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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.