Beginner looking for First Project

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by DavidC, Oct 14, 2011.

  1. DavidC
    Joined: Oct 2011
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 1, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 33
    Location: Phoenix

    DavidC Junior Member

    Hello,

    I've been itching to build a boat for sometime, but I have a few matters that need to be resolved. And I could use some recommendations from the more experienced crowd.

    My first issue is the obvious--the boat. I really don't know where to start. I've looked at various plans, but nothing seems to fit a raw first time boat builder. I don't want get in over my head and never finish it, and I don't want my wallet screaming in agony (no wife, so no screaming there :D ).

    I'm not in to sailing, so I have no desire to build a sail boat. I've looked at small row boats, and have found some I like and they seem more user friendly to the first timer, which brings me to my next issue--space. I seriously lack the building room--I live in a 850 square ft apartment w/a patio that's just shy of 7' in length and roughly 5' wide.

    I figured a wood boat would be best to start with and to build it, one needs the proper tools. Other than the basics, what specific tools are needed? I recently ordered Steward's "Boatbuilding Manual" and Chapelle's "Boatbuilding: A Complete Handbook of Wooden Boat Construction" What other books would some of you recommend?

    Now, before someone suggests taking a wooden boat building course--and believe me, I would love too--however, I live in Phoenix, AZ and this isn't exactly the mecca of boating or boat building. We do have some nice lakes to go boating on, mostly powered boats, houseboats and some small sailing craft. No schooners sailing on Lake Pleasant or Lake Powell, at least I haven't seen any. And the only classes available, that I've found so far, are through the AZ Yacht Club for sailing. Like I said, sailing doesn't thrill me.

    I'd prefer to build a nice sleek 18'-20' mahogany runabout, but I'll wait until I have some experience under my feet and some extra dollars for that inboard motor, and an actual garage to build it in. So, for now it'll be a small wooden human powered or perhaps one w/an outboard motor.

    I appreciate any recommendations for a good first boat build. Thanks.
     
  2. cthippo
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    Location: Bellingham WA

    cthippo Senior Member

    Hey David, Welcome aboard!

    The first question is what do you want to use the finished boat for? Do you want it for exercise? Fishing? Transportation? Just for the experience?

    Secondly, what are the physical constraints? How many people does it need to carry? how much gear? In what kinds of water?

    These questions will define what sort of boat you want to build.

    Do you have experience in wood, fiberglass or metal construction? If the answer is not to all of the above then wood is probably the easiest choice to start with. Plywood construction is fast and easy (though not as cheap as some methods) for the compete noob and doesn't require specialized tools.

    Once you get your intended use, requirements, and construction process figured out we can recommend some good plans for you to start from.
     
  3. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    There's your limitation - looks like a dinghy or nothing.

    No canoe under 10ft is worth building.

    This stitch and glue
    http://store.devlinboat.com/polliwog.aspx

    would be a great start.

    Spend twenty bucks or so and get Sams Book and video for a great start.
     
  4. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Hmm...Id say that its impossible to build an epoxy intensive boat in your apartment. Sanding dust and toxic chemicals everywhere. Best to stick with a small lapstrake boat or any wooden boat...plank on frame or plywood on frame, that doesn't require heaps of Goooo.


    Paul Gartside has some very beautiful small craft plans for amateurs that are not epoxy intensive. Have a look at his catalogue and see if anything interests you.

    http://www.gartsideboats.com/

    His tiny, 10ft, diesel launch is truly beautiful
     
  5. DavidC
    Joined: Oct 2011
    Posts: 5
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    Location: Phoenix

    DavidC Junior Member

    Wow! Pretty quick responses.Thanks.

    @cthippo- Wood is the direction I'm going. Fiberglass or aluminum construction is out of the question for now. The boat build is for the experience and will be used just to tool around the lake here for some fun and relaxation. As for number of people, two to three, no more. As for gear, not much, life jackets, gas can (if using ob motor) perhaps a cooler for suds, pop & snacks, and, of course, oars.

    @rwatson - I've looked at stitch and glue (have Delvin's Stitch and Glue book). And I wouldn't mind giving that a shot, but as Michael posted. It's way too goo intensive and cleaning this apartment's carpeting is already a pain. Know of anything that'll get out grounded in coffee stains? Beer stains?

    @michael - The site you recommended has some pretty cool looking rows. One of them should be a good start. How difficult is lapstraking? And thanks for the link.
     
  6. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 5,373
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    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    David,
    How about starting with a scale model? Someting not too small - like 1 meter (or 3 ft) size. You will learn, in a relatively inexpensive way, the basic tooling techniques, build sequence, use of fasteners, resins, varnishes and fiberglass cloth, wood bending and shaping etc. It can also be done comfortably inside the limited work space you have. You don't have to use marine-grade materials, so the costs can be contained from that side too. Once you're satisfied with the result and feel that you've learned the lessons, you can start building a real stuff.
    Cheers!
     
  7. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Lapstrake is not difficult. In general wooden boats are inherintly simple to build because they are made up of hundreds of componemt parts. If you screw up cutting out or measurening ,you simply wasted time and a small piece of wood and must remeasure , recut.

    On a composite boat with large structures, if you make a mistake...big problem.

    Lapstrake planks can be timber or ply.

    Purchase a good book...or several good books on boatbuilding..and the techniques are well explained.

    To build with wood implies that either you have milling machines to finish lumber or you have a wood shop close by who can supply you with the dimesioned lumber.

    Only normal hand tools are neccasary for construction of a lapstrake with fairing , sandpaper pushing, much much less intensive.
     
  8. sean-nós
    Joined: May 2010
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    Location: Dublin,Ireland

    sean-nós Senior Member

    Hi David, I am on my second boat from Glen-l and I only had basic DIY skills, tools and a very tight work space so if you want a classic looking boat that won't break the bank it can be done just look at my links bellow :D
     
  9. Milehog
    Joined: Aug 2006
    Posts: 421
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    Location: NW

    Milehog Clever Quip

    Folex instant carpet spot remover is amazing stuff. Best I've ever seen.
    I built stitch & glue kayaks in a large bedroom one winter. A blue tarp was laid down with cheap 1/4" plywood nailed down on top of it to protect the carpet.
     
  10. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    A folding boat could be an option. Two 7' sections makes a reasonable day boat, while a 7' boat makes a bit of a toy, no mater how clever it is.

    You could do a taped seam (stitch and glue) build, though you's have to take special precautions in regard to drips (it will not come out of carpet).

    A glued lapstrake has the looks and building enjoyment of a traditional lap build, but with 50% or more fewer parts.

    For a first build, a simple flat bottom skiff would be the logical choice, taped seam or over frames. Over frames has less goo, but more parts. Taped seam has a higher goo factor, but far fewer parts and a more water tight end result.

    Ultimately, the choice is yours, as only you know what you can do, desire and can afford.
     
  11. GTS225
    Joined: Jun 2011
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    Location: Waterloo, Iowa

    GTS225 Junior Member

    *************************************************************
    I think PAR has hit on the right idea. (He says folding boat, but it sounds like he's describing a nesting boat.)
    A nesting pram might be the way to go, considering your space limitations. Something on the order of http://www.duckworksbbs.com/plans/benjamin/stasha/index.htm
    but stretched out to about 12 or 14 feet.

    Anybody more knowledgable than I know of plans for such a boat?

    Roger
     
  12. DavidC
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    Location: Phoenix

    DavidC Junior Member

    Thanks for the responses, guys.

    @SeanNos--you have what I want. I love it. I watched a couple of your videos, just how cold was it on launch day? The space you built her in appears be a longer than my patio & maybe a foot or two wider. But, I could remove the sliding patio doors, at least temporarily. Though the property manager may get her panties in a bind.

    @diaquri--I have thought about building a couple of small to scale models and using the techniques that are used to build a full size. Maybe do one as a static display and the other as a RC boat w/an electric motor or gas engine.

    @Milehog--Thanks for the recommendation, I'll give Folex a try.

    @MichaelP--What books would you recommend that cover lapstraking?

    @GTS225 & PAR-A folding/nesting boat is not a bad idea. I wouldn't have to worry about storage. Fold it and stick it in the storage closet or slide it under the bed. Thanks for the site link, GTS.
     
  13. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    By folding I didn't mean nesting nor a boat you could stow in your closet, but simply a folding, (yep in half or there about) boat. I know of a 50' folding boat and have seen 24' and 30' folding boats. One end folds over and often is carried on top of the other end.

    It's also possible to nest, where one portion fits inside the other. I have an 8' dinghy design that does this, for those with truly cramped foredecks.

    Lastly are the "take-a-parts" types, in which each half has it's own trailer or is loaded into the bed of a pickup. It's assembled at the ramp, beach or shore line, then floated off.

    These options would solve the building space limitations and provide a boat with enough capacity, to be enjoyable for more then a 6 year old and his invisible friends.
     
  14. michael pierzga
    Joined: Dec 2008
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member

    Ive got a many books on my shelf.

    Boatbuilding Manual by Robert Steward

    Building Small Boats by Greg Rossel

    Clinker Plywood Boatbuilding Manual by Iain Oughtred

    Gougeon Brothers on Boat Construction

    Its difficult to say which book is the best. Some writers or illustrations appeal to my brain and clearly explain some detail or lofting technique better that others.
     

  15. tunnels

    tunnels Previous Member

    invisable friends and oily rags

    You always a have a load of friends when you thinking of building a boat up to the stage of starting to make it then they vanish . But get to the end of the project and they mysteriously reappear form out of the pile of shavings and saw dust . Come launching day and you never knew you have so many friends.
    i set a date a place and time , the crowd had itchy feet . i went the day before to a differant location and just myself and my wife and and kids slipped the boat gently into the water and savored the moment on film forever .
    When we would go water skiing there as always the hangers on ! so would load up the boat early and go to an isolated patch of shore only accessable by boat .
    They were always late to arrive and help to launch ,then early to leave so didnt have to help reload the boat on the trailer !! AND as for shareing costs for the hours of towing round and round !, wow what are you man ??
    Like boats just seen to run on the smell of an oily rag dont they ?? .
    Over the years it never changed right to the age of my son building his first boat , enduring and enjoying the same experiances from friends that are friends of friends that you had as friends when you and your friends were growing up .
     
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