Adirondack Guide Boat handmade from wooden boat plans

Last winter one of my friends showed me an Adirondack Guide Boat he was building in his basement. I just nodded, having seen many half finished ‘basement projects’ in friend’s basements, wooden boat plans being one of them.
Well this spring he finished his boat and it is looks just amazing.

adirondack guide boat

homemade adirondack guide boat made from wooden boat plans

According to Wikipedia, the Adirondack guide boat is just that , it’s a boat that was used in the Adirondacks by professional guides who had paying passengers, usually from New York City, who wanted to go hunting or fishing and they traveled up to the Adirondack region of upstate New York to do so.

The Adirondack Guide Boat looks a bit like a canoe but they’re have oars  and what’s really cool is that if  you are rowing the boat, and then let the oars rest in the water the boat won’t change direction.

underside and keel of homemade wooden boat

My friend built a classic Adirondack guide boat, these days according to Wikipedia, today they are made of Kevlar and fiberglass, but he was a purist and used all wood.

handmade interior of the wooden boat

It was really really cool to watch him build it.  I was wondering whether they would get the homemade boat out to of the basement when they were building it and when I first saw the boat half built, I was thinking ‘ what’s he doing here?’ but he did indeed build a  beautiful boat.


layers of hull were hand cut

So I wanted share with you all some pictures of the finished Adirondack Guide Boat.  I have become really interested in boat building. My first home made boat is the one sheet plywood boat we made of how to video about. I’m very intrigued by these are small boats aka ‘micro boats’ that you can build out of 1-2  sheets of plywood. stay tuned for more plywood boats build by Eric.

homemade wooden boat

brass screws tie the bow together

Troy-Bilt Flex


  1. Eric Gunnar Rochow says

    hi pat, yes its a beautiful boat. i could not make this, but my friend is a very good carpenter.

  2. Chris Woodward says

    I am sorry but I MUST take issue with your peice.This is not the work of a “purist” building a “classic” guideboat by any strech of the imagination. This boat is a modern fiberglass covered,wood strip replica of the real thing. This is not to disparage the builder for his efforts. First, he built a boat, something few people undertake, and far fewer finish, as you alluded to in your commentary. Secondly, the builder did a comendable job,although using what I would classify as a poor design. Don’t believe everything you read on Wikipedia; the entry on guideboats was written by an idiot who is the marketing agent for his boats.
    I am sorry for being so critical, however it is my mission to educate the public about Adirondack Guideboats. I am from here and build and restore them. Thanks, Chris Woodward

  3. Charles Somelofski says

    Chris Woodward is absolutely correct. I just returned from the Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, Main. I took a 2 week course and we built 2-12′ Adirondack guideboats. Perhaps i’m a traditionalist but in the opinion of anyone studying Adirondack history, these boats are made of WOOD. Seasoned spruce or tamarack are used for the ribs and stems. Cedar or White pine for the planking. In my humble opinion, Kevlar or carbon fiber boats are guideboats in name only. I have built a wherry, 2 Rangeley guideboats and am currently working on a TRADITIONAL Adirondack guideboat. I’ve learned a lot from reading Chris Woodwards website and blogs.

  4. Eric Gunnar Rochow says

    Hi Charles, I think most readers agree that the classic Adirondack boat is made of wood, and can appreciate the classic beauty of them. The newer versions are not the same thing. thanks for taking the time to comment, eric.

  5. Ben says

    What Chris and Charles are saying is that your friend did not build a guideboat in the traditional sense. He used the cedar strip method developed in the 1950s covered with a layer of fiberglass (The fiberglass is clear when impregnated with epoxy). It may be wood, but it is not the traditional technique. Still a nice boat

  6. says

    beatuful boat Eric, and a big undertaking to build by this method,in spite of the “not traditional build method” comment I think the builder deserves a hearty slap on the back for his work. I built an 8 foot pram out of mahogany and marine ply a couple of winters ago and have been very happy with the result, used as a yacht tender. The little boat took a beating last season as my area is all rough stone shores and is very hard on a dinghy but with a bit of sanding and copious layers of paint and varnish she is better than new again. one of the joys of a wooden boat. I have a web page showing the build in progress and the finished dinghy on the water. A very rewarding project and I’m now considering taking on a 14 foot boat that my son and I can safely fly fish from, on the large Scottish lochs which can get fairly rough in a breeze. The boat would also be used on the salt water west coast sea lochs which would require the use of an outboard 4HP most likely. Any suggestions for a suitable boat for the purpose would be studied avidly :-) the web page for my own wee build is

  7. Charles Somelofski says

    I will say that it is no doubt a gorgeous boat. If the Adirondack old time boat builders had modern adhesives and epoxy they would have used them.

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