ArticlesFree Kayak and Canoe PlansTutorial

Layout Panels from Hulls

Note: I do NOT support any of the Hulls files on this website. If you’re interested in the plans that I provide, click to see my Canoe and Kayak plans. You don’t need to know how to use HULLS to use those plans.

Hulls is a boat design program that is easy to learn and hard to master, but it’s grand fun to be able to design your own canoe or kayak, and then be able to build one. You can see some designs here. The main question I get from people downloading my designs is, how do you get the panels layout numbers. Here’s how:

The files I posted are not the layout plans for the plywood sheets that you will be cutting, but, luckily, Hulls has a program that will layout the plywood sheets for you. It is under the “Patterns,” and is called “Nesting.” Here is the way to get to the point where you can layout the patterns you will need to cut:

  1. Open the kayak file into Hulls.
  2. Go to “File,” and click “Clear Old Patterns.”
  3. Save the kayak file again.
  4. Go to “Patterns,” and click “Nesting.”
  5. I like to click “Wide View”
  6. Notice the scrolling box. Scroll down to “chine1.uc,” and click it. This will place the shape of the bottom chine onto the three sheets of plywood.
  7. Then do the same for “chine2.uc.” Move these until you are happy with how they lay on the plywood.
  8. Hit “Save.”
  9. Hit “Okay.” This will bring up the notepad with a set of layout points for the panels. You plot these on the plywood and then use a batten to give you the curves.

Note: By default, Hulls lays out the panels over three sheets of plywood, if you are planning on scarfing all your plywood together and then laying out the panels, you should change the size of the sheet before you generate the layout points. So before step 8, change the numbers in sheet to equal 48 x 250.

There it is.

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  • Hi,
    I’ve been experimenting with the hulls program and would like to look at some of your kayak designs, but notice that most are in dxf, or pdf. you mention hul files on your site, but I have not found any. I’m interested in the siskilit and igdlorssit designs n particular.
    btw, the free version of delfship doesn’t open dxf files as far as I can tell.
    I enjoyed reading your articles..including experiments with light stoves, having tried many myself.


  • Some old designs from Hulls exist in my Homebuilt Boats from 2004… article, but after I found Delftship Pro, I made the switch to it.

    I no longer release my Delftship models, especially my personal designs, such as my Siskiwit Bay and Siskiwit LV, because I have considerable time invested in designing and prototyping the hull shape, and I want to make sure that anyone who builds from those models gets the performance I designed.

    When using Delftship, I export the models to 2D dxf, then open that in a CAD program and modify the file as needed before releasing it as a dxf or pdf. Delftship isn’t able to import from a 2D CAD file.

  • I tried to use the Hull , and even following your instructions , could not do a single thing out of it !!
    Downloaded the Delftship but had the same result , it means nothing !! It seems that before using your system , as explained above , one must be engineer or something like that !!
    The only program easy enough for people like most of us seems the Kayak foundry !! But it seems only usable for those who want to build with strip , and even so I could not find the way to print the frames.
    So it looks like we must be nerds to understand these so called “simple” programs !!
    And I decided to forget all about that BS and manage to build my “skin on frame” the old way , following my own body measures , plus some good ideas of what I want to do with my vessel !! If , one day , you or some one else manage to explain clearly how to copy the funny list of number you call plans in the Hull program , I had like to read of it , just not to die idiot !! many thanks !! BC Michel

    • I use Delftship now. It has a pretty high learning curve and was designed for Naval architecture. I wouldn’t label it as “simple.” I’d label it as powerful with lots of features. It’s not surprising that people have a hard time with it. It took me months to learn it, and I still learn things about it. I have very minimal experience with KayakFoundry.

      I’m not sure exactly what you’re trying to do with Hulls. Are you trying to open one of my outdated and unsupported Hulls files in the program? Are you trying to print panels? Are you trying to get the offsets? I have no desire to write anything further about Hulls, because I no longer use it, but you seem very frustrated so if I can help, I will.

  • In fact I already ask some informations about how to use this Hull Program some 2 years back, I think ! But could not make sense of your explanations ! Not your fault I measn , but a regular fact with someone who know well something and cannot understand how someone who know nothig cannot follow !! I tried , at that time some other places to learn that program and could not find anything clear enough !! In fact , what I do not understand is how , somebody , like you who want to make is living , or part of it , by selling plans , can sells them in a program that ordinary people can NOT use !!
    Sorry , I am good with my hands , but is not a genius of software !! So if it is not really written for real beginners , I will never even see how your boat look like !! And how can I buy some plans without knowing what I am buying !! Now that you sell the plans , it is even worth because when we open the links on your pages , we only find list of number and no one picture !!! I believe that you fortunatly do not need our money to live , but some need you knoledge to build a nice boat !!
    Fortunally there are a lot of free plans on the Web , and also free easy to use program !!
    Please , if you want to sell to amateur builders , DO NOT use o professional program !! We cannot use it !!! And do not want to spend more time studying it than get fun on the water !! Thanks !!!

    • Dear Bernard,

      The vast majority of the plans on this website are 100% free. I ask for a donation if you build it, but that’s up to you. Currently, only one plan is completely commercial. I do sell nesting and printed plans. The nestings and plans that I sell do not require the use of HULLS, Delftship, etc… Let me say that again: You do NOT need to use a computer program to use my plans. You take the file that I send you to a photocopying store and have them print it or you order printed plans. If you follow the instruction in either Canoecraft or Nick Schade’s kayak building books in conjunctions with my drawings, you will be able to build a boat.

      I sent you an email.

      Thank you,

  • Well !! I was trying to understand , and folow , your speech on the top of this page , from Point 1 to Point 9 , and it was not making any sense !!
    Now that you tell me that I have to use somebody´s plotter to see that plans , it makes it , as the same time , simpler and more complicate !!
    But it´s all right !! I won´t bother you anymore with my questions !!
    Thanks anyway !!

    • Hi, Bernard,

      I sent you an email. Please, respond there. Which of my plans are you trying to see panel layouts for?

      Thank you,

Comments are closed.