Applegate Boatworks feather logo

Applegate boatworks

Frequently Asked Questions

Applegate Boatworks Zydeco pirogue


   About Us   

Ordering Plans



Here are answers to some of the most common questions that we hear at Applegate Boatworks.

What is the taped seam method?

Click here to see an explanation of the taped seam method of boat building.


How long do your boats take to build?

In my shop I can build a Zydeco with a good finish in 40 to 50 hours. That is with a high quality finish. If you are bold and in a hurry you can certinly finish the boat in less time with a simple finish. If you are cautious and meticulous it could you take longer than the average. Tree Frog takes just a little bit longer.


How much do materials cost?

I am amazed at the wide variation in the prices and availability of materials around the country- so it is difficult to be exact about your materials cost. You should be able to build Zydeco for about $200. By really pinching pennies you might build it for as low as $100. $300 will buy top grade materials. It should be easy to keep the cost down to the lower end of the range. The cost of Tree Frog is about the same. Good sources for materials are ads from marine suppliers in WoodenBoat Magazine.


Is this a suitable job for a first time boat builder?

This is a great project for beginners. You do need to have basic woodworking skills. We have sold over a hundred Zydeco plans with no complaints. When we do get feedback, people tell us they had fun building their Pirogue.


Can I use exterior grade plywood?

You may use exterior grade plywood but it increases the chance of problems over the life of your boat. Besides knotholes, patches and splinters- there are core voids (gaps) in the middle laminations that may delaminate and/or rot. These will need to be injected with resin. If you must use exterior grade plywood, try to fill as many of the core voids as you can. You will need to be a boat maintenance fanatic if you don't use marine grade ply. If you value your time the better plywood is cheaper in the long run.


What is included in your study plans?

Study plans are just one sheet with a simple drawing to show the lines of the boat. It will give you capacity, length and other details about the boat? The information is enough to decide if the boat is the right one for your needs. Study plans pages are available on this website or you may send $1 for your own paper copy.


What is included in your building plans? Do they include dimensions and diagrams for all cuts? Do the plans include full size patterns?

The building plans include five 11" x 17" working drawings and an eight page set of instructions. There is also a list of required materials and tools and a list of suggested reading for books that give a more detailed description of boat building. There are no ribs or frames nor is a strong back building frame required to build our boats- so patterns are not necessary. It would be prohibitively expensive to make full size patterns for the planks and paper that length will distort. The plans have the plank shapes shown as both dimensioned drawings and a table of offsets. You choose which seems easiest for you.


Can I cut off the stern of the Zydeco to make motor mount?

Simply cutting off some of the stern to get a motor mount on a transom does not leave enough flotation to bear the weight of the canoeist and the motor. However, it is an easy matter to make a removable thwart that sticks out from the hull with a small vertical plate for a motor mount. I have a supplemental drawing that shows such a motor mount. An electric trolling motor is an excellent way to drive a canoe. You can go for hours on a charged battery. If you want a gas outboard, then you should get the tiniest one available.


Can I put a motor on Tree Frog?

Yes you can modify the Tree Frog to take a small motor. The transom is normally 1/4" plywood. There is enough plywood left over in building the hull to laminate two 1/4" transom panels into one 1/2" transom. Just add a wooden pad inside and out to clamp the motor to. Use a gas motor of 2hp or less. An electric trolling motor has plenty of power to drive Tree Frog.


What tools do I need to build your boats?

Our instructions list the minimum required tools. They are: carpenters framing square, hammer, screw driver, pliers, wire cutters, rasp, chalk line, plastic auto body spreaders, #8 combination drill bit, electric drill motor, jig saw, sanding block, old scissors, sawhorses, clamps, safety goggles and a few other basics. Optional tools are: band saw, table or chop saw, 3/8 cordless variable speed reversible electric drill, orbital palm sander, 2000 RPM electric polisher with foam pad for sanding discs, belt sander, router, jointer, planner and more clamps.


Can I build Zydeco with 1/8" plywood?

I once built a Zydeco 16 with 4mm (between 1/8" and 3/16") Occume sides and 6.5 mm ( 1/4") bottom. The customer wanted a portageable boat. Due to the thin sides and the light weight of Occume, the weight of the boat turned out at 49 lb.. For that boat I fiberglassed interior and exterior faces of both the sides and bottom. We can't recommend anything less that 1/4" plywood for the bottom. In building a lighter boat you trade some of the strength of the standard weight.


   About Us   

Ordering Plans


© John McCallum 2001.