Annoying guy trying to learn.

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Prenautique, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. Prenautique
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Location: Missouri

    Prenautique New Member

    Just getting started in the world of wooden boats, please be patient!
    I am willing to do my own homework, but was wondering why smaller bright finished runabouts have no spacing between planks and larger cruisers appear to have a gap between planks filled with caulk? Then I see large cruisers bright finished that have no spacing like the smaller boats. Just two different building methods?

    Have just begun reading the "Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction". Can you give me some suggestion on other literature / books that will help educate a guy with a lot to learn?

    Have learned much from boatdesign.net already. Wonderful site.
     
  2. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    Location: North of Cuba

    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Welcome and good luck in your research.
     
  3. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Tight seams are hard and labor intensive. The cost is much higher, therefore usually only worth in a bright finish. Larger, heavier planking is very different structurally. The movement caused by swelling and shrinking is much more.
     
  4. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: New York

    missinginaction Senior Member

    :)Welcome, and a warning. You could indeed become obsessed with things nautical. It is a lot of fun though and there is literally "something for everyone" when it comes to boat building and restoration.

    Here are a few books that I found very helpful when I was just starting out a few years ago. I'll only recommend books that I've actually read.

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Nature-Bo...sr=8-1&keywords=dave gerr the nature of boats

    http://www.amazon.com/Boatbuilding-...-1-fkmr0&keywords=seward boat building manual

    http://www.amazon.com/Boatowners-Me... boatowner's mechanical and electrical manual

    and if you really find yourself serious about this.......

    http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Boat...words=Dave gerr the elements of boat strength

    Those books helped me get a good start. Read them thoughtfully and then come here. You'll be able to ask more intelligent questions, which the more knowledgeable members here will really appreciate. Plus you'll get more useful answers.

    Good Luck to you.

    MIA
     
  5. Prenautique
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Location: Missouri

    Prenautique New Member

    I'll try and heed that warning. I am already cursed with an "eye for potential" which sometimes gets me in trouble!
     
  6. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Many of us here have an eye out for something. ;)
     
  7. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    Location: maine

    alan white Senior Member

    Many if not most wooden runabouts from the fifties on back used batten seam construction so that no caulking was visible between topside seams. When the planks expanded they closed right up while also tightening the joint between the planks and the battens. Usually, a quality cedar or mahogany was carefully selected for planks to minimize shrinkage and expansion and cupping.
    Newer methods include cold-molding and plywood with a veneer that appears to be solid planking.
    Larger "carvel" planked wooden boats are more practical to seal by driving cotton between the seams, saving many steps over batten seam construction. Carvel can look fantastic when bright-finished too, but only because you're standing further back.
    They usually need a tan or brown colored caulk to disguise the seam somewhat.
     
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There are several different planking methods, each with good and bad things to consider about them. Tight or caulked seams doesn't matter so much as the maintenance employed in their life and the engineering approaches taken during design. The Gougeon Brothers construction book will lightly cover most methods, though a few aren't mentioned. Covering all the variations would be encyclopedic.
     
  9. Prenautique
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Prenautique New Member

    Again, excuse my inexperience. "Batten seam" refers to a 1"x2", (or similar), backing the horizontal seam of each plank?

    I appreciate your patience with what must be the most elemental questions.

    I have read several threads here with pros and cons between restoration with "traditional methods", "epoxy", and "5200". I realize feelings run deep on this subject, but would anyone care to give a brief overview of each method, along with your opinion as to the good and bad qualities of each?

    Can a reasonably solid planked bottom be saved with epoxy only, or does this method only entail removal of the planks and replacement with plywood or other?
     
  10. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You can save a bottom plank with several methods, including epoxy, but "reasonably solid" suggests the plank should be replaced and you're attempting to take a short cut. Planking is a consumable item, just like an oil filter. When it's spent, it's spent and no goo in a can will fix it, regardless of advertising hype. Repairs take a systematic approach, usually involving hard decisions about what you want, compared to the budget. There's no generic answer, as each situation has to be addressed specifically.

    A batten seam build is just like a carvel build except the plank edges aren't caulked and the seams are backed up by longitudinal stringers. The stringers hold the planks in general alignment, so the seams can swell against each other. Lapstrakes can some times have battens too.

    Each of these methods works and an overview of each can be found in most boat building texts. Traditional methods are usually the least costly, but often require considerable skilled labor, which is dieing off, plus has all the issues of traditional construction methods (caulking, leaks, etc.)

    A 5200 bottom once was the bee knees, but now is preformed by those that haven't kept up with modern building methods and materials. In fact, a 5200 bottom is usually more costly then an epoxy bottom. A half a century ago, when polyurethanes (5200) where the best thing available, everyone jumped on the bad wagon and some good techniques were developed. Repairs came along in the next generation and the 5200 bottom showed it's flaws. If you have a 5200 bottom, it's the last bottom you'll have, because when the planking dies (it always does) or repairs are necessary, you'll destroy the planking removing it. Since the advent of 5200 bottoms has come better materials and methods. Some just refuse to keep up.

    Enter epoxy. Epoxy actually seals wood, unlike anything else. Epoxy can be used as a coating, a glue a sealer and it'll discipline your kids if they get out of line too. There's plenty of information in the Gougeon Brothers construction book to cover epoxy builds. It's not a magic goo, but it has revolutionized boat building, including wholly new processes, that couldn't be done without the physical properties of this goo.
     
  11. Prenautique
    Joined: Sep 2012
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    Prenautique New Member

    Thanks so much for the input. And "missinginaction" thanks for the reading recomendations.
    I feel comfortable I am heading in the right direction. Now time to hit the books!
    Thanks again.
    I already have my eye on a project, so I am certain I will be back with more questions if I decide to do it.
     
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  12. yellowcat
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: canada

    yellowcat Junior Member

    check kurt hughes web site, you can order (i did) a video on dvd, that will widen your scope of possibilities. Eric Lerouge designs is another interesting. On youtube, you can see quite a bit too. I have used all kind of wooden boats, up to 48 ft cruiser. I find wood boats , even with all the WBP glues ... are more "green" and i like the sound of wood boats.
    Yes composites with glass and carbon etc are more performing, but at what cost.
    have fun !
     
  13. ancient kayaker
    Joined: Aug 2006
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    A couple of notes:

    epoxy can be damaged by UV so needs to be varnished or painted for protection.

    Boats that stay in the water for extended periods so the wood gets saturated suffer shrinkage when removed at the end of a boating season, which can cause seams to open. Plywood is resistant to this but is still vulnerable to cracking of the face veneer, staining and rot. Opinions differ on whether it is possible to seal a boat perfectly even with epoxy; it certainly demands great care and attention to detail.

    On the other hand, boats that are removed from the water after each use, like kayaks, small canoes and most beach-launched boats, do not get saturated before they are dried out, particularly if they are covered when stored on land. Ironically these boats often have immaculately-varnished mirror-finish glass and epoxy over every square inch of their exteriors.

    There are no final or definitive answers to the questions that boats pose, which is why sailors refer to a boat as "she" . . .
     

  14. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Agreed on epoxy needing UV protection but disagreeing on the ability of epoxy to seal wood from moisture vapor ingress. Tests and time trials have proven, encapsulated wood can be movement stabilized and prevented from rotting with epoxy techniques. In controlled conditions and on real boats this has proven true repeatedly. In cases where failures have been reported, thay all can be traced back to some application or owner related issue, but not the function of epoxy as a waterproofing coating. Insufficient film thickness, dilution, improper application, unattended maintenance, etc. aren't the fault of the coating.
     
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