When we decided to feature a toy boat, we knew it would be a perfect design project for Gord Wilson of Oakville, Ont. Gord, who is an instructor and woodworker at Sheridan College. This father of two and grandfather of three children has delighted Canadian Living readers and their youngsters with wonderful wooden toys and games that intrigue both the young and the young-at-heart.
Now you can build some summer fun with a block of balsa wood, some wooden dowels and scraps of ripstop nylon fabric. So get set, captain. Before you know it, this sailboat will be ready to sail into the heart of your young shipmate.
Balsa wood 4 x 4 x 12 in
2 x 4 pine, 3 in long, for cabin
Pine 3/4 x 1-1/2 x 2 in, for bulkhead
3/8-in dowelling, 13-1/2 in long, for mainmast
1/4-in. dowelling, 20 in long
1/8-in dowelling, 1-1/2 in long, for flagpole
4 x 6 in sheet of tin (such as a pop can)
2 No. 6 flat-head wood screws, 1-1/4 in long
4 No. 6 round-head wood screws, 1/2 in long
13 small screw eyes
Wire coat hanger
Lead weight (such as bar solder)
Rivets or bolts
Ripstop nylon fabric, for sails
Narrow cord or butcher twine
Saw, coping saw
Wood chisel, flat
Drill with 1/16-in, 1/8-in, 1/4-in, 3/8-in drill bits
Thread to match safl fabric
Water-resistant (exterior grade) paint
1. Hull: From balsa wood, saw then carve hull according to measurements given in Diagrams 1A and 1B. Shape bow into a point with sandpaper. Using a knife, chisel or blade as necessary, cut out 5-1/4- x 2-in deck opening, 1-1/2 in deep in top of hull as shown in Diagrams 1A and 1B. Finish with sandpaper wrapped around a wooden block. Paint as desired and allow to dry thoroughly.
2. Bulkhead: Sand pine for bulkhead and drill a 1/8-in hole through centre for hull attachment as shown in Diagrams 2A and 2B. Screw in place with flat-head screw.
Page 1 of 3 – Find steps 3 to 6 on the next page.
3. Cabin: From pine, cut cabin 3 x 2-3/4 x 1-1/2 in as shown in Diagrams 3A and 3B. Sand to shape. Stamp porthole markings by hammering the end of a round pipe into the cabin sides, or paint porthole outlines later. Drill a 1/4-in hole 1 in deep at a slight angle (Diagrams 3A and 3B) in front end of cabin for jibboom. Drill a 3/8-in hole 1 in deep in centre top of cabin for mainmast. Drill this hole through farther with a 1/8-in bit. Attach cabin to top of bulkhead with flat-head screw (Diagrams 3A and 3B).
4. Paint all wood parts thoroughly before assembly, to prevent swelling when in water.
5. From 1/4-in dowelling cut jibboom 7 in long, main boom 8-1/2 in long and spar 4-1/2 in long.
6. Sails: Enlarge pattern for sails and flag by the squaring method as follows: On brown paper, draw a grid of horizontal and vertical lines 2.5 cm (1 in) apart. Each square on the diagram equals a 2.5 cm square on your paper. Enlarge by drawing the design onto the corresponding square of your paper. Cut sails from ripstop fabric. On mainsail, fold lower left corner under along fold line indicated on pattern. Turn under 6 mm (1/4 in) then 10 mm (3/8 in) along each side edge then at top edge. Along bottom edge, turn under 6 mm then 13 mm (1/2 in). Hold in place with transparent tape and topstitch close to inner folds to form a casing for rigging cords and main boom. On jibsail, fold all comers under along fold lines indicated on pattern. Turn under 6 mm then 10 mm along all edges and topstitch as for mainsail. To decorate, applique scraps of ripstop fabric onto sails as desired.
7. Rigging: Using Diagram 4 as a guide, thread a length of cord through casing at top of mainsail, making a loop (Diagram 5) and binding it with thread at each comer. Thread another continuous length of cord up one side and down the other side of the jibsail and make loops at each comer. Push main boom through casing at bottom of mainsail.
Page 2 of 3 – Find easy, illustrated instructions to put the finishing touches on your new sailboat on page 3.
Referring to Diagram 4 as you go, screw the screw eyes into spar, main boom, jibboom and mainmast, drilling with a fine bit first to prevent splitting. Note: In diagram, placement of screw eyes is approximate. Place them so there is some “pull" on the sails. To attach boom and spar to mainmast, open one screw eye sideways with pliers and slip into adjoining closed eye. Bend closed. Attach rigging loops in screw eyes in same mariner (see Diagram 5). String a cord from top of jibsail to each side of cabin.
8. Rudder: Cut a piece of coat-hanger wire 19 cm (7-1/2 in) long. Bend into shape shown in Diagram 6. Using tinsnips, cut rudder shape from tin, file edges and bend around coat-hanger section as shown. Flatten to tighten. Paint. Allow to dry thoroughly. Drill a,1/8-in hole in hull at hull at stern and hook rudder into hole. String a short length of cord from rudder to screw eye at end of main boom.
9. Keel: Using tinsnips, cut keel according to measurements given in Diagram 7. File edges. Bend side edges over and flatten. Make three 1/2-in deep evenly spaced snips in top (widest) edge of keel and bend sections to the left and right as shown. Drill a hole in each section. Screw keel in position slightly to rear of line of mainmast (see Diagram 4) with 4 round-head wood screws. Tape bar solder or other lead weight to each side of bottom edge of keel and test in water for proper balance before drilling holes and securing permanently with rivets or bolts. Paint. Allow to dry thoroughly. Test boat in water again and adjust balance by bending keel slightly away from listing side.
10. Flag: Cut flag from ripstop fabric or other lightweight fabric. Fold in half and stitch 6 mm (1/4 in) from fold to form casing. Finish edges and insert 1/8-in dowel into casing. Drill hole in top of mast and insert flag. Other flags may be attached to rigging as desired.
11. Attach a pull cord to end of jibboom, if desired.
Page 3 of 3 -- Get illustrated diagrams and find out what materials you will need to make this amazing sailboat on page 1.