You will need to determine what you intend to use the wooden dinghy for before you purchase one, as this will have an effect on the size, shape, and features of the boat. It will also be helpful to decide whether you intend to buy a new dinghy or a used one, as this will have an impact on the price you end up paying for the craft as well as the inspection you will need to do before committing to purchasing the craft. Most dinghies are quite small, though some models tend to be larger; determine your space requirements before committing to a model.
One of the biggest considerations you will need to pay attention to when purchasing a wooden dinghy is the type of wood used for construction. Plywood is used more often than solid woods because it tends to flex and bend more easily without splitting, cracking, or otherwise becoming damaged. Solid woods can be used, but they must be treated with UV-resistant varnishes or other protecting chemicals to ensure the wood does not warp, bend, or crack with continued exposure to sunlight and moisture. Consider how important aesthetics are to you when choosing your wooden dinghy, and determine whether you would prefer a durable dinghy or an attractive one. In many cases, you can have it both ways, but you will need to pay special attention to the overall construction and the types of woods used. Choose a rot-resistant wood such as cedar or some types of oak.
Think about the shape and function of the wooden dinghy as well. Some dinghies feature outboard motors for propulsion, while others are propelled by the use of paddles. Larger dinghies will be difficult to propel forward with paddles, and steering may become difficult, so if you need a larger dinghy with greater storage capacity, consider a dinghy with an outboard motor. Smaller dinghies are more maneuverable and can be paddled easily, making an outboard motor unnecessary; such a boat is likely to be less expensive than a boat that features a motor, so if you are on a tight budget, go with a smaller dinghy that is paddle-powered.
Dinghies can come in a variety of shapes as well, from the classic rowboat style to a larger pram style. The type you choose will be a matter of preference, but it will also be dictated by how you intend to use the boat. For many people, a rowboat is a great option because it offers stability and maneuverability, as well as adequate storage space.