My new attempt at a Footy

I got inspired by some of the conversation about it here on the forum, and I decided to try building my Ode to Roger.

I spent some time refining the design, then printed the buttocks, traced them to 1/4" MDF, and cut them out on my bandsaw.

Then I tacked each pair together and sanded the edges. I separated the pairs and glued them up into 2 halves of the plug.

The hard work starts when I get home this weekend. I’ll be making a lot of sawdust as I fair out the plug.

Once the plug is completed, then I’ll have to make a muti-part mold, and layup a multi-part hull from it…an awful lot of work for a Footy.

I’ll keep you posted on progress.


You couldn’t just use Bondo, huh ?

Making sawdust as promised! :lol:

It always amazes me how the shape of the hull seems to emerge out of the strange-looking glued-up set of buttocks. I think that’s one of the really neat things about making a plug this way.

Got it roughed out now, so next step is to start the hand work, refining it until the final shape comes out.


Could you have done the same thing out of foam? Foam might speed thrings up a little…

Also, you design looks like it night turn out looking like the halfpint, no? ( with a smooth hull) and you’ll cut the mold or the finished hull have a square joint at the deck?

I’ve tried foam, Tom, but it was too soft for my preference, and hard to get a smooth surface from. MDF works well. It’s easily sanded, but stays hard and has no grain.

The hull will be smooth, but will not have a square joint anywhere. It’s a complete “turtleback” design, with almost circular cross sections from the mid-point aft to the stern.

What you see in the pictures is two sides of the plug. The split is vertical on the centerline of the hull.


Looking real good Bill!

Making good progress on ODE.

Here’s the plug all sanded out to 320 grit. Next comes a coat of sandable primer to show up any blemishes that need to be filled (I use superglue) then more sanding and painting and wet sanding until it’s smooth as the proverbial baby’s butt. Then it’ll be ready to make the mold.

MDF sands beautifully, but you’ve still gotta be more like the tortoise than the hare…slow but steady does a quality job. The boat can never be any better than the plug it’s made from.

Bill :turtle:

Last update for a week or so (gotta go make a living) but the plug is now done. I’m tired of painting and sanding, so I’ve decided any remaining blemishes will give the hull character! :winking:

Next weekend, I’ll mount these on a back board and start the million coats of release wax, then make the molds…if I’m feeling ambitious.

Looking it over, I think building this one is gonna be sorta like making a ship in a bottle.

Thinking about paint jobs for the boat, too. Seems to me one would have to be yellow, like a banana…and you can imagine what the one sponsored by Oscar Meyer would look like…other ideas?

That is really nice! I am following your technique with great interest. Keep those picture coming. Yellow would be my favorite. Now, just to ascert my ignorance, you will be able to make as many hulls from this plug as you choose? Did you put some sort of peg in the back of each half to hold to your table while you shaped them?

Really nice Bill,
What is the paint you used?
I have my lines printed and ready…about to start this process (again!!!) myself.

I use Rustoleum sandable primer. It comes in grey or brown, but the grey is less messy. It works well for both dry and wet sanding, and it’s available at my local hardware store.

Brett knows this, but for you first timers, the first coats really show up the ridges, dips, and cracks well…and it fills small blemishes as you build up the surface. I usually sand the first coat almost completely off to try to get a really fair surface, second coat less, and so on. I think I probably did 5 coats of paint, wet sanding the last two. I really could do a better job on the finish…I only had 600 grit wet paper on hand, so I dry sanded to 320 then jumped to 600. As a result there’s still minor scratches and such…not sure if I will resand or just go ahead and let the mold wax fill them.


Glad you’re interested, Bob.

The next step is to make a female mold from the male plug. The plug is waxed to a high polish and a release agent is applied. Then fibreglass is laid over the plug. When cured, you pop off the glass and you have a female mold. Then you can lay up as many hulls as you want until the mold deteriorates (I’ve heard about 50 or so is typical.)

The good news with Footys is that the process all goes faster and cheaper than building bigger boats, and I hope that will encourage others to be bold and try their own designs.

Yes, I tacked a piece of 1x2 on the back of each half so I could clamp them in my work table.


next time use foam. less dust, less work, faster end product. what could be better? it looks hot all the same though!


I tried foam a couple times. It was quick to work with, but still made a lot of dust and I found it difficult to get a hard, smooth finish. MDF is soft enough to sand easily and still finishes nicely, so I have found it the best compromise for me. That said, I’m certainly open to new techniques. Maybe you have some tips for getting from the “carved” stage to the “ready for moulding” finish using foam?