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Built a pirogue, now on to bigger plans

Apr 23, 2020
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My name is George and I've recently joined this forum to get advice and suggestions on my next build. My friend and I built a couple of pirogues in Lafayette using the "Cajun Secret" plans and would now like to build a slightly wider and longer boat with a flat back transom to accommodate an electric or small gas motor. We've learned quite a bit through the construction of the 'rogues and through the numerous sea trials so we have a rough idea of what we want to build. I've also purchased Uncle John's wooden Jon boat plans as supplemental advice.

Pirogue Pros
  • Light weight car/truck toppers. I haul mine on top of a Toyota corolla and can load/unload by myself no problem.
  • Classic style boat and an homage to cultural, historical roots. These get more looks and conversations started than my old off-the-shelf fishing kayak.
  • Only requires a couple sheets of ply and some extra lumber
  • Flat bottom allows for less drag over veg., shallow drafting, and stability. I can stand and push pole in the 'rogue better than my fishing yak
  • Maneuverability. Turns on a dime and cuts through cypress tree swamps quicker and quieter than any motor boat.
Pirogue Cons
  • Hard to get in and out of in deep water.
  • Pointy bow and stern hard to lay on when froggin
  • Skegs provide little help with tracking on long straight paddles
  • Low sidewalls take in water in choppy water
  • Requires separate hardware for motor mounting
  • Can only accommodate 2 adults and minimal gear

Happy Middle Ground Boat
  • Flat transom for small motor
  • Similarly rake at bow but less on stern
  • Flat front with platform to lay/stand on
  • More substantial dry compartments for batteries, electronics, first aid kit, etc.
  • Wider bottom to increase payload and potentially accommodate 3 adults
  • Slightly longer than 'rogue but still small enough to fit in truck bed with extender
  • Ability to explore more add-ons and features like gear racks, stake out pole guides, cleats, poling platform, gun box, bow fishing lights, etc.
  • Option to install swivel seat posts
  • Experiment with different paints and coatings like gator glide and hydromat
Any cool ideas for design, features, things to avoid, etc. would be awesome.

Right now we are trying to source marine grade plywood (Hogan's Hardwoods was our original go-to and they have since changed ownership and don't carry marine ply anymore) so any leads on that would be great too!

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oldbuffpilot

Well-Known Member
May 13, 2014
404
12
77
Central Kansas and Central Texas
Real impressive classic pirogues, nice work. There are some folks on here that thrive on traditional building, I'm sure you will hear from them soon. Strip stitch and glue is not traditional, but is my current go to method becaue it's so light weight. JEM Watercraft Crawdad may meet your needs. I've built three of them, my favorite boat so far. SS&G is pretty simple and less expensive than Marine ply, and is an attention getter. Don't know where you're located, Clarks Hardware in Houston has 3 & 4mm Okume. Welcome to the madness!

Andy
 
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Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,800
136
83
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
Nice looking gear, George. And good sounding ideas. When you mentioned a square transom for a small outboard, I did have a thought.

I offer a suggestion that the transom be square only on top, where the motor clamps will be mointed. Th bottom of that transom from, say, a few finger widths above the waterline, could be pointy like the bkw. You will have less turbulence (read “drag”) that way. If the boat Is hydrodynamically clean, it puts the water back together as neatly as it parts it,

And, welcome aboard here. Wooden boat folks are at least four to five times nicer than normal, sane people.
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,170
20
South Louisiana
Welcome. Good looking boats ya got there.

Something to think about. With all of the options you're talking about, it might take it out of the realm of "back of the truck" to "I gotta get a trailer for this beast." Nothing wrong with that, but every option adds weight and size. If you're planning for this boat to plane, the wider the better and keep that width all the way back including the transom. It sounds like you're wanting a small jon boat. A jon boat does a lot of things well except paddling.

My thoughts on marine ply. Douglas fir ply is 3 times as expensive as pine ply, heavier and the outer plies split no matter how much paint you put on them. Okume ply is really good, but really needs glass and epoxy. Sanded pine ply is my go to, but i found out that you can't take straight sides and square ends for granted anymore. Structurally, I don't see much difference in it and douglas fir.
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,170
20
South Louisiana
No, he inquired about putting a small motor on the boat. Depending how small, it could conceivably get a small boat up on plane if the shape is right. He mentioned "wider bottom and full transom". Not pirogue territory anymore. My nephew had a 10 foot flat bottom aluminum boat that would plane easily with a 4 hp engine. If he's talking displacement hull with no planing, then a small lower transom would be in order.
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,650
36
Welcome and thank you for joining in. Your boats look outstanding. We should probably be seeking advice from you. I have always liked the "Cajun Secret's" form and lines.
You have brought some interesting ideas and questions to the table. I'll put my 2 cents in. Mostly food for thought. Seems you have a good idea of what you want or need. No one design will do everything well. You may have to compromise or prioritize what features or performance you want. Already a decision has been put forth by posters. Do you want a planning hull or a displacement hull?. I assume displacement since you are considering an electric troll motor.
Jumping in. A Jon boat will do a creditable job for either but you will have to build to different features to get the most performance. Only you will know what need. I think your biggest challenge will be how to build it large enough to do all the things you listed and it still fit in, and be light enough to load in the truck.
Some more "food for thought". If you power with gas and you intend to paddle when you fish or frog you might consider a Ogeechee River Boat. Odd looking but it's design features match your criteria pretty well.
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More Info:
 
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Apr 23, 2020
10
0
33
Real impressive classic pirogues, nice work. There are some folks on here that thrive on traditional building, I'm sure you will hear from them soon. Strip stitch and glue is not traditional, but is my current go to method becaue it's so light weight. JEM Watercraft Crawdad may meet your needs. I've built three of them, my favorite boat so far. SS&G is pretty simple and less expensive than Marine ply, and is an attention getter. Don't know where you're located, Clarks Hardware in Houston has 3 & 4mm Okume. Welcome to the madness!

Andy
I've never tried stitch and glue but my friend and I have considered it. I've even considered a CNC pre-cut kit but still a little too pricey and less original. Luckily my friend is a skilled carpenter and has a lot of knowledge and most importantly....tools. He also installs furniture on boats so he knows some of the tricks of the trade. My other friend has a Gheenoe and sometimes we mothership it out to land locked lakes in the basin to fish in peace. I really like the idea of a hybrid boat with the stability of a flat bottom skiff but the speed and maneuverability of a canoe. The Crawdad seems like an awesome idea but the paneling and convex shape of the side walls may make it more complex than we can handle. Plus, I don't want to spend more money on plans!
 
Apr 23, 2020
10
0
33
Nice looking gear, George. And good sounding ideas. When you mentioned a square transom for a small outboard, I did have a thought.

I offer a suggestion that the transom be square only on top, where the motor clamps will be mointed. Th bottom of that transom from, say, a few finger widths above the waterline, could be pointy like the bkw. You will have less turbulence (read “drag”) that way. If the boat Is hydrodynamically clean, it puts the water back together as neatly as it parts it,

And, welcome aboard here. Wooden boat folks are at least four to five times nicer than normal, sane people.
This is why I knew posting here would be a good idea. Sometimes its hard to see the big picture when approaching a project with a novice's eye! We may taper and slightly rake the stern like the pirogue but then truncate the breast hook or great a transom "bracket" to keep the lines and reduce drag but accommodate a trolling motor at the same time.
 
Apr 23, 2020
10
0
33
Welcome. Good looking boats ya got there.

Something to think about. With all of the options you're talking about, it might take it out of the realm of "back of the truck" to "I gotta get a trailer for this beast." Nothing wrong with that, but every option adds weight and size. If you're planning for this boat to plane, the wider the better and keep that width all the way back including the transom. It sounds like you're wanting a small jon boat. A jon boat does a lot of things well except paddling.

My thoughts on marine ply. Douglas fir ply is 3 times as expensive as pine ply, heavier and the outer plies split no matter how much paint you put on them. Okume ply is really good, but really needs glass and epoxy. Sanded pine ply is my go to, but i found out that you can't take straight sides and square ends for granted anymore. Structurally, I don't see much difference in it and douglas fir.
We are def. going to be walking a tight rope with regards to transportability while incorporating all of the ideas that we have. I think the main reason I want to marginally increase the length, width, and side wall height is to make it a little more "capable" of standard fishing/hunting activities than the 'rogues. Plus I don't want to just end up building a pirogue with a flat transom. Being able to paddle would be a huge benefit so your feedback has got me thinking....
We really like the 3/8" okoume marine ply and found that it was relatively easy to work with. It's just hard to find and expensive. We may have to consider pine if we can't order marine ply.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,800
136
83
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
3/8” Okoume may be more than needed? More money, more weight. All of my boats are 4mm, about 3/16”. If the flat bottom isn’t strong enough, 2 or 3 of 2” wide strips of the thinner wood, spaced, say, a foot or so apart, running most of the length of the bottom, may well be all the stiffeners needed? Can be on the outside as skid plates, or on the inside; either way works.
Just a thought to consider.
 
Apr 23, 2020
10
0
33
Welcome and thank you for joining in. Your boats look outstanding. We should probably be seeking advice from you. I have always liked the "Cajun Secret's" form and lines.
You have brought some interesting ideas and questions to the table. I'll put my 2 cents in. Mostly food for thought. Seems you have a good idea of what you want or need. No one design will do everything well. You may have to compromise or prioritize what features or performance you want. Already a decision has been put forth by posters. Do you want a planning hull or a displacement hull?. I assume displacement since you are considering an electric troll motor.
Jumping in. A Jon boat will do a creditable job for either but you will have to build to different features to get the most performance. Only you will know what need. I think your biggest challenge will be how to build it large enough to do all the things you listed and it still fit in, and be light enough to load in the truck.
Some more "food for thought". If you power with gas and you intend to paddle when you fish or frog you might consider a Ogeechee River Boat. Odd looking but it's design features match you criteria pretty well.
View attachment 1399
More Info:
For simplicity sake, It will be a displacement hull but a semi-planning hull would be sweet. I can totally envision a shallow hard chine (think modified V hull on a pirogue) but unfortunately we're only Cajun engineers, so that might take a few more boats to warm up to. Any suggestions regarding skegs, rudders, chines, side wall shapes, and rake? I see tons of different hull designs on boats in Louisiana and it amazes me that there are so many variations. I guess a like you said, there will never be one craft that is perfect at everything.
I guess for anyone following this thread, keep in mind that we will mostly be navigating shallow, slow bayous, cypress swamps, small bays, and marsh estuaries.
I've been following Ogeechee River Boat Company of IG for a while now. I'm originally from Georgia myself so I brag that pirogue building isn't just a south Louisiana thing. I really hope that he releases some plans soon.
 
Apr 23, 2020
10
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3/8” Okoume may be more than needed? More money, more weight. All of my boats are 4mm, about 3/16”. If the flat bottom isn’t strong enough, 2 or 3 of 2” wide strips of the thinner wood, spaced, say, a foot or so apart, running most of the length of the bottom, may well be all the stiffeners needed? Can be on the outside as skid plates, or on the inside; either way works.
Just a thought to consider.
The cajun secret pirogue plans called for running boards for the same purpose but the 3/8' okoume was substantial enough. I think we are leaning towards using the lightest, thinnest ply that we can get away with since we navigate waters that dont have that many rocks or hard objects to hit. Not to mention, we won't be traveling very fast either. We only glassed the seams of the bottom of our pirogues but we are considering biting the bullet on the next boat and glassing the whole bottom with a possible coat of gator glide to boot. I'll have to do some research to see where I can order 4mm marine ply and have it shipped to Lafayette.
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,170
20
South Louisiana
Point of interest. Marine ply is not "marine" because the wood has some special rot resistance or the glue is something really special. It's "marine" because it's SUPPOSED to have no voids in the inner layers to promote even bending and strength. Well, the couple of sheets I've had over the years shot that all to hell. There were fewer vods, but still voids. Most any exterior ply nowadays has waterproof glue as a matter of course. Now the pine ply I've been using does have more voids, but those can be minimized by carefull picking through the stacks and laying the pieces out to minimize them..

Check out my hybrid build going on now. As she sits......$70.00 worth of wood and I'll use about half of a $60.00 epxoy kit to finish her. Add another sheet of ply for your build, a bit more wood and you could get by for $175-$200. Lots of bang for the buck.
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,650
36
Regrouping, if you don't mind. No one design will meet all your goals mentioned so far. Only you can decide what your priorities are. My thoughts on some features mentioned:
Boat must fit in truck = measure between wheel wells. That will tell you the maximum beam. 14' to 16' probably max. length. Max. weight determined by size of the boat, but consider how much you want to load.
Outboard power - may be lighter than elec. motor and battery, but more power/speed. Elec.motor = quite and no paddling needed to fish/frogging, etc. Also battery available for other assessors.
Skiff or modified pirogue = pointed front, less capacity/stability than similar size Jon boat.
Skeg, rudder, V bottom may not be first choice for Louisiana shallow waters. A well designed flat bottom boat should not need these.
Rocker/rake Less is best for straight more is better for turning. Your pirogue has "more" so it goes around trees well, but "Skegs provide little help with tracking on long straight paddles". For square end motor boats only enough rake is needed to get the bow above the water line.
4 designs that may work for you. 1. Jon boat with planing hull Stern has max. width. Outboard and probably troll motor also, will not paddle well. 2. Jon boat with displacement hull = elec. troll motor or gas engine with troll motor, will also be too wide to paddle well. 3. River punt = long/narrow Jon boat. Suitable for paddle or troll motor. 4. Ogeechee River boat. Could be gas powered and paddled. The design Jeff Robins builds has increased rake to improve turning. One with less rocker would be more suited to using a motor and paddling straight.
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,170
20
South Louisiana
I think Beekeeper nailed it. A small jon boat or an Ogeechee river boat would be about perfect for your needs. No need for anything but a flat bottom. 2-3 hp gas engine will push it along and will run a LONG time frogging. 6 hp on a wide enough boat would probably get 2 men up on plane, but maybe not 3. The jon boat was THEE boat before the bass boat came along. Bee and I talked about this point to look out for. Allow for the flair of the sides to fit between the wheel wells. That could be a quite a bit wider than the bottom width. More rocker in front cuts down on capacity but makes it easier to run up on a shallow bank for frogs.
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
10,261
90
77
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
Every one keeps describing this boat for some reason but keep over looking it.

Click on this link.............
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,800
136
83
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
I’m not sure that I would let an automobile manufacturer determine the beam of my boat? If the bottom of my boat didn’t fit comfortably between my wheelwells, I’d try inverting the boat, and resting one gunnel on top of a wheelwell, and the other gunnel on the floor.
Just saying. Can’t be harder than getting a canoe or kayak up on top of a car or SUV.
 

beekeeper

Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2009
1,650
36
Chuck, he said for frogging a wider bow end was needed. A skiff would have less capacity and stability than the other boats mentioned for the same length. That is why I overlooked it. A skiff may have some features he should consider, but based on his criteria and goals only he can decided. He has a set of plans for a UJ jon boat and Andy mentioned JEM boats, both have plans for other designs.
Jack, good point about fitting the boat into the truck. Just another feature he has to decide. If the transporting procedure becomes too elaborate (work, time consuming) the boat won;t be practical or get used. I have had boats that were long enough to need the "bed extender" but I decided a shorter boat that I would haul without one was better. I gave up little in performance. If he has to have a "wider" boat he will have to decide.