Johnboat Printed Plans

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10"/ 3.0 m


For PDF plans, click HERE

suited to a variety of uses from fishing to duck hunting

Heres a lightweight boat suited to a variety of uses from fishing to duck hunting. Known in different parts of the country as a jon boat or punt, the longer version also resembles a classic punt design.

The eight foot version shown is ideal for one, suitable for two, and floats in about four inches of water. The wide flat bottom provides stability to stand, and the boat may be paddled, rowed, poled or motored, and the smallest of transom mounted motors will easily push the lightweight hull. It's an ideal first boat project.

The boat can be built lightweight or heavy-duty, and at about 40 pounds for the lightweight 8 foot version and 75 pounds for the 12 footer it can easily be cartopped. A lightweight boat supports a larger payload, but the real advantage is in getting on and off the water, loading, unloading and storing the boat. And with the slick hard graphite bottom the boat may be dragged like a sled over parking lots, logs and gravel beaches, making launch and retrieval even easier.

The sealed fore and aft compartments provide hull reinforcement, seating, dry storage and safety flotation, and are easy to make watertight using beads of thickened epoxy. The center thwart seat may be adjusted fore and aft for trim to accommodate loading or a passenger. Both ends are the same to simplify layout and the sheet ply construction is about as simple as is possible.

Building plans include a 36 page spiral bound booklet with sketches, photos, material sources, step-by-step and discussion of many options. Measurements for an 8 foot, 10 foot and 12 foot version are included.

Builder Comments

Hi Paul, The last time I talked to you, you were still in Montana and I hadn't retired yet. I built your Montana Pram many years ago but now nearing 70 I would like to build a lighter boat to flyfish and the jonboat looks like the perfect size. I am curious about the bottom material that allows you to drag the boat for short distances. With my back problems and difficulty with lifting this seems like the answer to a prayer. Can you tell me what the material is, how it attaches to the boat and how much it would cost to do the bottom of the jonboat?

I am located over in the remote northeastern corner of the state where the lakes are many and the flyfishermen few. I could use the jonboat and save myself the chore of wadering up and attaching fins in order to use my kick boats.

Thanks, Ivan



The John Boat has been in the water a couple of times and I really enjoy it. We are going to paint it this weekend and it is going to be red and black (the colors of my pick-up) and works well with the graphite bottom. I put a piece of galvanized conduit in the rear and have bicycle wheels mounted to an axle that slides into the conduit. Once I get where I am going I pull a cotter key, remove a wheel, pull the axel and I am set to launch. Last time I went, I pulled it behind my ATV down a logging trail 3.2 miles, way past where you can drive a truck, and then pulled it by hand another one third mile to a small lake in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, that probably has not had another boat on it. I put everything that I might need right inside of the boat and off I went. Caught a bunch of fish.

Thanks, Rick
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Additional Information

Designer Name:
paul butler
Length (range):
8' - 15'11"' / 2.44m - 4.85m
10"/ 3.0 m
Length at Waterline:
9' 6"/ 2.8 m
3' 11"/ 1.1 m
Hull Weight:
Under 85 lbs / 38.56kg
Estimated Hull Weight:
55 lb/ 24.9 kg
Under 6" / 15.24cm
Unloaded Draft:
4"/ .10 m
Weight Capacity:
350 lbs
Primary Material:
Marine Plywood
Method of Construction:
Stitch and Glue
Hull Type:
Hull Shape:
Flat bottom
Power Source:
Built-in Floatation:
Unit of Measure:
Instruction Manual:
Step-by-Step Instructions
Lofting Required:
Recommended Experience Level:
Designer's Thoughts on Experience Level:
written for amateurs builders
Boat Type:
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