Building Devlin's Scaup
By Eric Patterson
Sam Devlin In His Black Brant
In 1997 I hunted with Jeff Smith in his Black Brant duck boat which he built himself.
I was immediately impressed with his boat, which was designed by Sam Devlin of Devlin
Designing Boatbuilders. Sam's design provides a very low profile boat that is amazingly
roomy and seaworthy. This boat hunts two comfortably with lots of room below the deck
for decoys and gear. Equipped with grass rails and natural camo the boat will dissapear
just about anywhere. It combines the roominess of a jon boat with the stealthiness of
traditional duck boats.
Jeff Smith In His Black Brant In His Black Brant
After hours of discussions with Jeff and some serious thought
I decided to build my own duck boat. Initially, I was concerned with building a boat
from plywood. I was under the impression that plywood boats didn't last and were high
maintenance. I read up on modern boatbuilding and learned of the recent developments
in epoxy technology. Boats encapsulated in epoxy are low maintenance and can last a
lifetime. Devlin's boats are constructed from marine plywood and epoxy using the
Stitch-and-Glue technique. In a nutshell, Stitch-and-Glue consists of
cutting the two bottom pieces and the two sides from plywood, stitching them together
with wire, and then epoxying and fiberglass taping them together at the joints.
This technique creates an extremely strong
structure which requires fewer parts and minimal woodworking skills as opposed to
traditional boatbuilding techniques.
Not having any boatbuilding experience I purchased a book and a video tape from Devlin.
After reading and watching them I'm convinced they're a must for the first time
builder. To order for yourself, click the book or the video.
After crawling all over Jeff Smith's Black Brant, I decided to see if I could have the boat
increased in size. I contacted Sam Devlin and he said he could change the design for a small
fee. The length has been increased from 14' to 16' and several inches have
been added to the width. With the 2' length increase 18" will be added to the cockpit area.
This larger boat, called the Scaup, will accomodate a 40 hp outboard.
Black Brant Isometric View
Scaup Top View
Scaup Isometric View
A major purpose of this web page is to document the construction of a Devlin duckboat. As such
I have done my best to capture the construction chronologically for others who want to undertake
this most rewarding project.