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Need some input please on building a small boat

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  • Need some input please on building a small boat

    Hello all , I have some questions about boat building. I am a woodworker and have all the tools required to build a plywood boat...What I am wanting to do is build a flat bottom 8' or slightly shorter punt style boat ( like a john boat or similar that require 2 sheets of ply, not 3 like most plans seem to call for..It can have a pointed bow but must be stable. Some plans I have seen similar to a john boat require 3 sheets and at a price of about 80 bucks a sheet thats getting pretty pricey..I am looking for a plan that has full size patterns, make things a little more simplified. I have gone to several sites that carry the full size pattern plans but nothing in the flat bottom 8 foot size thats appealing..I did find a john boat but it was a 12 footer..Does a guy really need to go with a set of plans? I currently own an aluminum 12 foot John boat that I wouldnt mind making out of wood but to scale the size down from 12 feet to 8 I am not sure on how thats done...Sure wouldnt want to hack up two nice sheets of Okoume and make firewood later out of it lol ... I have a shop big enough to build a boat, however its not a heated shop and I know that the epoxy resins if used require heat to cure properly so a question , is there a way to build boats other then using that expensive epoxy resin, stitch and Glue method)? I have heard that some have built boats not using epoxy and are apparently quite stable and strong. I guess the traditional method - frame on skin is one way? But is exposy resin used in traditional boat building as well or is there a work around to using all that stuff? I am trying to steer away from the epoxy and fiberglassing if possible hence why I mentioned using Okoume wood about the best one can use for marine ply ( So I am told ). Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.



  • #2
    Hi Terry:

    Many years ago, I built a stitch-n-glue Gypsy Class sailboat taken directly from Payson's design. It worked well and I did not use marine ply or high end resins. I even made the black spruce mast by hand. I did use 3 sheets of ply, though, and had to lay in fiberglass on the joints. The resin used was off the shelf stuff from CT

    You have set a tall order on your post. In my humble opinion, however, it is possible to scale your aluminum down to an 8 footer by using a scale ruler and reducing with the appropriate fraction on the ruler. I would reccomend creating a table of offsets, though. You need to verify the centres of balance, buoyancy, etc. to prove the hull's capacities.
    Regarding the use of epoxy resins: Why would you not want to use it? If you spend the money on Okume, you need to protect it from de-lamination as well as prepare a strong glue. Sure, you can use a good glue such as Elmer's, but that type of glue will dry out over time. You can even use a good enamel paint to finish it - if you don't mind re-painting every year.
    I am trying to envision using 2 sheets of ply and can see a john boat - flat bottomed, and very low freeboard - but with very little lateral support. I think using a third sheet will allow you to increase the freeboard height and give you material to use for full "stations" that can become seats.
    All considered...whatever you choose, take your time and do it right...its your life and the lives of anyone on board that are relying on your skills. Let us know what you decide and how the project is going.

    Check www.svensons(dot)com and www.boat-links(dot)com for ideas.

    Last edited by GunnerBill; 10-20-2009, 10:25 AM.


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