What Size Plywood Do I Use For A Jon Boat Deck?

There is very little doubt that Jon boats are well known in the boating world. In fact, many people love them so much that they want to deck out their own Jon boats. You probably clicked on this article for that exact reason.

If you had recently bought a Jon boat or if you are thinking of working on renovating a Jon boat deck for your friend, then we have got you covered. One of the most common projects for Jon boats is deck renovation. So if you have been wondering, “What size plywood do I use for a Jon Boat deck?” then we have got you covered.

Let’s get started.

What is a Jon Boat?

As mentioned in the introduction, Jon boats are great boats. They are very popular and this is because they are inexpensive, simple, lightweight as well as small. They are great if you are just getting into boating or you want to buy a boat, but are not looking to invest in anything too pricey quite yet.

They are great for hunting, fishing, or collecting wood/lumber. Jon Boats are great with shallow water as well. This due to their flat hull. The flat hull on Jon boats will allow you to cruise over shallow waters and muds easily and this is ideal if you love fishing. If you like to fish bass, then Jon boats are the boats for you. The flat bottoms on Jon boats are great because they provide stability when you stand up.

So many people love Jon boats, and L & M’s online article, Perks of Jon Boat, explains it best:

Jon boats come into their own in shallow waters and water with lots of mud, muck, or obstacles in it. They work well in swamps, mudflats, and other similar areas. Equip a Jon boat with a surface drive or longtail motor and you can get even more mobility in these areas. This makes them ideal boats for hunting, fishing, crawfishing, and other sports activities that are popular in southern waterways.

Why is it Called a Jon Boat?

Usually, when items are named after a person, there is a reason for that. The same concept applies when it comes to Jon Boats. there is no one, true answer for this but there are some fun theories.

According to Poon Opedia’s online website, here is one theory:

…one theory that stacks up well is that is due to the use of jack pine wood to construct the vessel. It could be that over time the name Jack instead became John, then the Ozark John Boat, and then further down the line, turned to Jon without the ‘h’ and dropped the Ozark naming.

Another theory is, “Another theory which isn’t too far apart from the one we have already discussed is that people started to use “flat-bottom skiffs” as a way to describe these boats. And again, that was in The Ozarks back in the early 1900s.”

What Size Plywood Do I use for a Jon Boat Deck?

What size plywood you use for your Jon boat depends on how big your deck is, as well as what kind of Jon boat you have. However, on many fishing forums, most Jon boat owners prefer ½” to ⅝”.

Here is what one user said on River Dave Place’s forum:

  • “Use a good grade 1/2 to 5/8 plywood (I used 3/4) you should cover the bottom side with fiberglass cloth, make sure you use a 24 to 36 grid pad to rough up the wood before laying your cloth down. Let the cloth drape over your edges and grind to the finish. You will have a solid floor for 30 years if you just resin coat the bottom the resin will flake off in a few years as I am sure you noticed this when you pulled your old floors up. If you are carpeting the top just give it a good resin coat and go I laid a cloth on top as well, you encapsulate the wood this way.”
What Size Plywood Do I Use For A Jon Boat Deck?

However, one user did comment that ½ would be too thin, and the user would recommend using ¾ marine grade plywood.

Another user comments that while ¾ plywood is preferred, the quality of the plywood is what the user wants to comment on:

  • I just installed new floors in my boat and used 3/4 marine plywood. The cost between marine plywood and a good quality non-marine plywood is not much. I did a lot of research before I started and found that epoxy resin is worth the high cost, I used west system products. I do not think you have to glass the bottom if you use two coats of a good epoxy resin before you bond it to the stringers. I used 3m 5200 to bond the wood to the stringers then glassed over them. It is also a good idea to cut the wood at an angle where the ends of the boards will touch.

Another great forum is Bass Resource.

One user comments, “I have regular and cheap 3/8 plywood carpeted in mine with blue foam board underneath between the ribs.  No other bracing and only a couple of screws holding it down.  The floor is very solid and quieted things considerably.”

It seems as if the size of plywood preference differs from person to person. If you are unsure of which plywood to use, it is also a good idea to ask a worker or the manager to help you. These boat forums are also great because all of the users are boat enthusiasts so they can give you advice because they have most likely been there and done that.

The Final Takeaway | Be Creative

One of the best reasons to renovate your Jon boat is knowing that you are in charge of the end product. While many people use different size plywood, there is no one size fits all answer. We would recommend checking out all the great boat forums (and there are a lot of them) to see which size plywood would be best for your boat. In those forums, you will also get great advice from experienced boaters.

Chris Mills

Chris bought his first boat a few years ago and he has been learning about boating and boat care ever since! Chris loves to share what he learns with others and we are excited to have him writing for us here at Best Boat Report!

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