Boatbuilding Blog

Previous Boatbuilding

I built five boats before I started this one, and have owned a few other small boats. I’ve worked as a welder, a handyman, and in various other construction fields, so I started with some of the tools and skills needed to complete this project.

First Boat

My ex-wife Lynne and I built this 11 (12?) foot gaff-rigged stripper from a tiny line drawing I found in a library book, sometime around 1984. I think it may have been a Bolger design – maybe an Acorn Skiff?  It was a great little boat. We played on the Columbia river and Idaho lakes. I sewed the sail from a kit.

Sailing  Rowing without the sailing rig

Second Boat

A somewhat bigger project – a Fred Bingham Allegra 24 we named Kalliska. This was an Airex-core fiberglass cutter. Lynne and I built this one together also, in an old railroad shed in Pullman, WA. Built in 1986-1989, more-or-less. We lived on this for about a year, cruising the San Juan’s and Gulf Islands.

Airex construction Starboard bert construction Fitting the forward bulkhead  Coming out of the boatbuilding shed

Launching in Shilshole  Kalliska   Interior under sail

Sailing the Gulf Islands At anchor

Third Boat

Plywood boat (16′ ?) – never completely finished, although used a lot anyway with a 10 HP outboard or with oars. Stitch and Glue construction of 1/4 inch fir marine ply. Built in the basement of a rental house in Ballard, WA.  I was working as a welder at the time and made the nice truck rack to fit it.

Boat and truck

Fourth and Fifth Boats

I made the first six-hour canoe (first picture foreground) from doorskins found in a dumpster at a construction site I was working on. The seat was some foundation insulation foam from the same dumpster. The whole boat cost about $40 to build. The second boat was made from better materials. and was designed to nest the other one in. Both boats fit inside my work van. Meryll and I paddled these to Hope Island from Snee-Ooosh a number of times, and around the duck ponds near the Arboretum in Seattle.

Van and nesting boats   Hope Island  Paddling


Other Boats

– that I didn’t build

Larkina I – 14 foot 1957 runabout. Meryll and I took this all over the San Juan’s, tying up at the dinghy docks and camping at all the parks.

At the dinghy dock in Friday Harbor

Larkina II – Sixteen foot Larson, built in 1967. In addition to going all over the Sound, a couple of years ago we trailered her to Lund and cruised Desolation Sound for two weeks. This was the trip that convinced me to build my current boat. Hauling all the gear up to a campsite every night, and putting up with mosquitoes just seemed like more trouble than it was 20 years ago.  We still own this boat.

Swimming off the side in Desolation Sound  Anchored out Desolation Sound  Deer Harbor, Orcas Island


  1. I’d love to learn more about your Allegra 24. I have one in Bellingham but am trying to learn more.

    Comment by Ali — March 11, 2009 @ 2:43 am

  2. Hi Tom,

    Any chance you still have the plans for the Allegra 24? I would be interested in purchasing them. Beautiful boat.


    Comment by svreallife — April 9, 2014 @ 8:42 am

    • No, they disappeared somewhere along the way. I wish I still had them – they aren’t available anymore.

      Comment by tomlarkin — April 9, 2014 @ 9:25 am

  3. do you have access or find your lost Allegra 24 plans. I have someone in need to finish his. Thanks!! Bob

    Comment by bobby w sanders — January 23, 2019 @ 7:46 am

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