Welcome to the Backyard Boatbuilding. Here you’ll find high-quality content on small boat repair, restoration, design and building. The goals of this website are:

I.   To resurrect the tradition of backyard boatbuilding and inspire the next generation to build, repair, or restore their own boats and get out on the water;

II.  To promote the best practices, tools, tips, techniques, and resources available to produce reliable repairs and excellent new builds; 

III. To document, preserve and share information about small boats and related projects from around the world. 

You’ll find information like:

~ Skills, techniques and possible solutions to your most challenging repairs and problems. There’s in-depth articles and case studies on the nuances of fasteners types;  the do’s and don’ts of adhesives; selecting the right woods and understanding the properties of various boatbuilding materials. Learn from how-to articles on: 

  • model making
  • lofting
  • rebuilding hatches
  • steam bending
  • repairing rot and fixing holes
  • painting & varnishing
  • sewing sails and rigging
  • planking & corking
  • pattern making
  • jig building
  • spar building
  • epoxy & glass work
  • systems
  • bronze & lead casting
  • yacht joinery

~ Tools of the trade- what you need and what you don’t; where to find great old tools, as well as  how to go about repairing and restoring them; you’ll also learn how to make your own tools and even how to make do without. (You’ll especially enjoy the flow chart I’ve developed for determining whether you should buy a tool or not :))link

~ Resources: books to get, courses and classes to take, build logs and social media channels to follow,  as well as plans, kits and instruction that’ll take some of the mysteries and headaches out of boatbuilding;

~  Discounts and deals on supplies, materials, tools and equipment that have been specifically negotiated just for readers of Backyard Building;

~ Interviews, photo essays, videos and updates about cool projects from around the world: from the Feluccas of the Nile to the Gondolas of Venice; from Ol’ Bill’s backyard to the boat sheds of New England; from the pirogues of Louisiana to the seal skin boats boats of Aleutian Islands; from the longboats of Thailand to the plywood drift boats of the Pacific Northwest; and from every coastline, lake and river to every pond and backwater swamp in between.   

Of course there’s more, tons more. But essentially it boils down this: If you’re into kayaks, canoes, SUPs, lake runabouts, works skiffs, drift boats, dug out canoes, skin-on-frame building, carvel planking, day sailers, camp cruisers, prams, sailing dinghies; or you enjoy reading about paddling, rowing, sailing, camp cruising and single-handed expeditions; or if you’re into small outboards, solar propulsion and simple systems; and you want to see how it’s done by the professionals; or even if you just like looking at and messing about in small boats- then this IS the site for you.

Here’s the best part: Much of what you’re going to get is FREE. Not all of it, but most. Why? Because fundamentally, we believe in the moral obligation to share what we know about this stuff and what we have learned along the way. It not only benefits you, but it helps us better understand what we think we know. We’ll promote products and services to keep the lights on, but we’re in the business preserving traditional knowledge and skills. With any luck, we’ll help keep boatbuilding, repair and restoration, both accessible, affordable and alive.

Want to help? Glad you asked, here’s 3 things you can you can do:

  1. If you like this website and what we are all about, consider sharing the love and passing the BYBB link on to you boat-loving friends:
  1. You can also really help BYBB by subscribing to our social media channels. The more likes, subscribes, and comments we receive, the better our content places in the search engines. The more we have, the more content we can provide. Those links are:
  1. If you’re feeling extremely grateful and want to financially contribute to ongoing research, the preservation of historical small craft, various build/restoration projects, and the overall development of this platform- why not consider a one time donation or small monthly contribution?  You can pay it forward here: 

Questions, comments,  JV/partnership opportunities, and general inquiries about Backyard Boatbuilding can be sent to: john@backyardboatbuilding. I am grateful for your interest and look forward to hearing from you.

Fair Winds, Following Seas, and Happy Building,

John Bishop
Backyard Boatbuilding


John Bishop runs a full-time business as a shipwright/boatbuilder in Seattle, Washington. He’s also the primary editor, writer, photographer, videographer, researcher, marketer, web developer, tech support, customer service representative, bookkeeper, and business manager behind the Backyard Boatbuilding Newsletter and website. He guarantees that mistakes will be made and promises to occasionally say things you don’t agree with.