Texas Fishing Forum

Adding small deck to Jon Boat

Posted By: JJ4MEL

Adding small deck to Jon Boat - 08/07/19 05:35 PM

Hey guys, need some help here. I have a Jon Boat that I am trying to fix up to be my catfish boat. Problem is, I lack the confidence to start drilling in to aluminum. I know, I have to do it. Took me years before I would even do it to my yaks!

So my ideal plan is to add a deck over the top of the 2 middle benches. I would like to hinge this deck somehow so I can utilize the space underneath as storage, but still be able to stand or sit on the deck. I already have the 3/4" plywood and carpet, self tapping screws etc. I am just stumped on the hinges and how to install this properly. I have tried youtube videos, but nothing really stands out. How would you do this or what are your thoughts? Pics of boat for reference. [Linked Image]
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Posted By: Alumacraft 14

Re: Adding small deck to Jon Boat - 08/07/19 08:31 PM

Run two 2x4 across seat to front seat along the side of the boat. Drill the 2x4 down into the seats not the side of the boat. Then run two 2x4 cross members across to each 2x4 that is drilled into seat. The spacing will be determined by your hatch, You can make your own hatch out of the deck material (use a piano hinge for a clean look or any other hinge if looks don't bother you) and the cross members as support or you can buy a large hatch off of amazon which all you do is cut out it's shape and drop it in. Raising the deck will increase the size of the bow considerably, give you more storage space below and allow a bow mounted trolling motor. I would removed the seat with the depth finder on it, that would free up floor space and allow you to lay 1/2 plywood as your floor. Makes moving around the jon safer and more stable. You would need to place a rib or two in it's place to make up for the structural support it gives. You can see in my flat bottom jon video I did that.

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I have built quite a few. Here are some videos of my most recent build, if you want any more ideas: Flat bottom Jon and Mod V Jon
Posted By: JJ4MEL

Re: Adding small deck to Jon Boat - 08/07/19 10:19 PM

Very helpful info and video!! Thanks!
Posted By: CCTX

Re: Adding small deck to Jon Boat - 08/08/19 05:27 PM

Great videos and info from alumacraft.

I really like the simplicity of the framing, decking, and hatches in this video.

Don't forget to seal the wood really well (oil based enamel is a popular economical option)

Posted By: JJ4MEL

Re: Adding small deck to Jon Boat - 08/09/19 06:58 PM

So, everything above is a little fancy and well beyond my expertise of boat building, LOL. I was looking for a simple concept of laying 3/4 plywood down that would span across the 2 benches that would be stable enough to stand on, but possibly have hinges on one end that would allow me to lift it like the trunk of a car. That way I can still use the space below it for storage.

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Posted By: jvc58dke

Re: Adding small deck to Jon Boat - 08/09/19 09:01 PM

Why don't you just build a frame from 2x4s then cut the plywood into three pieces (or two) secure the plywood to the end 2x4s on the cross stringers and then use a piano hinge on the part you want to swing? A brass hinge should last plenty of time and a long piano style hinge will keep it pretty steady....
Posted By: Alumacraft 14

Re: Adding small deck to Jon Boat - 08/09/19 11:18 PM

3/4 inch plywood will bend significantly if spanned across the seat with no frame to support it. You could use face-mount joint hangers for 2x4 between the seats, then lay your plywoodr across that and use a piano hinge to raise the whole floor up. That is about a simple as it will get.
Posted By: Shaun Russell

Re: Adding small deck to Jon Boat - 08/10/19 03:20 PM

I’ve seen some made out of aluminum angle and 1/2” plywood. The thing is 3/4” plywood is HEAVY!! The aluminum angle can be cut with a simple jig saw. And to put it together it is held by rivets. On YouTube look up (TBnation)
Posted By: Reloder28

Re: Adding small deck to Jon Boat - 10/17/19 04:37 PM

Originally Posted by Alumacraft 14
3/4 inch plywood will bend significantly if spanned across the seat with no frame to support it. You could use face-mount joint hangers for 2x4 between the seats, then lay your plywoodr across that and use a piano hinge to raise the whole floor up. That is about a simple as it will get.


The deflection of the plywood is not so much the issue as would be the stress on your fasteners while it is actively bowing. This idea of using the joist hangers is good & cheap. The piano hinge is tough to beat. By the time your wood edges rot away from the use of the hinge, you will have decided whether you like that setup or not.

There are infinite choice of baskets, buckets, trays, etc. that you can hang from the underside of your deck for storage.
Posted By: Jerry713

Re: Adding small deck to Jon Boat - 10/17/19 05:13 PM

This isn't a difficult project but you're doing the right thing by doing your research and getting ideas. I agree on the face mount joist (not joint) hangers and running 2x4's between the seats. Below is a pic of a joist hanger. You would screw the back of the hanger (face flange) to the side of your bench making sure the top of the joist is flush with the top of the bench so the plywood can lay on top of your bench seat. The 2x4 slides into the joist hanger. Think of the 2x4's as bridge beams similar to what you see under a bridge on a highway. Then your plywood lays on top of the 2x4's. I would run 3 2x4 "beams". One on each side of the boat a couple of inches in from the edge of the boat then one down the middle. I've drawn some red lines in the pic below as an example. Lines aren't straight but you get the point.

As far as the hinge yeah a piano hinge will work. Not sure about having the entire piece of plywood lift tho. That will put a lot of stress on the screws that you screw into the boat and could eventually pull the screws out of the aluminum boat. I would recommend cutting a square hatch in the middle of the plywood. Would work much better.

Keep in mind the edges of your boat are curved. When you cut the plywood you'll have to cut it on the same curve as your boat. You can lay the plywood on top of your boat and position it where you want it and use the outside edge of your boat as a pattern and trace that curve onto the plywood then measure over the thickness from the outside edge to the inside (whether it's 1" or 2" ect.) then make a new mark on your plywood. Keep in mind if you're going to cover the plywood with carpet (which I wouldn't recommend) leave room to do so on each side of the boat. I would stain the plywood using a solid stain (color of your choice). This will allow moisture to escape but prevents moisture from getting into the wood.

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