Narrowboat Joinery [The Key to a Bespoke Interior!]

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Welcome back to Canal Boat UK. Today I would like to do a quick post around the subject of narrowboat joinery. What do I mean by narrowboat joinery? Well, I am not talking about building a complete boat out of wood (it can be done, but it’s not exactly common). Instead, I am talking about how you can use your (or someone else’s) joinery skills to make unique and special narrowboat interiors. If that interests you, read on…

How Can Your Joinery Skill Improve your Narrowboat?

If you bought a brand new narrowboat or canal boat (lucky you!) you probably spent many hours agonising over getting the perfect layout for your new shiny boat. You probably won’t need any more joinery work for at least several years as everything has been designed to your liking in the first place.

However, the reality for many people is that they end up buying a second hand narrowboat and discover all kinds of things they would like to change in the interior. From small little tweaks to massive interior overhauls. You know how it goes, it pretty much impossible to buy a secondhand canal boat where you like everything about the interior! Unless you get VERY lucky 🙂

This is where joinery comes in, to help touch up or even overhaul parts of your boats interior that you aren’t so fond off. It’s pretty much standard practice to use wood extensively within the interior of your boat.

If you are in need of some narrowboat woodwork inspiration, I would highly recommend heading over to Pinterest. Over there you will find so many different woodworking projects your head will spin 🙂

I will get you started with one cool board from Sobriquet. Although it also includes RVs as well as boat woodwork, it will give you so many ideas as to the types of joinery tasks you could undertake in your narrowboat! Trust me, I have spent many hours on this 🙂

How Can I learn Narrowboat Joinery Myself?

So you are now all excited about the different joinery projects you want to undertake on your boat, but you have no idea what a set square is from a mitre joint! What to do now. Well, if you want to learn narrowboat joinery yourself, I have some resources for you!

First of all, there is an awesome book titled ‘Narrow Boat & Dutch Barge Joinery Designs for Boat Fitters’ (yeah, it’s a long one!). This book is by Mike Jordan, someone that has masses of knowledge and experience in this field! He built up a name for himself writing top notch joinery related articles over at Waterways World Magazine, so it’s no surprise that he has been able to produce such an awesome book.

It comes with full and clear instructions for a wide range of narrowboat related woodworking jobs! Click the image below to view it over at Amazon for yourself:

As you saw from my blog post of my favourite YouTubers, The Narrowboat that James Built is an excellent narrowboat channel that walks you through all kinds of narrowboat joinery related fitouts. Don’t expect the details that you would get in Mike Jordan’s book, but it will certainly give you an idea. More details below:

How to Find a Good Narrowboat Joiner to Help Me?

If you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty with this whole narrowboat joinery thing, there are some really great joiners out there that can help you.

What I would recommend is to find a joiner that has already worked at least several times on canal boat related projects. These boats are a different beast to land based joinery, so you need to make sure whoever you hire has experience of this.

Other than that, I would simply ask around the narrowboat community (usually the best way to source any kind of professional you need to work on your boat). Whether you are moored up in a marina or out cruising the canals, you will have plenty of boaters around you to ask. Soon enough you will come across some first hand recommendations you can look into further.

Failing that, I can point you in the direction of Simon Beck carpentry. Simon has over 16 years’ experience in the world of joinery and has worked extensively on narrowboats. Just go take a look at his website (you need some help with website design Simon :)) and you will see the different types of things he has done. As always, click the image below to visit his official website.

Wood You Believe it?

There you have it, a short and sharp guide to how joinery can help you get the narrowboat interior you have always dreamed of. If you have any cool narrowboat related woodwork projects you want to tell me about, please do so in the comments section below.

2 thoughts on “Narrowboat Joinery [The Key to a Bespoke Interior!]”

    • Hi Mike, that usually means that the book is no longer in print so it can be hard to get. Sorry about that. It’s a shame because its a great book. Maybe you can ask around in your local narrowboat community 🙂


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