Sea Urchin - Plans and instructions

4 reviews

Sale price$30.00


Available only as Digital Download


A Ten-foot Traditional Rowboat by Simon Watts

This is a PDF, digital download.

Native to Nova Scotia, Canada, and in particular, the South Shore area.

Plans are 2 pages, book is 25 pages.


Length: 10' 2"

Beam: 3' 10"

Weight: 120 pounds (1/2" planking)

Skill needed: Intermediate

Level of Detail: Above average

No lofting required

If ordering Digital plan sets: These files are in PDF format.  Some designs will have just a single page needed to be printed on large paper... typically if they had full-sized mold patterns. Other pages could be printed on letter or tabloid size paper, if you want to save printing costs. You'll see a measurement on pages that have full-sized drawings, so your local print shop will just need to print to that size.


“Your downloads are ready” will be the subject line of an email you’ll receive from us—once we’ve processed your digital order. That email has the link to click, so you can then download the file.

This isn't an "instant" process, so if we're asleep, you may need to wait for regular business hours for us to process the order. Although we are quite timely, we may not be processing on weekends & holidays. 


Materials: (orig. boat) Eastern white pine planking, red oak frames fastened with galvanized iron clench nails and bolts.

Plans: Original Sea Urchin measured by Sam Manning, 1985. Plans drawn by Bill Nielsen, 1993. Now on permanent exhibit at the Maritime Museum in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Time to Build: 3-4 weeks with part-time help.

Materials: (new boat) Eastern white pine, white oak frames. Fastened with copper rivets, bronze ring-shank nails and bronze carriage bolts.

Special features: I bought the original boat, second hand from Jim Smith in 1968. Named Sea Urchin by my children the boat is easily rowed and handled by youngsters. It tows well and makes a good tender to a larger vessel although rather too heavy to be conveniently carried on deck.

A brief explanation...
Over the past several years I've had a number of requests for plans of the boats I used to build with small classes across the U.S. and Canada. The idea was to take students through the entire process of building a lapstrake boat from a pile of lumber to a finished boat in a week or eight days. The goal--which was seldom missed--was to have the boat painted and ready to launch on the last day of class. Most of the students developed the confidence and the skills to go home and build their own boats--which was the point of the class.

I chose boats that combined elegance with practicality and that had a history going back--in some cases--hundreds or even a thousand years. I call them classics because they were (in the words of a student) carpentry made art. Mature designs that had reached a balance between the purpose for which they were built, the materials then available and the skills and techniques current at the time.

In 1988 I began recording the class-built boats on paper so as to give the students a preview of what they were embarked on--and the survivors a record of what had been accomplished. Plans were drawn by Bill Nielsen, a friend and colleague of many years which included full-size patterns of the molds, transom and other vital parts. This allowed the builder to skip the arcane, time-consuming ritual known as lofting and proceed directly to making patterns for the actual boat.

I've now had the original drawings, drawn on 30 by 40 inch sheets, scanned and put on disc. Any large format printer can print them out, full-size, but printers--and their operators--do vary and you should check that the printed version does not deviate from the original by more than 0.25%--about 1/8 inch in 50 inches. Do this by checking two of the longest dimensions, both directions, with a scale.

I also urge you to study the plans while reading the manual so you have a good grasp of the entire project. When you get baffled by some detail, make it full-size in scrap wood and then again until you understand how it goes together. I had to do this a number of times when building Silver Thread because techniques, materials and fastenings had changed over the intervening century.

Along with the pleasure of owning a boat you have built yourself you'll find a great satisfaction in building something with a pedigree, a history going back well before living memory. I am convinced that keeping these traditions alive is a compelling reason to continue building small boats-and building them in wood.
-Simon Watts

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
Vidmantas Jackevicius
Nice plan

Nice book and plane.

Peter Polivka

Looks like a fun project!

gary goetzke

Sea Urchin - Plans and instructions

joyce collins

So far so good

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