Rushton IGO 15
November 7, 2011

I've been planning on having the Toledo Community Boathouse host a Family Boat Build for some time now. I've been looking into different building technologies that are best suited to neophytes - technologies that use no toxic glues and a minimum of power tools, yet still result in a beautiful boat. I've found Skin-on-Frame boats to fit my requirements perfectly.

After researching, I decided to try building some of Dave Gentry's designs (found on His boats are simple and beautiful and - a very important consideration - economical to build.

My first attempt was a Chuckanut 15, well documented elsewhere on my website. That is a fine boat, but it wasn't quite as roomy as I like. I tried to fiddle with the design a bit and open up the cockpit a bit and came up with the Chuckanu, sort of a canoe/kayak hybrid. I'm not a real fan of hybrids because they tend to end up filling either task very well.

Then I came across Dave's Rushton IGO 15, Dave's take on Rushton's 1903 design. The only problem is that it is a steam-bent rib design, not Skin-on-Frame. I've never steam bent anything, so I decided to turn it into a Skin-on-Frame (with Dave's permission, of course.

NOTE: Clicking on any of these images will bring up the full 5M -pixel image

Things are hopping at the Boathouse, Greg and Curt are busily finishing up oiling the Winterhawk and Uncle Gabe, getting them ready for next summer. You can see the Rushton IGO on the sawhorses on the left.

I applied for a grant from the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians so we could offer the Family Boat Building program for free. We were awarded the grant and I thought the grantors might like to see what they were funding. Mine was the only display item at the award ceremony (although some guy named Bob sang a song - which was pretty cool.)


I had Keely take a picture of me with the check - my first 'big-assed' check ever. That was way cool. Thank you Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund.

What follows are several pictures of the skeleton of the canoe from different angles. If you don't like boat porn, you can stop reading now.

The boat is 15 feet long and 30" wide (~4545mm x 762mm.) In addition to the two stems and five frames, it has gunnels and inwales, six stringers and a keel.

The floor is made from 1/4" plywood. These floorboards fit between the frames and rest directly on the lowest stringers.

The seats are made from two pieces of 1/2" cedar fence boards, glued together and cut to length. They sit on the highest stringer.

Except for the seating, the boat is completely symmetrical: The stems are the same, Frame 1 is the same as Frame 5, Frames 2 and 4 are also the same.

I made this one out of (relatively) heavy 1/2" Hydrotek for the stems and frames and very green Doug Fir for the wales, stringers and keel. The seats and breasthooks are 1/2" cedar and the floorboards are 5mm Luan. Even so, this boat weighs a scant 42lbs (19kg.) Skin and paint will add another 10lbs (4.5kg.)

For the Family Boat Build, we'll be using 1/2" Meranti ply for the frames, 1/4" Meranti for the floorboards, and seasoned cedar for everything else. I anticipate the finished boats will weigh somewhere between 30 and 40lbs (~14-18kg.)