Doc Bemer Build – Day 3 and Colored Boats

For most boats you can have any color you want, so long as it’s white.. to paraphrase Henry Ford.   When it comes to color…a commercial builder may throw on a decal featuring their brand name along with a blue splash of some sort.   Meh.  OK.  So, white does have advantages, such as keeping the boat relatively cool on a hot Summer’s day, but it is so boring, and for boats such as the Doc Bemer, such thinking is a swirling vortex sucking all creativity into the great abyss.  That’s perhaps ever so slightly over-stated, but a boat such as “Doc” simply demands more.

Homebuilders get more creative.  Sometimes.   Well… even often.   I’m not sure what direction I am going, but I’ll use these as inspiration.  Please feel free to send me more!

pt boat two






Doc Bemer build, Day Three:

I have a full time job, and then some, as program director of a classical music radio station.   I have a home from the late 1940s that needs repairs to something on any given day of the week.  My car needs an oil change, the carpet in the living room need needs cleaning.  I sleep.  I cook.   And whenever possible, when time and energy allows, I build boats.

Often that means squeezing in a minute or two of boat building between other responsibilities, and other pleasures, for that matter… and as I write this I get a call that someone forgot to do something at that radio station, so I have to head in.   Another 1.5 hours gone.   When someone forgets, the boss does it.   All of this is to say I can’t always wait for the perfect situation to build boats.  For example, when I did the fillets on my boat yesterday it was after a long day at the boat show, and about 18 hours later the epoxy still isn’t totally set.  Pretty far from it, actually.   This is where I remember seeing something about not using the stuff at temperatures of less than 55.   Since yesterday’s high was about 70, I thought I was safe.   Apparently not.   I’ll head off to work, then come back about midday to see if rising temperatures have worked their magic.


The fillets are setting up fine, and I did add another layer of material to give the fillet just a bit more oomph.

I find that when it comes to building boats I spend half my time looking at what I’ve done with an eye toward my next steps.  This is especially so when I am building my own design.   There are no directions to follow, so all decisions about order, plywood thickness, and support structure are mine to make.  I imagine myself on one of my favorite rivers and think, will I be worried about anything I’ve done?   So far, no.

photo (37)


See all Doc Bemer Build Stories

Reminder:  This is what I am building.

basic design view

A website about Shantyboats and affordable living on the water. More than 800 stories to date, and growing.


  1. Egg – crate type of construction is simple and very strong.
    Any stresses acting on the hull are very well dispersed throughout the structure .

    I considered using it for my own houseboat build , but decided that there would be issues with all the many small compartments restricting good air flow and ventilation.I really think that one of the best ways to prevent rot in plywood , is to have a good fresh air flow throughout the boat, particularly below the floor.

Comments are closed.