How to Assemble Our Rowing Boat Kit

The Finished Rowing BoatThis article explains how to use our [product=ROWINGBOAT|rowing boat kit] to make a boat like the one shown in the image to the right. Note that it has a flat bottom and is intended to be glued onto the surface of your river/lake/whatever. We used two part epoxy to attach ours and to form ripples, along with a little white paint, to complete the effect.

The image below shows the components supplied in our rowing boat kit. From left to right we have:

  1. The bottom of the boat; etched with plank lines.

  2. Lower top frame - this is the same size as the bottom of the boat; so the sides of the boat will be vertical. At this scale it's not worth the extra difficulty of having them sloped.

  3. Upper top frame - This sits on top of the lower top frame; it's slightly larger and there should be an even overhang all around.

  4. 3x vertical frames

  5. Oars and rowlocks. Note that the oars are NOT intended to actually fit into the rowlocks. Also note that as these parts are rather delicate and fiddly, we've included more than you need (as spares). You only need two oars and two rowlocks.

Rowing Boat Components

Note that the side panels are not included. You will need some thick paper or thin card for this.

Also note that the MDF components have a front and rear face; the front is slightly shinier. If you look closely you will observe that the laser cut edges have a slight chamfer. This should be taken into consideration when assembling the components.

Rowing Boat Framework

The image above shows the boat frame under construction (the upper top frame still needs to be added).

The first step is to add the vertical frames to the bottom of the boat with a little PVA glue. Using the image above, observe that the end frames sit just outside the first and last etched plank lines. The middle frame aligns with an etched plank line such that it will sit under the seat when the lower top frame is added.

Endeavour to keep the frames vertical and in alignment with the etched plank lines, and the edges of the bottom of the boat.

Let this dry before adding the lower top frame. Once again, use the image above to check the alignment of the frames in relation to the lower top frame. Now let it dry.

By this point you should have a structure that looks like the image above.

The next step is to add the upper top frame. Test fit it to see where you need to apply glue. Align it such that there is an even overlap all the way around, as shown in the image below.

Attaching the upper top frame.

Tip: Depending on how you intend to finish your boat you might want to paint this assembly before adding the side and back panels.

Adding the Sides & Back to the Boat

Side and back panels are not included in the kit because these are easily made from thick paper or thin card.

The reason that the upper top frame overlaps the lower top frame should now become apparent: it gives the side strips something to butt up to and give a neat finish.

Begin by cutting a few strips of paper. You should find (measure the side of the boat where they are to go), that the strips need to be approximately 7mm wide.

Don't attempt to cut them to length; cut them so they are a little longer than they need to be.

Begin with the back panel: Smear a strip of card with a thin layer of quick setting PVA glue and then press it onto the back of the boat frame; aligning the top edge with the underside of the upper top frame. Hold it until it grips and then leave it to dry.

Triming the back panel.When dry, you will find that the PVA has hardened the paper/card such that you can easily trim it to length using a SHARP craft knife. Now repeat the process to add the side panels, one at a time.

Unless you want to paint the rowlocks (we left them plain), now is the time to paint the boat in the colours of your choice. After painting, the rowlocks and oars can be glued in place.

The Finished Rowing BoatNote that on our boat we added a rope made from a length of thin cotton (not included in the kit). We also added a "peg" to the front of the boat for the "rope" to be "tied" to. The easiest way to do this is to tie a length of cotton to the end of a cocktail stick, near the pointed end, using superglue. The cocktail stick can then be cut either side of the cotton. If it's cut close on the underside then the cotton will increase the size of the surface being glued to the boat; a dot of superglue will hold it in place.

Finally, just in case you're interested, the jetty in the background of our image was constructed in a similar manner to our Medieval Bridge except that short lengths of a bamboo skewer were used for the posts, rather than using our [product=TRUSS-01|laser cut bridge trusses].

The [product=ROWINGBOAT|Rowing Boat Kit] is available in our [catalogue=0001|online shop].

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