane foaming type with some local Boat-Cote epoxy too.

Rear transom made using NZ radiata pine and plywood.
Making the bow transom. Mitre saw helps with the cutting.
Preparing the sides. Plywood used is a local exterior grade ply available in our hardware stores.
Setting up the sides and temporary former.
Gluing in the bow transom. This boat is basically a curved box. The usable interior space is almost the same as a fifteen foot Sharpie type hull.
Fitting the chines to the sides. Not much framework yet. Clamps have found a good use again.
Gluing on the bottom plywood that was held in place using small boat nails. Ply is rough cut for trimming later.
Gluing on the outer gunwales to help stiffen the sides. One learns of the errors made as the building progresses.
Jon Boat outside for trimming and sanding the plywood edges. When completed it will fit somewhere on the trailer in the back ground.
Inside for glassing the bottom. Yep, that is a Heath Parasol replica in the background.
Hull ready for sanding the glass rough edges.
Bottom looks a bit rough and uneven. Must have put a bit too much epoxy on. My random disc sander will work well here.

Next stage is to sand the bottom and fit the keel strips before painting the outside. Then flip it over and complete the interior. Still have lots of work to do before completion. I am really glad the main glassing is done.

Plan is to use a 4hp four stroke outboard plus a pair of oars when needed. I hope all the Burke boys (inlaws and grandchildren) enjoy boating and fishing in the Jon Boat too. Be good to explore Wivenhoe and Somerset Dams when completed.

Progress so far has been part time over the past month. It has been a good learning experience to turn a basic boat plan into reality.

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