This short article and video outlines the process of Lofting Boat Plans from a table of offsets for a particular boat design.
The process of lofting boat plans can seem quite daunting for most first time boat builders who may not be familiar with boat design or boat building terminology. I’m sure it is a lot easier for me to understand the process of lofting now, after having done it so many times and after having built several boats. Regardless, I believe that lofting boat plans can be done by the first time boat builder so long as you take your time and be sure that your measurements are correct.
Lofting boat plans involves taking measurements from the table of offsets for a particular boat from the boats plans. Usually within the plans there is other useful information to go with the table of offsets, including spacing of the station forms, recommended construction method (wood-strip being one type of construction method), and recommended materials used. The plans should also include several drawings of the craft from different angles, including a cross section drawing that illustrates the station forms that you will be lofting.
The first step to lofting a set of boat plans is to determine the maximum over-all size of the station forms, that is, which station form is the largest and how big it is.
You will then go on to draw a two inch by two inch grid on your choice of sheet stock, plywood half inch thick to three quarters of an inch thick is a common choice of sheet stock, MDF, and particle core is also frequently used. If possible, avoid OSB
flake board as it is not dense enough to hold a staple and even if you are planning to build your boat in a staple free method, you may find the need to use a staple or two (or the equivalent) here or there. In building my own wood-strip boats I have used MDF, Particle Core, Plywood and even premium Baltic Birch Plywood, all of which have done the job adequately.
Once you have established your two inch grid you can then begin lofting boat plans by transferring the measurements from the table of offsets to your sheet stock. Begin by establishing a Baseline, and then a Center Line. Once you have these two reference lines you can continue transferring all other points first with the Profile and Sheer Line, and then with the Half-Breadths.
Lofting Boat Plans Video
I’ve recorded the following video demonstrating the process of Lofting Boat Plans. In the video I have isolated one column of the Table of Offsets, which is for one station form.
As you plan to build your own boat, I hope that this article and video was useful to you.
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