Lofting a Flat Bottom Skiff
“Lofting” is the mapping of a three-dimensional structure (in this case, a boat) to document its shape. Having this skill opens the door to a wide variety of boats to build. It also offers precise control over the construction process, helps us to better understand the designer’s plans, allows us to make corrections, and renders patterns from which we can build the boat’s pieces. In a very real sense, lofting allows the builder to work out construction techniques on paper, before cutting any wood.
In this episode, boatbuilder Greg Rössel joins host Rich Hilsinger to explain the basic steps required to loft the Asa Thomson skiff, a simple flat-bottom boat. The goal is to replicate, at full size, enough of the lines shown on the scale drawing so one can build the four station molds, the stem, and the transom. Throughout the episode’s four chapters, we’ll discuss the tools required, the lofting “floor” or “board,” and how to draw the boat’s profile, half breadth plan, and body plan. The viewer will also learn how to gather extra construction details such as plank lines, a construction base for each station mold, and the shapes of the stem, stern post, and skeg.