(Letters from 2003)
Chuck -

Might I make a suggestion for a minor website navigation enhancement? My standard (bookmarked) view into Duckworks is the "New" page and you have at least one other page (Outings) in the same format with a column of pictures with labels out to the side. Having visited the revamped website almost daily for - what - over a year now, I still find myself clicking on the images, subconsciously expecting them to be linked in the same way the the label text is. I can't imagine I'm the only one who does this, either.

There's another thing I wanted to mention regarding how items show up on your site. It seems that a bunch of new items will show up at once, and then sometimes several days will go by with nothing new. I know you're busy with other things and other websites, even, which means that you probably try to do your updates in batches, which I fully understand. From the user-experience perspective, though, I think it would be nicer to have a more constant/even flow of new material. Assuming you have a backlog of new items to post, you might be able to automate it, even.

Like I said, these are low-priority issues, but as a contributing member of the site, I wanted to point them out for possible inclusion when you get a spare few. If I didn't care about the site, I'd have kept my mouth (fingers? :-) shut.

Keep up the good work!
Bill Eason

Chuck Replies: These are both excellent suggestions, Bill. We used to link from the thumbnails, but just got away from it. We will do that from here on. Beginning this month, we will attempt to have something new each day. I visit some sites daily, and I have to admit that I am dissappointed to find nothing new. It turns out that it is fairly easy to do, so the big test will be our trip to Jim Michalak's messabout this month. Let's see if I can keep a steady stream of new material on a daily basis.

Fan Mail
You guys run a wonderful site - the first and usually last place I hit on more or less a daily basis.

I know that CD will be packed with all kinds of great articles I haven't seen yet, and I'm hoping to one day emulate the couple in the book a year in paradise. I am started down that road, anyway!

I'm also hoping to write a brief commentary on building the Michalak Jonboat, which after 10 months of sporadic effort, is beginning to look like a boat. It's in the basement, and getting closer to actually being capable of floating. I have pictures, too!

As I said, I am delighted to contribute to your success, and look forward to meeting you at a messabout sometime soon.

Thanks again - Best wishes,

Fairfax VA
Duckworks in Book
Dear Chuck,

I'm pleased to announce your web site is recommended
in my newly published book FISHING ONLINE: 1,000
BEST WEB SITES, now available from:


and all other booksellers.

I've included the book description from the backcover. If
you want to let your readers know you're recommended
in the book please feel free to cut and paste it onto your
site. A digital image of the cover and official press release
is available from Karen Lutto at luttopr@comcast.net.

More information about the book, including detailed
chapter descriptions, is available at my web site:


Best wishes,
Craig Buddo

Sundance comes very close to perfection to me in its size and purpose range. I have a question though. I’ve been intrigued for some time by the side mounted steering, which I have also seen in some other plans from the same period. It seems to be one of those things that everyone knew how to do, so nobody bothered to detail it. Does anyone know a source for more detailed drawings about this steering arrangement?
David Arnold
Design Contest
Hi Chuck,
Just read the rules of the latest contest. Folks might want to read the relevant portions of "River Horse" by William Least Heat Moon, He's been there, done that, didn't need the tee shirt!
Paul Esterle
Photo Contest Winners

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! After 45 glorious years of discovery, fun, mayhem, rebellion, highs, lows, food, drink and splinters gallore I have finally won something!!! Honest!!! Incredible!!!!!!! Kinda makes my lost youth and countless years of just plain whoring around pale by comparison,doncha think?

Indeed,I will have 365 days to escape, at will, into the bottomless pit of boating madness whenever I am near a computer! If they thought I spent perhaps too much time at work on the computer,then 2004 is going to be a record breaker!

I must,however,confess that I am now feeling a wee bit guilty for not writing at least one article for DUCKWORKS or even getting a darned subscription in the first place.Oh sure, I can drum up a whole fleet of excuses ranging from an in-progress-occupies-all-my-waking-hours-big-boat project or even invoke the evil and constant demands laid on me,daily, by my Pesky Crew. In fact, I could even score big time by pleading abject poverty and neglect (see above two excuses for clarification) but in the end I must remind myself that I am an alledged mature member of North American society and thus entirely respondsible for my miserable performance. That's right, guilty as charged yer Honour! This admission of guilt will, per force, now compel me to follow in the footsteps of whole armies worth of men, both great and not so great, whom have sought solace in the humble fermented juices of mother natures own bounty. Aye matey! The demon drink! Then and with only hope on my side, may I stand a chance of catching the glimmer of light which represents the path out to righteousness, as notions are percolated up through my aging neurons, freshly liberated through copious ingestion of the demon drink.

It's not a pretty sight, I admit, and since I've begun wearing eye glasses, it is damned right difficult to properly peer through the thick beer glass bottom for a distorted view of the patrons. They don't make beer glasses like they used to!

Just the thinking about my guilt is working up a mighty fierce thirst and if I don't stop poking at the keyboard real soon, I'm going to have to run out and buy some more!
It is at times like this, right on the trailing edge of some great news, when I wish the most that time and distance were just theoretical concepts and not harsh realities. If it only there was some truth to the often expressed "I'd give my left nut for a........" declaration. I'd toss in the whole bag-o-jewels, right now, for a chance to be seated in some steamy, worn-out, rough and tumble establishment, with cold beer on tap and you and Bruce holding up the other end of the table!!!

Thanks for making my day Chuck!!!


Peter Lenihan, looking wistfully out at a freshly laid blanket of snow and wishing he was someplace else (like Texas!), from along the St.Lawrence..............


Thanks for giving me the wonderful opportunity to show off my two girls (and my boat). My daughter is absolutely thrilled!

Scott Widmier

Our Free Kayak Plans

Hi, i have bought on ebay the plan of the kayak you distribute free. Here's the links of the article i have bought.

When you see the picture you don't think it's the same plan. But the user email me exactly the same thing. I have advertising the seller and he won't get any feedback to my mail.

I'm sorry to communicate with you for this incident, but I want to stop this kind of profiteer. He make money with the work of other. I don't know for his other item, but i think that is make a same thing of business. Thank!

Benoit Garneau

I am writing regarding the plans for the folding kayak available free on your site.
The same plans are being offered for sale on e-bay by at least one person, and possibly several.
One seller is even using a photo of the boat featured in your article.

I thought you might like to know. Perhaps the folks at Mechanix Illustrated, or whoever owns the rights to the plans, might also like to know.

Howard Dwyer, Ph.D.
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science
Monmouth College

Duckworks Store
I'm starting to get a complex here, Chuck:

I can't find any reasonably priced gudgeons & pintles, so make my own out of brass strips and rod. Immediately afterwards, Duckworks starts offering pintles & gudgeons.

I can't find reasonably priced blocks, so I build my own. Soon after, Duckworks starts selling inexpensive blocks.

I decide I don't want to take the time to make my own sail, so I order one from a sailmaker. Two weeks later, Duckworks starts selling sails, at a better price than I paid.

Are you spying on me, too, Chuck? (Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they aren't watching me! ;-)

Seriously, though--you've made great additions to your product line. I just wish you'd added all of the above a little bit sooner.

Oh well, now I know where to go to rig my _next_ boat.

Tidmarsh Major

Design Contest


Chuck,you had better start in Fort Benton the most inland port in the world. Otherwise you have 10 dams and 4 very large waterfalls to negotiate. I would suggest no more than 12 inch draft, less is better. Four foot waves possible on Fort Peck and the other resevoirs. I will enjoy this as I live in Great Falls and have boated from Fort Benton to Fort Peck resevoir. I will be happy to inform any contestants on the vagaries of this part of the river.

I have seen canoers take 4 days to do 50 miles when the wind blows againgst them. I showed some how to use a sea anchor. Just a 5 gallon plastic bucket. If you partially sink it and tie it to thefront of the canoe it will pull you againgst the wind if you lay down. It's quite a river.....A cone shape is better as it snags less often. They work best if you can get them down a couple of feet as you are trying to get away from the wind effected area of the surface. I have laid back and kept up with paddlers. This was in a canoe,kayakers make better time. If you think about it, the bucket or two buckets have as much or more suface area then most paddles. You do have to keep an eye out for snags,but on the Missouri, especially below Great Falls, the cottonwoods have been decimated and so there aren't all that many snags. The advantage of buckets is they have other uses. I used a flexable windsock once and it worked fine. It had a wire frame on the big end. I made a 4 part harness and tied it to the bow with a single line. It seemed to follow the current better.

Milton Doles

Re the riverboat contest:

So everyone should read Down the Ganges Slowly first I assume?

Bruce L. Bikle, Ph.D.

I just received this and it may throw another kink in the boat contest. I am trying to find out if the river will be off limits to travel in the non barge months.

KANSAS CITY, MO—The U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers recently unveiled a 30-year, $1.3 billion plan to restore the Missouri River.

In the past 200 years, the Missouri has been dammed, narrowed, deepened and straightened for commercial barge traffic—so much so that it is about 100 miles shorter than in pre-settlement times, according to the environmental group American Rivers.

Under the plan, approximately 1,200 acres would be immediately established as a shallow-water habitat for spawning fish, while an unspecified amount would be designed to benefit nesting birds. All this while maintaining a seven-month navigation season for commercial barge traffic.

The plan calls for conserving more water in northern states and "unbalancing" the three largest reservoirs in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. The Corps. would lower one of three lakes approximately three feet to let vegetation grow and then refill the lake, on a rotating three-year cycle.

Corps. officials say it will re-evaluate the plan after three years.

Hi Chuck
It sounds like an interesting contest, especially with the portage. I think it is a great idea to put in the trip planning as it adds a useful dimension.

Steve Bosquette
The virus sent to our mailing list

Thanks Chuck,

No harm done- but these damn virus bastards are really a pain in the ass- well they are aren't they!! Surely these sad souls can get a life-.... better still they need to build a boat!!

Let's face it once a person has slapped the side of a boat at the ramp, puffed the ol' chest out and muttered those humble words, "Yeah Mate, I made her myself."

Surely if these souls could, even for just a second, feel that overwhelming sense of pride and glowing joy that only a proud boatbuilder can share- surely the world would be a better place.

Surely it is not a coincidence that boaties, in general, are a cheerful friendly lot.

I know- send the bastards a subscription- send it to them 555,000 times- maybe the message will get through.

Maybe it wont.

Pull up a chair and have a 'coldie' on me.



Flats Rat
That new Flats Rat story is a gas! Well done Jon Rieley-Goddard and Chuck for publishing it.



The Flapjack sail and plans that I listed in your classified section have been sold to a gentleman in Kaysville, UT. He expects to start within a month. I have advised him to keep a visual build log and submit it to Duckworks. I very much appreciate the use of your ads. I hope to order plans for Pathfinder soon. Still out of work and jobs are hard to find since the company I worked for layed off 250 IT workers this year. Ironic that now that I have time to build I do not have the money. I do have the materials and plans for Larsboat and will start it as soon as I pass my Oracle certification tests this next month.

Thanks, Michael Hunt


I bought a trailer similar to this one some years ago from Home Depot. It has worked fine. The wheel bearings, however, are not a standard size, so need to be ordered from the manufacturer in Taiwan. This should be checked before purchase.

Roger Wilson

Hi Chuck
I have no problem with you using some of my old material--I'd rather see it in circulation than not--but in exchange I would appreciate if you could include my new and developing website--butlerprojects.com. I'm marketing building plans for some of the more popular small boats we've done for various magazines over the years--mostly Popular Science, Workbench and Outdoor Life. I can be contacted at: paul@butlerprojects.com

I still get letters from readers lamenting the sad passing of the old SBJ. I was contributing editor for the last few good years, but we figured it was over when the publisher ran a day-glo cover with a bassboat. That was pretty much the last straw I guess. I keep thinking someone will resurrect a viable replacement but none yet. keep in touch.
paul butler
....I love the site. I think it's the only paid thing on the internet that I've ever subscribed to and I'm really glad that I did. Great job. I hope you're prospering with it.

F. M. Steingress, Pewtersmith
217 Forest Hill Dr.
Asheville, NC 28803
(828) 253-3795


Nice to see Masefield in Duckworks. The much-missed Spike Milligan rewrote it:

I must go down to the seas again,
To the lonely sea and the sky.
I left my vest and socks there,
I wonder if they’re dry?

All best,

Chris Partridge

Hi Chuck

I truly enjoyed the column from Alvan Eames. The Brits are great at pottering around in just about any field imaginable, and Mr. Eames speaks with the quiet assurance of a fellow that's been there, done that. Well done! I'm looking forward to seeing his future columns.

David Romasco - Kent Island Boat Works


On the Duckworks Boat Index Prams page, you include a link for an Abaco dinghy (11'), but the link is apparently dead (it gives a page titled "The page cannot be displayed"). I have been searching for quite some time for Abaco dinghy plans without any success. Do you know if this source you list is still available? If not, do you know of any other sources for Abaco dinghy plans? Any help you could provide would be appreciated.

Donald K. Johnson
Dear Chuck,

Haven't seen anything yet about a 2004 design contest so I thought I'd send you an idea, which of course you're free to use as is, modify radically or try to hit the delete key while rolling on the floor laughing.

How about a low power camp cruiser? Most references to a "low power" motorboats call for something like a 25 hp motor. I'm thinking more like 5 hp. The new small 4 strokes are supposed to be pretty nice motors, and the Honda 5hp is the smallest I know of that has an alternator - so you can keep a battery charged enough to run a cabin light or anchor light or a marine radio without having to worry about solar chargers. A 5hp motor is enough to drive a reasonably sized, efficient, displacement hull to hull speed and leave enough extra to combat windage and a bit of a current. They're also quiet - granted not as quiet as sailing, but a whole lot easier and nearly all sailboats big enough to camp on have motors anyway. And since thousands of sailors are all (mostly) happy to putter along at 5-6 knots, it must be fast enough!

There are lots of interesting sailboats designed as camp cruisers, and just building without spars, sails and a lee or centerboard is a reasonable option, but the boats are designed as sailboats and so the compromises necessary in any boat necessarily lean towards sailing. If you're not going to sail, surely you must be giving up something you want to get something you don't.

The only boat I have found that was actually designed to be a 5hp cruiser is Karl Stambaugh's Redwing 18 (5-10 HP recommended). Jim Michalak's Electron might fill the bill nicely, even though it was designed for an electric motor and the only one(?) built uses a 2 hp Honda. Phil Bolger drew a Flat Bottom Outboard Crusier cartoon for Small Boat Journal (Oct/Nov '83), and the article suggests a 5 hp motor, but I don't think it ever made it to a formal design.

So, how about a boat that a guy and his wife (with more time than money) can putter up the Hudson to poke around Lake Champlain for a week or two? It'll be easily trailerable so they can also poke around the Chesapeake or the Thousand Islands or Georgian Bay or the Maine Island Trail. They've sailed enough to know they spent a lot of most cruises under power anyway, so why not just optimize the compromise for a 5 horse Honda?

Chris Stewart

Dear Chuck,
Subject: Nylon Hinges for Ladybug

Just a quick comment. In my experience, the UV from bright summer sun tends to embrittle and degrade nylon in a fairly short time (2 seasons). So if you can shade them as much as possible, you can benefit. Looks like a great boat!

Bob Patterson

Hello Chuck,
Really enjoy your zine even if I can't afford to subscribe. Such is the life of retired people. Anyway, last week our county (Sarasota, Florida) had a notice that recycled latex paint was available for free if you were a resident and owned your own home. The paint had been reformulated with all the additives including mildicide. It was available in a limited number of colors i.e. lt. brown, blue and one or two others I forget. Anyway, tell your readers to check with their waste disposal people in their county. Good Luck.
Tom on Sandpiper in SW Florida.
OK youse guys. It's ffffrrrreezing up here. Minus 29 this morning. Hard to find liquid water anywhere. Even had to take a hot air gun to the pipes this morning to get some. Brought tears of joy to my eyes to see it in the sink. The ice is so thick on the canal you could run an army tank down it. Even my poor old diesel truck choked on wax crystals in the fuel. Have to wait till it spring before trying to start it again.

I'm suffering bbbbbad from bbboat withdrawal. Hey, I know what! I got one of those ppppputt-putt candle-powered boats for Christmas. Ever see one? Made in India from old pop cans. Silly things run forever. Right after sssssupper I'm going to run me a steaming hot bath. Then I'll climb in there with a hot toddy, my tin can boat, and some waterproof matches! There'll be a hot time in the old town

Paul Browne
Geezer Boatworks

Hi Chuck

Things are moving along. We now have a website, at http://www3.telus.net/wavefront/sucia/index.html

Since you were kind enough to post the invitation, I thought you might let your readers know about the website too. There are some changes to be made, so if it doesn't work first time, wait a while and try again. As well, we're going to be adding to it in the months between now and July, so check back occasionally if you're interested. I'm hoping for lots of additions in the "Who's coming?" section, as we get more pictures to post. I have more names than pictures right now.

Hope you had a great holiday. We were out for a short sail on New Year's, got cold and wet, good thing we had some hot rum along!

Jamie Orr

I came across Max Wawrzyniak's article on rebuilding a CD-12 5.5 hp outboard. I am rebuilding one myself. I was having a heck of a time getting the flywheel off. I tried the gear puller just like you described and could not get it off. Then I read your tip about using the endplay of the crank and rapping it with a mallot. 2 smacks and it was off.....

I'm going to use it for my duck hunting layout boat next year. Perfect size motor for that


Jerry Greenman


reprints of great old books and hundreds of plans, I am making a story for watercraft about them, I visited them over the holidays-worth a link

http://www.tsca.net deserves a link also

http://www.canotage-de-france.com is a friend of mine and great family boats, plans are available for ply versions of le seil!

-mike hanyi

Just wanted to send you along a short note to let you know that the S/V Seayanika (our 49-ft cutter) is launching on January 24th at Driscoll's Boat Works in San Diego. If you remember our project, we began with a Cal 46 bare hull (no deck) and spent the past three years and three months in construction.

Any Duckworks subscribers in the area are invited to attend the launch and subsequent party. Details will be available within a week on our website at http://www.seayanika.com


Katriana Vader
Vista, CA

Duckworks is the only ezine I have ever found compelling and effective enough to pay money to subscribe to, and I am generally delighted with it and find myself up and poking around several times a week. I do have a new beef though.

I realize that shifting the forums to yahoo has probably saved you and your server/support a lot of time and bother and probably cost. None-the-less, I’m not happy about it. When the forums were on the mag site they were fun and most importantly easily accessible. I don’t like having to leave the site, go to another site, remember another log in procedure, etc. etc. to check in on the conversations in the forums. It’s like having to put down a magazine or newspaper and get up and go to another room and find another magazine to read a column or article that was supposed to be in the magazine you already subscribed to. It really has destroyed the usefulness of the forum feature for me, and seeing how few members the general forum has on yahoo, I suspect it has done so for others too.

Grumble grumble. Bu,t like I say, you’re the first ezine I’ve paid to subscribe to and I plan to renew when that time comes.

David Arnold

Versailles, KY

No projects at present however I am mulling over Howard Chappelle's "Camp Skiff" which is the progenitor of "Redwing". I am scaling the drawings to come up with a set of offsets. I am thinking of a hull model @ 1-1/2" per foot to test the offsets. The drawing is one sheet with no offsets and no narrative information at all. I have obtained a xerox of Mr Chappelles "Waterman" from an early "How to Build 20 Boats" that has a lot of information that would help with "Camp Skiff". Also I have Chappelles book on boat construction which really answers most of the questions. Ten years or so ago I lofted "Camp Skiff" but crudely. With that effort I added 2" to each station to expand it to 19' plus or minus. It looked good enough that I'm still interested.

Bob Chamberland

Chuck ,

Having read some of the letters and stuff in build reports about casting lead and an even more bizarre method of adding weight by boring and encapsulating steel washers I would offer another alternative -

In the UK sheet lead is still easily availablein various gauges, it is normally used for roofing purposes. It is easily cut to shape, even quite complex ones - so why not use multiple sheets laminated together and then epoxy encapsulated to get the same result as a casting. A bit less macho but a much more elegant solution.

I am cosidering building a Micro and this is the approach I would plan on using, Hope this prompts some dsicussion!

Regards Dave C

I'm looking for John L. Pruitt, the designer of the No Frills 15. He lived in Stockbridge GA in 1997.

ps -- Great magazine, keep up the good work :-)

Dear Chuck,

I was reading your latest e-tome and decided to share my thoughts about weighty matters, vis-a-vis rudders and daggerboards. As related in Jim Michalak's fine book and T. Marsh's recent article, pouring lead is a bit of a bother. I was pondering this one day, while watching one of my favorite movies ("Heist" by David Mamet). In the movie, a switch is made. Plastic cases that are supposed to be full of gold are actually found to be full of large fender washers. As they say - the light bulb suddenly lit up.

And so I tried it. I took a daggerboard blank of 3/4 inch birch ply and bored it with a Forstner bit to within 1/16 of the other side, 1 1/2 inch diameter, for the biggest steel fenderwashers I could find. I gave each washer a quick scour with a pot srubbing pad. Then I drilled some very small holes in the side walls of the drilled crater. Then I mixed up some epoxy. Poured some in the bottom and inserted a washer, then pored some more epoxy then another washer, etc, etc. Although steel is not as dense as lead, I think this is a viable alternative.

Bob Patterson

Hope you guys have better weather than we do. Currently experiencing white-out conditions. Building a new Kate, this time from modified plans with a wider beam and deeper draft enabling a raised seat for Renee. Using 1/8" ply and it's coming in super light. Any way I ran out of epoxy and when I couldn't get Raka (moving) I ordered from Noah's and got West System stuff along with some 3.4oz glass. I just used the stuff and was amazed at the difference in epoxies. This stuff does not seem to sag. I was always under the impression all epoxy was the same. If I were technically inclined I'd investigate further. Has someone done such a study and if not why don't you try to get someone to investigate.

Steve Fisher
Mr. Welsford:

I read your article in Duckworks and I enjoyed the tips on stitch and tape construction. I built a mini-kayak some time back using this method (also called 'stitch and glue' by some), and although the little craft has given excellent service, the appearance of its seams dismayed me. I look forward to building my next project using your tips.

One thing I did do on that kayak might be worth mentioning. There was no copper wire to be found here, other than house wire stuff which was very expensive and too heavy. Instead, I used a roll of "mechanic's wire," a mild steel wire that bends easily and can be purchased at any auto parts store. I wrapped the wire in a spiral around a dowel of sufficient size, slid the coil off the dowel, and cut "rings" from the spiral. As I was wrapping the wire around the dowel, I coated it with automobile wax. When the seams were fully cured, I cut each wire tie twisted slightly and the wires pulled out. A little unthickened epoxy filled the holes nicely, using duct tape on one end of the hole to keep the epoxy from running out.

At the time, I didn't think of using plastic ties, and these would have no doubt been easier since they don't need to be removed. The mechanic's wire, however, is much less expensive and the remainder of a roll of wire has hundreds of other uses as well.

Rodger Mathews
I am French, living near lakes and white waters rivers. I bought, several (!) weeks ago, by Amazon.com, the Thomas Hill "Ultralignht Boatbuilding" book. I received it yesterday.
But, two days before, absolutely by chance, I discovered your magazine, and the Lapstrake canoe built by Chuck Leinweber. Without its images and explanation, I would probably never understood the book and the way to build
canoe by this method.
ThenS a big thanks from France
Rodolphe Clauteaux
I have a subscription and it's become a way of life for me, essential daily reading. I think it's great how you manage to keep the site fresh and interesting.
Great work. - Neil