Just saw this thread and thought I'd throw in my .02 cents. I built a Tatman about 12 years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed the process and, as Eric mentioned, felt a lot of satisfaction fishing and rowing that boat. I built the 16 footer which is really a 2 man boat. It will fish 2 anglers and an oarsman, but it didn't handle well with the second angler in the back. I would definately go with the 17 footer if you plan to have three people in the boat.
Maintenance and storage are two factors to consider carefully. You will have maintenance and you need to have a covered space to store a woodie. After 10 years, I sold my boat to some friends because I didn't want to go through another painting/varnishing session. I now own a Boulder Boatworks boat and have virtually no maintenance issues with the hull.
Wooden boats are the prettiest boats on the water. Since you are a carpenter, the maintenance issues probably won't bother you a bit. Love to see apicture of how it turns out.