Plank, Scantlings, Spars, and other Lumber Dimensions from the Chapelle Plans

I got hold of three excellent loblolly logs – 22 inches in diameter and 14 feet long, perfectly straight.  Before milling these, I wanted to know what are the most common dimensions for planking, scantlings, spars, transoms, frames, etc., for Eastern Shore sailing skiffs.  I also have white oak timber to mill for the keelson, frames, stem, and transom for the 17 ft crabbing skiff I’m building,

I surveyed plans for all the skiffs 16-26 ft in length which are  documented by Howard Chapelle in these publications:

  • American Small Sailing Craft (ASSC)
  • Boatbuilding (BB)
  • Chesapeak Bay Crabbing Skiffs (CBCS)
  • Boating Magazine (BM)

I wrote all of the dimensions fromt he Chapelle plans into an Excel table.  The table is very wide, so I present it below in three sections, as images.  The three sections can be printed and side by side.

You can download the table here in different formats:

Each table below shows Model and Overall Length, for reference.  Table 1 also shows the Source (ASSC, BB, CBCS, BM)

Each of the tables is arranged by Overall Length.

Table 1 shows dimensions for:

  • Bottom Plank
  • Side Plank
  • Chine Log
  • Sheer Clamp
  • Keelson

Table 2 shows dimensions for:

  • Skeg
  • Frames
  • Transom
  • Stem
  • Rudder
  • Centerboard
  • Centerboard Trunk

Table 3 shows dimensions for:

  • Thwarts
  • Deck
  • Mast Max Diameter
  • Mast Height
    … and Notes

Planning for my 17 ft skiff, I see in Table 1 that keelsons in the 17-18 ft range are commonly 1-1/2″ thick by 6-7″ wide, or 4″ thick by 6-7″ wide.

Table 1

Table 2

Table 3

I also write about sail-and-oar cruising on the Chesapeake: