Boat Building Project

IMPORTANT: Please read the Terms and Conditions BEFORE using any material from this site

Warning: Assume that what I shall describe is a death trap and it is your look out if you go near the water in it but follow these words as a mind experiment at least.



To be authentic in design and as authentic is construction and materials as is possible given money and skill restraints.


Like this Romano-British Effort


Build your own Roman-Celtic boat

As an interim and to get a thing that will float why not build a Romano-Celtic river craft? The nice thing is that as long as you keep it in proportion it can be any size you want, afford, can transport. 

Simplest punt is this one the Charleston Bateau

The key to the "celtic" construction, as in the bateau, are planks heavily nailed to timbers and through them with the nail turned over and driven back in. Planks for sides are flush not overlapped. cross bottom timbers with separate timbers nailed to planks. Seams luted with linen thread or moss and beeswax or resinn(can be mixed) for authentic or modern sealant for efficiency. Hand forged nails perhaps.

Illustration in Osprey Late Roman Infantryman "Plate G Special Operations Rhine crossing"


To be built on the principles of the Boyne coracle but like a double-ended Navog in design. Covering could be of leather but economics suggest a textile covering sealed and waterproofed by a tree sourced tar or pitch. Though leather or hide is the material spoken of in the tales of old currachs there is a case for cloth.

Cloth was available in Dark Age Britain and Ireland and in large enough pieces to make sails. Certainly in the 19th Century they used flannel for coracles. The resulting boat would be about half the weight of a hide covered one and more easily covered.

Basketwork skin or cloth covered currachBasketwork skin or cloth covered currach

Boyne Coracle modelBoyne Coracle model


I helped a little bit recently with the build of  a copy of a 17th Century fishing and general purose boat built on currach lines for speed and economy. Overseeing the work was the designer and main boatbuilder Rory McPhee. Boat is due to be launched soon but in the meantime here this the nearly completed boat frame soon to be covered in canvas.