Thing (I'm thinking) I'll Make

So, I have an awesome CNC and I’ve mastered wooden swords, furniture, housing decor… Time to move onto something more challenging.

What do you guys think about this:

My wife is encouraging me to build one… which is odd considering this will likely make my fail pile a city code violation.


That looks like a hell of a lot of fun type of project. The frame seems easy enough…skinning and finishing it seems like it might be a new set of skills though.

1 Like

Sounds like you’re just gonna have to do it! :grin:

I do like the looks of that Rocket Mk !!. :+1:

1 Like

I pitched the idea in jest. Considering the tepid reception she offers me on many (most) of my ideas I’m thinking she must have added something to her tonic when I wasn’t looking.


Agreed. My wife needs to be very skilled for this one.


I think that would make an awesome project. In fact, I may well have a go at that myself once I have a machine big enough. The only thing I would recommend is to make sure your machine is rigid enough to handle a decent material removal rate or you’ll be there all year. And also, I’d recommend investing in some quality tooling; I’ve seen first hand how inferior cutters can adversely affect even a multi-million dollar machine’s performance

1 Like

That would be quite the project! If my wife said yes to a project like that, my first thought would be, “It’s a trap!” and I’d imagine all the times in the future I’d ask for something and she’d say, “Like the boat?”…

I would love to work on a project like that, until I had to finish it. If I ever retire, I think the first thing I’m going to do is build a cedar canoe. I don’t ever even have to ride on it, I just want to do it, and look at it.


I think the Rocket would be cool if it could accommodate a flathead V-8, they have a classic ‘motorboat’ sound. :+1:

If you’re doing something relying on the CNC, how about prepping a scale kit from the same cut files, and practicing all the steps in miniature first?

This predates my interest in CNC by a couple of decades, but years ago I built a Bolger Gypsy from Build the New Instant Boats starting with a pencil, a tape measure, a framing square, and a circular saw. All the wood came from the local lumberyard. Mast and booms from 2x4’s. I even made the white polytarp sail based on a [Duckworks article],( and a pair or oars, both from scratch.

Since then my youngest daughter and I have built Dave Gentry’s Boardyak - a skin-on-frame sit-on kayak/stand-up paddleboard. Much simpler construction - lashed frames, dacron fabric skin shrunk with a home iron, hardware store oil paint (no epoxy).

Both projects were immensely satisfying. My advice is to go for it at your earliest opportunity.

1 Like

I did the same with a Harold ‘Dynamite’ Payson plan, lotta fun for not a lotta $$$. :grin:

“It’s a trap!”

Oh, I know it is. I know all too well.

1 Like

A length of rope on a silver platter. Hangman’s knot pre-tied…

Personally I think I’d go down this route. The more practice the better, imho, especially for a new skill like skinning a wooden boat.

What engine is the kit designed around? Can it not fit a compact V8? I can’t find any information on that on the site.

Me neither, no mention in the video either. Looks like contact with the plans maker would be a wise move if you were serious about building.

I’m building the outboard version first as I still have children running about and a two seater boat is even less useful than two seater sports cars.

Yeah, I think the DanLee plans aren’t a capture all. But, from my research - a really good set of cnc plans. Here is a bit more information on this.

1 Like

Never underestimate the utility of anything that puts a smile on your face. :grin:


I like the looks of the little inset sketch on that page with the operator apparently wearing something like a WW I aviator’s leather helmet with a ribbon streaming from it and the windscreen on the boat. Somewhere if I haven’t lost it I have a magazine article from the '30s of a similar looking/sized single step hull, possibly a John Hacker design with the rudder quite close to the bow. If boats like that typically ride nose high, I wonder how responsive that would be?

Based on the link provided by @highprobability (I haven’t bought it, just looked at the pic) it looks like there’s enough space for a lightweight, compact V8 of some description. The first and most obvious candidate would be an aluminum GM LS, which tick all the boxes; cheap (if you find one in a junk yard or in a donor car), compact, powerful, fairly fuel efficient, lightweight (in the aluminum block variants) and with plenty of parts found anywhere. They also sound pretty good, and the correct header/exhaust combo could probably get you pretty close to an old school flathead sound without the other compromises.

Another V8 option would be the Toyota/Lexus 1UZ or 3UZ, or the replacement for that engine, the UR family. These are DOHC rather than OHV, so they rev a fair bit more but they still tick most of the other boxes as the LS while being possibly a more interesting choice (I’m a gearhead, and LS swaps have become almost passe online).

Or you could go with something that certainly wouldn’t sound traditional but might be a better performer; a 3.0-3.5L V6, namely the Toyota GR family, the Honda J series, the GM High Feature family or the Ford Cyclone. All of these are ubiquitous (they’re used in virtually all of the vehicles made by their respective manufacturers), efficient, compact and relatively powerful, and proven to be successful in sportier applications.

I’m not much of a boat guy, so I don’t really know exactly how a front mid mounted engine might affect handling, but my understanding is that too much weight up front can lead to bow steering. My gut is telling me that a compact V6 mounted behind the driver, where the gas tank is shown in the illustration, might be the better handling choice, with the drive sent forward and a V-drive used to connect to the prop shaft.

Yeah, the best place to locate a boat’s CG would be a mystery to me and I would think having a stepped hull also makes a big difference. I know many boats from the '20s-'30s had that extreme rear cockpit with engine forward design. I don’t know if it was optimum or not, just like the look.

One of my favorites of the era:

I think of Harry Miller as America’s Ettore Bugatti. The parking garage at Harrah’s Atlantic City casino used to have a Miller Indy car near the elevators, it was a thing of beauty. He was known to tell his employees he’d never dissuade them spending time making his products more esthetically pleasing, the requirement for performance being a given.

And for those from the ‘If a little is good, more is better and too much is just right’ school, there was this :grin::