Taking the Moulds of a Boat


The process of recreating a design, whether a part or the whole vessel has always happened. Even though it is common practice, it does not mean that the approach people use is the same. A huge number of techniques have developed to achieve this goal, depending on the size of the vessel, location, equipment and manpower available, and the reason behind doing it in the first place also influences the process.

In our example, a small sailing dinghy (14' Mayflower) was being replicated. No plans or original moulds were available therefore the boat builder (Marcus Lewis) had to gather this information from existing examples. It was the first step in reviving a disappearing sailing class.

Video Content

Part 1

Step 1 ~ getting the dinghy level
Step 2 ~ setting up your datum
Step 3 ~ taking the measurements

Part 2

Step 3 ~ taking the measurements continued
Step 4 ~ make a stem pattern and mark the plank runs
Step 5 ~ make a transom pattern and mark the plank runs
Step 6 ~ make a pattern of the rudder
Step 7 ~ make a pattern of the centreplate
Step 8 ~ photograph construction details of the boat (knees, mast step, thwarts, rigging points etc.)


Marcus Lewis wanted to recreate a Mayflower 14' sailing dinghy, this was a popular sailing boat with 100 wooden Mayflowers built by Skentlebery in Plymouth over the years, but unfortunately all the patterns and templates were destroyed in a fire in the nineties.

As no plans, patterns or templates exist now, the only source of information is from original sailing dinghies, and to build new, it would be necessary to take the moulds of an example to recreate the dinghy's hull.

Marcus Lewis has access to two Mayflowers, number 6 and 36, he had already completed the process on 36, however, he wanted to confirm the shape and construction details by using number 6 as an earlier example of the dinghy. Once moulds have been taken, he could go straight into the build process, there is a chance that the information collected is not a true representation of the hull, therefore an additional step was taken by Marcus to clean up the information through lofting the lines. This lofting process will be covered in another section.

The process is demonstrated in the accompanying video clips with a step-by-step guide. The conversation with the boat builder, in this case, Marcus Lewis is unscripted and covers the technique from his experience. This was one of the first videos done by the team and the sound quality is not as good as it was hoped. Also as you will see, this was filmed on location in a pretty typical garage and the dinghy being squeezed in with all this 'stuff' does represent a typical setting for this sort of work.

As this is repeating the work carried out on hull number 36, the plywood moulds are cut close to the expected hull shape.

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Tools Required

  • Straight edge
  • Level
  • Square
  • Clamps
  • Tape measure attached to a wooden batten
  • Tape measure (spare)
  • Plumb-bob
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Camera
  • Wooden props
  • Note book

Materials Required

  • Plywood
  • Scrape wood for glue sticks

Training Instruction

 Click to download training lesson plan:

Taking the Moulds
of a Boat

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